Inspired by the wealth of wisdom that arises when women gather together, I thought I would share some of the ideas that have been co-authored during the annual 'Invitation To Rest' yoga sessions I've held in recent winters. Over-activity has reached such epidemic proportions in the industrialized world that it is time we take time out to consider how best to make our lives more restful. Here are a few simple suggestions:
Be in a good routine, eating, sleeping and rising at similar times daily.
Adopt a regular meditation practice – even just 10 mins of quiet time morning and evening can begin to make a difference.
Take undistracted time out in nature as regularly as possible.
Honour the outer seasons – do less in winter and more in summer; begin things in spring, take stock in autumn.
Women*, honour your inner, menstrual seasons – do less during the bleed and more during ovulation; begin things in the pre-ovulatory phase and take stock in the pre menstrual phase. If your menstruating years are over, use the moon as a guide to inner change, with full moon marking summer/ovulation and dark moon marking winter/bleeding.
Move your body enjoyably each day, with dance, walking, exercise, swimming etc.
Be honest about your feelings – forcing a smile when really there is sadness or overload can be exhausting.
Allow yourself to ask for help when you need it, practical or emotional.
Prioritize positive, supportive relationships.
Favour simplicity in all things.
Experiment with going slowly, trusting that everything will get done on time.
Understand that life is a series of choices and be open to the possibility of living by conscious design.
Remember to breathe out! In fact, the more you remember your breath throughout your various activities, the better.
Make caffeine and stimulants (sugar/alcohol) a treat, not a staple.
Be disciplined about internet use, avoiding social media an hour or so before bed.
Keep your domestic space (particularly the bedroom) clutter free – get into the habit of throwing out things that aren't needed.
Limit intake of news and current affairs.
Stop resisting and make space for more allowing.
Be playful, learn not to take life so seriously!
Promote balance in all things: work/leisure, activity/rest, daytime/nighttime, giving to others/giving to self etc.
* Any guys reading this, I'd love to know about your inner seasons and how they work, so please get in touch if you have any insights!