Movement Add a Resting Pose

Movement Add a Resting Pose

Movement: Add a Resting Pose

A yoga practice usually ends in a final resting pose, most commonly savasana, or corpse pose. For some people, they love the “forced” relaxation. Others struggle with the idea of laying still to “do nothing.”

Other forms of exercise often end with a period of rest to restore the body after a period of more intense movement – such recovery is essential, “[involving] chemical and hormonal balance, nervous system repair, mental state, and more.” (Kuhland)

Adding rest and recovery to your physical work conditions your body to become better at it – just as it becomes better at the sport or activity itself. Before long, your nervous system becomes accustomed to the “rest and repair” aspects of its functioning.

Balancing intensity in your movement with adequate rest actually increases the effectiveness of your workout overall.

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Movement Add a Resting Pose

Rhythm of Rest

Rhythm of Rest

Humans, much like the rest of the universe, operate from a collection of rhythms established with nature. Our bodies sync with our environment each quarter (with the seasons), each month (with the moon), each week and each day (rotation around the sun).

The body keeps its daily (circadian) rhythm by detecting the light/dark cycle. About two hours prior to sleep, melatonin is released to help us fall asleep. Environmental cues (like the blue light from screens) and mental cues (such as unprocessed stress) disrupt the release of melatonin and we have difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.

To reset your cycle:

  • Avoid blue light from television, ipads and phone prior to bed. Read a book or have a conversation to help process the day instead.
  • Use the morning sun to wake.
  • Avoid eating late: It tells the body to gear up for activity.
  • Thermoregulation: cool temperatures tell the skin to sleep. Sleep in the nude!

Many people find success with supplemental melatonin (for help falling asleep) and/or extended release melatonin (to stay asleep). Start with small does and increase until you see benefit.

Along with these environmental changes, address ongoing stress. Release it from the body with an early or mid-day workout, and from the mind with regular meditation.

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Movement Add a Resting Pose

Sleep Well, Start Young

Sleep Well, Start Young

Sleep is a crucial element of mental and physical wellbeing for kids. Children who are over-tired are more prone to tantrums, have a difficult time focusing or concentrating in school and exhibit defiant behavior in general.  Lack of sleep can also lead to lowered immune system functioning and increased susceptibility to illness, leading to more frequent absences.  Sleep hygiene is one of the most important components of overall health. Once in a good routine, persons and families will see noticeable positive behavior changes.

  • Keeping a sleep schedule even during the weekendshelps children thrive as it allows them consistency and predictability from which they feel safe and secure.
  • Starting at birth, begin a sleep routine of bath, bottle, bed.  This can continue into school age and be a nice time for caregivers to connect in a quiet, calm and screen free way with their children.
  • Preserving this night time routine can also set the stage for important discussions to take place as the child ages.

When the child knows caregivers prioritize setting aside time to be with them in quiet or conversation the child is more likely to feel safe bringing up concerns and joys of the day, creating an atmosphere of connection and trust between parents and children.

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Movement Add a Resting Pose

The Hard Work of Resting

The Hard Work of Resting

Couple Resting on Bench

Our culture rewards hard work. Meeting and exceeding expectations should be rewarded, and it’s inspiring to watch people live in the fullness of their potential. But, if you read up on the successes of many prominent names – such as Bill Gates (Microsoft), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Tim Cook (Apple)  – a common denominator is that they learned the importance of taking time off.
Unlike previous times in history, our society doesn’t hold space for taking a day off. Just a few generations ago, a person wouldn’t be able to buy gas on a Sunday. Now we have merchants open 24/7/365. This convenience can become dangerous: as the world is available all of the time, we begin to believe that we should also always be accessible. 

Time off, time away, and time asleep are not hours wasted. In fact, science says that we function at our optimum when we include regular rest intervals. The brain needs a chance to process the day, week and year in order to be able to take on new information or create new ideas.

Rest is critical to mental and physical health. Those who sleep less have higher rates of depression; meanwhile those who struggle with depression have a much harder time falling – and staying – asleep, creating a sense of unrest that perpetuates the cycle.

The brain and body need time to reflect. Optimally, we need to give over a day each week to wind down, set aside for relaxation. If that seems impossible, begin by breaking it down into chunks each day. Spend a few hours each day connecting with others, listening and sharing with them about more than the general maintenance tasks of life. This makes it easier to find deeper appreciation for the world and your life. Perhaps start with prioritizing family dinner around the table to allow time for sitting and debriefing. If weeknights are too busy, find time together during the weekend for a family dinner, game, or walk.

This sense of appreciation creates a habit of seeing goodness and will in turn inspire you to return to your work and service to the world with renewed energy and focus. 

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