What matters is to live in the present, live now, for every moment is now. It is your thoughts and acts of the moment that create your future. ~ Sai Baba
We have forgotten to use our body’s innate wisdom to heal us. Even for a simple headache we straight away reach for a pain-killer. We don’t let our body’s intuitive wisdom tell us what can be causing the headache. And we don’t trust our body’s amazing healing potential (power of self-healing), instead we take external help, in this case a pain-killer.
But how can we use our body’s intuitive power when our mind is constantly occupied with the thoughts of past or future. And if we are not thinking then we are distracted by work, family, social media, television, phone, people, adverts or zillion other things.
The other issue is of our emotional health. No matter how healthy our lifestyle is, if we are emotionally weak and vulnerable our physical health will suffer. The healthy, nutritious food that we eat will not be absorbed well by our intestine. And we will look undernourished, our skin will be dull, hair will be lanky and we will have less energy and therefore fatigue easily.
If you see yourself engaged in these conversations, ‘I am doing everything I know of to improve my healthy and it’s not getting better?’ or ‘what am I doing wrong?’ Then you need to question your emotional health rather than digging up physical health in isolation. What is your response to stress? How do you cope with unpleasant situations? How do you react when you don’t get acknowledged at work?
Our response to failure, criticism, rejection, loneliness, and loss plays a big part in determining our overall health. We cannot be truly healthy by just taking care of our body and neglecting our better half – mind. The word is holistic health – taking care of your body, mind and spirit, that’s when you will experience vibrant health.
There is enough said and done about physical health, but we have very limited knowledge when it comes to empowering self and taking care of emotional health. While friends and family can help you to an extent, it is you who will have to work to make yourself emotionally strong. Also, many a times family and friends themselves are emotionally weak and they may be unable to help. So here again you need to trust your own wisdom and inner strength to uplift and empower you. Here is an excellent ted talk by renowned psychologist Guy Winch on importance of emotional health.
Yoga nidra or restful sleep is the simplest method to improve both your physical and emotional health. Practicing this asana will help you focus on the present and at the same time empower you to relax, heal and rejuvenate your body and mind.
Yoga nidra is a state of consciousness, which is, neither sleep nor awaken, neither is it concentration, nor hypnotism. You remain in deepest state of rest, but at the same time aware of your surroundings. In this state of deep relaxation you allow your body to heal itself and get emotionally rejuvenated. It’s as if you are deriving power from the source (God or universe) to replenish your reservoirs.
Through this ancient practice you will slowly become aware of your inherent dormant potentialities and thus become better at coping with stress and worry. As you progress you will notice that along with your physical health, you will begin to experience better mental health. Research shows that yoga nidra can be used as a therapeutic technique to cure psychological problems like insomnia, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, lack of energy, hopelessness etc. It is also helpful in treating psychosomatic diseases like asthma, hypertension, coronary heart disease, low back ache, headaches, dermatitis and ulcers.
The practice involves mindfulness of body and breath, visualization and resolve. Here is a video on yoga nidra by notable yoga guru Ramdev baba – I am pasting both Hindi and English links (the English translation is not that good but take what you can.) Also I highly recommend this book if you are keen to learn yoga nidra.
Here’s how to do this amazing practice.
Yoga nidra is practiced in flat lying position, with face up. You can do it anytime, but it is especially beneficial when you do it at night just before sleeping so that your subconscious mind gets working to bring what you desire.
Note: If lying straight does not feel comfortable, place a pillow under your knees.
Visualization works to clear the blocked channels and heal our body and mind. You start by visualising each part of your body and see it getting healthier and rejuvenated. You can start from the feet and work your way up to the head or vice versa. Relax each and every muscle of the body. Let loose the body. Spend more time on the area which is unhealthy and needs healing.
Intention is one of the most powerful forces there is. Your trust in your body’s healing abilities will make it heal faster and achieve its full potential. You only have to sow the seeds of intention and let the universe handle the details for you. And you will have serendipitous encounters to help you attain your goals. Do not get impatient when don’t see the results. Simply release what you desire and enjoy the present moment as it is.
The past and future are in your imagination, only the present is real. And when you stay in the present your mind will be calm and relaxed, and you will feel more powerful and courageous. In this peaceful state you can watch your breath or recite a mantra ( e.g. om, shiv, allah, or pick any word you like) and surrender completely to the divine guidance. Feel or think as if you are receiving the power to attain success in your endeavours. Always have pure and positive thoughts and that is when you will experience pure bliss.