REST – Your Unsung Health Hero

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Have you ever stopped to mull over the significance of good old-fashioned REST?  Considered it’s influence on stress + wellness? Or even speculated it’s value in finding purpose?

Thankfully the yogi’s did thousands of years ago along with more recent scientific research. After recently being sidelined from pneumonia I personally got to experience the power of REST. Being a higher energy person it was not easy yet I must admit it rewired my relationship with REST where I now have a healthier Rest-Activity Balance along with a healthier Life-Work Balance.

So here’s my takeaway from one human being to another as a Yoga/Meditation Teacher + as a Clinical Social Worker…

Exercise is the 21st Century health buzz; raising our awareness to even pay attention to the number of steps we take in a day. And it’s rightfully so as movement is an essential part to our well -being. Yet it is not the whole equation. There is a silent counter part of equal value.

REST is overlooked + under appreciated. With all the movement hype REST has taken a back seat. We have lost touch with it being an equal vital requirement to health, to the point where REST is getting a bad rap. It’s perceived as lazy or as an unproductive use of time.  I find people embarrassed to even admit they took a nap!

We can all relate to how good we feel after a good night’s rest. Unfortunately there is not much today outside of sleep that points us in the direction of stillness so I began to wonder do we really understand what REST is or what it does….

REST is indispensable for the mind –body to recuperate, regenerate, grow, + learn. Research indicates our bodies require rest in order to rejuvenate muscle, repair tissue, restore immune, synthesize hormones, + relieve physical stress. Our mind requires rest to retain memory, concentration + establish a stress free emotional zone.

WAIT! That does not sound lazy or passive. REST is an active process, defuncting the perception of rest being unproductive (you can insert a hooray emoji here if you like).

Uniquely REST offers an amplified repair moment. In REST the mind-body is in a state of stillness.  Here regeneration energy can a) solely focus on applying all the energy resource to healing + b) actively participate in fuller recovery, as the body is not sidetracked with sending energy to power movement. In REST your mind –body becomes like a super charged sponge keenly soaking up all the crucial REST benefits. 

You might now be wondering about sleep – doesn’t it do the same thing?

Research says 8hrs of sleep gives sufficient time for the mind-body to do its restoration job. But how many of us get 8 hrs? And how many more of us have disrupted sleep?

Here’s where the yogis come into the picture. They excel at practices that achieve an optimal REST state. They are a) not unconscious like sleep but conscious where awareness boosts the REST healing effects + b) artfully designed to tap us into our deeper healing conscious state that reveals your passion + purpose. 

So what if we introduced short power packed REST yoga bites into our day? Shavasana – Relaxation Pose is what I consider the queen of yoga’s REST poses. It is my sung health hero + hope it becomes yours too!

 

 Picture/Directions for Shavasana

 

 Recommended Readings:

 

1.     Daring to Rest by Karen Brody

2.     Living in Shavasna by Swami Nirmalanada (Pages 84-89)