Not Enough Shut-Eye? Try Yoga Nidra – It’s Transformational Sleep Time
Most of us do not get enough rest. As a culture, we’re always connected, often stressed, and our nervous systems are constantly in a fight-or-flight, sympathetic state. Yoga nidra is an effective and efficient way to access the “rest and digest” parasympathetic state, which is where healing happens.
Yoga nidra is often referred to as “yogic sleep,” a paradoxical state of being between sleep and consciousness that’s conducive to deeply emotional and physical healing, rewiring your brain, and self-exploration. The practice of yoga nidra starts with a personal intention. So while it truly depends on the intention, yoga nidra will help you rest, restore, de-stress, increase awareness, undo bad habits, and eventually understand your true calling and higher purpose.
In addition to the benefits of the actual practice, yoga nidra is accessible to everyone, can be done almost anywhere at very low cost, and is a simple way to start a meditation practice.
An entire Yoga Nidra session is done while lying down in final relaxation.
Come joins us in Beginners Yoga on Monday night at 6:15 PM where we do some mindful movement, breathwork, guided rest and gratitude! $10 at Wesley UMC, 3515 Helena Avenue, Nederland, Texas.
Falls present a major problem in the health and independence of elders over 65. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that more than one-third of older adults fall each year. Of these 20-30% will result in hospitalization from head injury or hip fracture. Many will need to spend at least a year recovering in a long-term facility and some never return to their homes. Most falls are preventable.
There are numerous risk factors that lead to falls. As we age our balance and speed of gait decrees. When we walk too fast or when we don’t pick up our toes we put our selves at risk. Some senior citizens have assistive devices such as canes or walkers that they do not use. Some elders get very limited exercise or practice only one form of exercise such as walking or lifting weights or practicing yoga or Tai Chi. We often don’t realize that maintain good strength and balance requires a combination of all of these forms of exercise.
There are other factors that put one at risk for falls. These include decreased vision and hearing, multiple medications, foot problems, and unsafe home, and fear of falling.
Decreased vision may result from cataracts, macular degeneration, or glaucoma. As we age we experience reduced contrast sensitivity and we may not see the edges that mark the changes in surfaces. Sometimes we do not see steps or cracks in sidewalks. We may have glasses with outdated prescriptions or need increased lightening. There are many simple things we can do to make things easier to see. Mark abrupt edges with contrasting tape. Use additional lightening from a small lamp when writing checks or cooking food. Keep walkways and steps clear of clutter. Put bells on pets.
Some elders have problems with their feet. Proper fitting shoes can increase mobility and can assist in the correction of some foot problems. Open-backed shoes or slippers can be hazardous and cause falls. Make sure that your shoes are wide enough, and that the bottoms are not too slick. High heels should be avoided. Good fitting shoes are not only comfortable but support us in the things that we want to do.
Many senior citizens take multiple medications several times each day. The average senior takes ten different medications that are prescribed by different physicians. Some drugs interact with other prescription drugs, with over the counter drugs (OTC), with herbal supplements or alcohol. Some prescription bottles are hard to open or their labels may be difficult to read. Some older persons forget to take medications.
There are several things that you can do. Purchase all of your medications from the same pharmacy. Ask for easy to open bottles with extra-large printed labels. Read the information that comes with your prescriptions or over the counter medications. If you have any questions about new medications or a change in the dosage of medications, ask your health care provider or pharmacist. Carry a list of the medications that you take in your wallet and post a list on your refrigerator. Senior citizens play an important role in identifying and preventing problems by understanding the medications that they use.
60% of falls occur at home and many falls can be prevented by making modifications to your home before they are needed. Use a non-skid mat in your shower or tub and have grab bars to hold as you get in and out of the tub. Use a shower chair and a shower extension. Make sure there a light switch, a flashlight and a phone near your bed. Have something sturdy to hold on to when you get out of bed.
The following are questions that are important in keeping your home safe. Do you have smoke detectors that have working batteries? Are their light switches at the top and bottom of the inside stairs? Are there sturdy handrails and a non-slip surface on the surface of stairs? Can you turn on a light without having to walk into a dark living room? Are passageways free from objects and clutter? Have you put away small rugs and runners that move or slide? Are emergency phone numbers posted near the phone? Are stove controls easy to see and reach? Are regularly used items within easy reach without climbing, bending or reaching? Do you have non-skid rugs?
Fear of Falling
Fear of falling becomes more pronounced as we age. When we are afraid of falling we limit exercise thus decreasing our strength, mobility, and flexibility. We limit outings and decrease social contact. It becomes self-fulfilling prophecy.
There are several things you can do. Learn to get up off the floor. Set up a buddy system and have a friend or family member call you each day. Know when you are taking a risk like climbing a ladder or going out on an icy day. One can purchase a medical alert system that allows you to activate an alarm by pressing a button on a pendant or arm bracelet. The alarm alerts a trained profession that contacts family or emergency personnel. If you have fallen several times, contact your doctor. He/she may have suggestions of things you might do
Community-based programs are presented at senior centers that address fear of falling. Classes like yoga and Tai Chi provide gentle exercise that decreases falls. It is not possible to prevent all falls, but we can limit the number that happen.
More details on the benefits of a regular Yoga practice.
Discover how to: lose weight, eliminate your stress, increase your flexibility, build your strength using Yoga.
* Help you lose weight: Many forms of yoga raise the heart rate into the aerobic range. But you don’t need to exert yourself to lose weight with yoga. Some studies show even gentle yoga and breathing techniques rev up your tired metabolism so you can lose weight.
A study at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle linked yoga and weight loss. This study of over 15,000 men and women showed people who did yoga lost weight while the control group gained weight.
Another study presented last year at the America Heart Association found yoga helped overweight high school students lose weight while the control group gained weight.
And the famed Dr. Dean Ornish encourages his patients to practice yoga to help ensure weight loss. When you do yoga and make it part of your lifestyle, you’ll soon discover it’s power for weight loss.
Yoga helps you to lose weight in varied ways. It helps you build muscle mass. When you increase your muscle mass, you boost your resting metabolism — and that makes your body burn more calories. You strengthen your body from tip to toe with a regular practice. The thyroid gland normalizes your weight without you having to be in the gym 4-6 days a week. There are a number of factors involved in the normalizing of the weight. Some of the poses in a practice stimulate sluggish glands to increase their hormonal secretions. The thyroid gland, especially, has a big effect on our weight because it affects body metabolism. Yoga goes even deeper by changing the relationship of mind to body, and eventually to food and eating which can have a tremendous impact on weight loss.
* Eliminate your stress: Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body. By encouraging relaxation, you help on lowering your levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the chemical that is linked to increased belly fat. Big bellies are linked to insulin resistance-a precursor to Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes – and heart disease. By combating stress, yoga helps to normalize cortisol levels and keep belly fat to a minimum.
Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia. Your lung capacity will improve, and so will the quality and depth of the breath. People who practice on a regular basis, will notice that they will have less upper respiratory infections, this is thought to be because of the quality of your breath one practices in a yoga practice.
*Improve your flexibility: Yoga helps to improve flexibility and mobility, increasing range of movement and reducing aches and pains. Many people can’t touch their toes during their first yoga class. Gradually they begin to use the correct muscles. Over time, the ligaments, tendons and muscles lengthen, increasing elasticity, making more poses possible. Yoga also helps to improve body alignment resulting in and helping to relieve back, neck, joint and muscle problems. Many people think that they need to be flexible or need to be able to touch their toes to do yoga. Not so! You come to yoga with however your body is at the moment, and with working through your practice, work towards a more flexible body!
* Build your strength: Yoga postures use every muscle in the body, helping to increase strength literally from head to toe. When I restarting taking yoga about 12 years ago, I could only do one pushup. After being in a regular practice for three months, I could at the end of those three months do 19 pushups! I was truly amazed at this feat and was hooked on yoga from that point on.
While the different poses in a practice can strengthen the body, they also provide an additional benefit of helping to relieve muscular tension. Lots of people have upper body tension, due to being at a desk or car or at the computer for a lot of the day. Coming to a session, helps to build the upper body strength, and to relieve tension being held in the body, so you get the benefit of increasing strength and easing body tension.
* Remember, you don’t have to be flexible, or in shape to do yoga. If you can breathe you can do some form of yoga. The more out of shape that you are, the more you’ll see immediate results in a regular practice.
Please join me in a gentle beginning yoga class. What happens in a class is for the first time, you’ll register and sign in, I’ll discuss with you any body issues that you may have (back, carpal tunnel syndrome, balance, surgeries, high blood pressure, etc.), Class is typically 55 minutes in length. Each class will begin with a warm-up and stretching. The warm-up is then followed by focused breathing, then a series of poses that gently work the entire body. After the exercises, there is a period of physical and mental relaxation and reflection.
Participants do not need any prior experience (I love beginners!!) to attend. All skill levels are welcomed. You may borrow a yoga mat, but I encourage you to purchase a yoga mat of your own. Blankets, blocks, straps are provided for you to use during your practice.