I had a wonderful time at our conference earlier this month. It felt like a coming of age. We were our own keynotes, without needing to import big names in from the US.
We acknowledged our roots with warm and insightful sessions with Rob Nairn. We acknowledged the success of our Masters students and their impact in their communities. And we set our course into the future with a celebration of the recently published Mindfulness to Insight book and sessions showcasing our work in Engaged Mindfulness.
It was fabulous to connect with many friends from the past and from more recent times. From the U.K. and from further afield. It was humbling to see the impact of the work of the MA and the power of a compassion based mindfulness practice on the many people there who I have seen thrive and flourish over the years.
I think Lana’s conference highlights video gives a sense of what was shared.
My main takeaway, in terms of my own practice was the coherent breathing method and a rekindling of a yoga nidra practice. These were both part of Charlie Morley’s work on stress and trauma effected sleep, particularly with veterans. His work is profound and moving and demonstrates to me how modern medical approaches often disempower us and disconnect us from traditional ways of healing ourselves as holistic human beings.
Both practices stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and can relieve the all pervasive stress of modern life. I have been practicing both regularly since the conference and have been reaping the benefits.
I have downloaded a 10 minute coherent breathing track onto my phone. A bell sounds every 6 seconds or so to signal a turn of the breath from in to out or from out to in. I find it very useful if I wake up too early as it helps me to rest back in to sleep.
When I was a yoga teacher I would guide a yoga nidra at the of each class or do one myself when I attended a class. I had an excellent one already on my phone by Swami Janakananda. Also, good for early waking.
Both these methods, as well as alternate nostril breathing really help me to relax. The coherent breathing is a bit like yogic three stage breathing, so also familiar. All three are pretty safe for almost anyone to practice – we do all breathe. All three are highly effective. All three I have practiced in the past in some form and then forgotten!
I have remembered them now and integrated them as part of my tool box for self care. It makes me wonder what else I might have forgotten.
What are some of the things you have forgotten over the years, which might help you to take better care of yourself?