Winter Retreat Day 1: Coming Home with self-care

Today we enjoyed four hours at 7 Healing Stars together, getting massage, dancing, meditating, doing yoga, drinking tea and sharing a healing and sacred space. It was a truly beautiful experience to share with others, and I wanted to extend the invitation to you to join us in some of the most beneficial self-care practices that we enjoyed today.

Self-Abhyanga, Ayurvedic Self-Massage

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There are many ways to practice self-abhyanga, and really no way to get it wrong. The common elements in this Ayurvedic practice are the use of warm oil, massaging either from the head to the feet or vice-versa, massaging in circular motions on the joints and long, sweeping motions on the long-bones, and moving the circulation and lymph toward the heart.

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This video does an excellent job explaining the origins, benefits and techniques of Ayurvedic self-massage – enjoy!

Yoga Nidra

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There are many videos available on YouTube with explanations and guided yoga Nidra meditations for you to explore. The common elements in any Yoga Nidra practice is laying comfortably on the floor, supported by pillows, comfortably covered with blankets, and you may choose to use an eye pillow as well.

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It is essential to have a recording or someone else reciting the meditation to you, so that the thinking mind may completely release and relax into the experience. Yoga Nidra is based on the idea that the body is listening, on a cellular level, and will respond accordingly to the suggestions in the meditation such as, “I am completely relaxed, I let go, I surrender completely, I am at peace.”

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The explanation given below this video is thorough and concise: “Yoga Nidra allows you to drop into a sleep-like state with relaxed brainwave activity. Slow alpha waves, and even slower theta waves, producing deep relaxation, with entry points into the subconscious. In this state, you can make a conscious crossover from the logical left brain to the intuitive right brain, connected to the field of conscious pranic intelligence, where intention is carried out spontaneously and effortlessly. One purpose of yoga and Yoga Nidra is to initiate the integrative process that balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, the left and right brain hemispheres.”

“Mother Earth has got your back” This video by Lucy Maresh of the Yoga Nidra network is a simple guided practice (you’ll need to turn the volume up, as it was recorded live).

This video is the Yoga Nidra that I prefer when I’m at work, and have the space to take a 20 minute break in the afternoon – trust me, it is an incredibly refreshing and clearing gift to give yourself in the middle of the work day!

May these simple practices nourish and sustain your spiritual practice throughout this weekend retreat, and integrate into your daily self-care regimen. Blessings. 




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