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Self-care is a buzz phrase these days, and for good reason.
People are waking up to the fact that the norms and expectations of our society are not necessarily aligned with our highest good.
As stress-related physical and mental illnesses become more common, healing work is becoming more necessary than ever.
Our culture promotes the expectation that we be productive and “on” all the time. Not only is this unnatural, it’s dangerous.
While it’s one of our greatest skills as humans to be able to create and act, without balancing this with rest and rejuvenation, our lives can’t be sustainable. This lack of sustainability is showing up on all levels: individual health, community upheaval, economic instability, and in the environmental crisis.
Self-care is a radical act that can begin to shift our operating system from one of stress and depletion to a new way that promotes the well-being and sustainability for all of Earth and her children.
For this reason, healing work in the form of yoga, energy work, counseling, and coaching is more important and sought out than ever before.
Yet, as healers we also need to practice what we preach. So many of us are dedicated to serving a big mission of supporting the well-being of humanity, and this can lead us to overworking and spreading ourselves too thin. But just like everyone else, we need to shift from the idea that we need to be doing and serving all the time, and give ourselves the space to rest, replenish, and receive. Otherwise, we’ll burn out before we can achieve our big mission of positive impact.
Self-care is important for everyone, and it’s nonnegotiable for anyone offering healing work. Finding a self-care practice you can do consistently that’s effective and efficient is key to sustaining you as you work to support others.
In my experience of studying healing modalities from cultures around the world, I believe yoga nidra is one of the most valuable tools of self-care for anyone, especially healing practitioners.
Yoga nidra is a guided meditation practiced lying down in a relaxed position. The word “nidra” means sleep, and this modality harnesses the body and mind’s natural process of relaxing in order to fall asleep as a way of clearing the system of all tension, so you can reach profound states of restoration and peace.
Here’s why this practice is a must-have for healers on a mission:
1. Healers have a tendency to give without creating space to receive
We all know the phrase “you can’t give from an empty cup.” Or how about that metaphor of being on a plane and needing to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting anyone else. We get it, we preach it, yet are we as healers actually practicing it?
Often as a healer, your mission feels really big and important—and it is. But we can’t use this as an excuse to be “on” all the time, always giving and never allowing ourselves to receive. There is no true giving without receiving, because if you are not receiving then you will never be able to give at your highest potential.
In order to serve others in the way you know you’re here to do, you must create space within your own self to reconnect with the life-giving energy that fuels all creativity and purpose.
Yoga nidra is an ideal practice to support this because it creates space in the physical and energetic body to open as a channel to receive inspiration and energy. When your mind and body are tense and constricted with constant “doing,” you’re closed off from the energy that sustains you. By practicing yoga nidra, you can create the space within your system to receive what you need, which will help you give more of what you are here to give.
2. Healers take on other people’s stuff and need a way to clear on multiple levels
If you’re a healer, chances are you’re a sensitive being with a big heart. Your compassion and empathy help you connect to others easily. This is great news for your life mission, and it also means that it’s extra important for you to be conscious of what energy is yours and what is other people’s.
Until they’ve looked at their own patterns of codependency, many healing professionals will end up taking on too much responsibility for their clients’ well-being, which ends up being a detriment to both themselves and their clients.
For the healer, this can show up in the form of mental heaviness and stress, a physical sense of carrying other people’s burdens that can show up as pain or illness, or a feeling of energetic overwhelm. For the client, they are ultimately disempowered when we take on their burdens instead of guiding them to have agency over their own healing. Plus, this leads to eventual burnout, which ultimately negatively impacts our clients because we will no longer be available to serve them.
Yoga nidra is an excellent way to counterbalance this tendency. As a practitioner, doing this meditation regularly will not only clear excess energy from your body, thoughts, and emotions, but it also trains you to better distinguish what energy is yours and what is external. This helps to develop stronger energetic understanding and boundaries so you can stay clear and sovereign as you do your work.
3. Healing work takes a lot of energy, and healers need to be able to deeply replenish
This goes back to the idea of needing to create the space to receive if you’re always giving to others or your mission. You as much as anyone else deserve your needs to be met. You are doing important work in the world, which takes a lot of energy, and in order to be able to sustain this, you need to embrace rest as an essential part of your practice.
Yoga nidra is an incredible tool for busy people because it’s efficient and effective in replenishing energy in both body and mind. Twenty minutes of Yoga nidra is equal to the level of restoration and rejuvenation gained from four hours of deep sleep. This makes Yoga nidra a powerful way to get your own self-care needs met in between serving others.
4. We cannot take another where we haven’t gone ourselves
This is a fundamental principle of healing. Many of us get into healing work because we’ve experienced the benefits firsthand. However, as we get consumed with work, it’s easy to forgo doing our own practice, which means that our own growth gets stalled. If we’re on a mission to bring more peace, harmony, and love to the world, but we’re not actively working on that within our own consciousness, then we’re out of integrity and ultimately not as effective as we can be.
What I love about yoga nidra is that it’s a systematic and extremely effective practice for getting us to that felt sense of oneness, unconditional love, and acceptance. This is what we’re all ultimately searching for, clients and practitioners alike.
In order to experience this, we need to create a sense of internal safety and relaxation, and a perspective of equanimity and compassion for all that blocks us from experiencing this love on a regular basis. What gets in the way are the old traumas, pains, and limiting stories, and it’s inevitable that these will come up in the course of healing work.
If we haven’t done our own work of being able to sit with and accept those parts in ourselves, we will not be able to effectively hold that space for others. To learn more about how yoga nidra can heal trauma, check out my other article: “How to Heal Trauma by Doing Nothing.”
Ultimately, doing your own self-care work is a matter of sustainability and integrity. You are here for a big mission of supporting humanity to become healthier, happier, and more harmonious. Your own well-being is an essential part of this equation. The work you do on yourself ripples out and is just as impactful as the work you do with others.
You deserve as much love, peace, and healing as you offer to the world.