Chilling is your birthright.
Article 24 in the human rights, the right to rest and leisure.
Yes, even the UN agree that you have the right to rest.
You have the right, but also the need.
We need to rest.
You know how your muscles get sore and exhausted?
Think of your brain as a muscle - it works, works, and works, gets stronger and grows, but if it doesn’t rest, it cannot recover from the exercise.
We can not thrive if we don’t chill. We can not work hard in a sustainable way if we don’t chill. We can not create on a long-term basis if we don’t chill. When we give our brain a rest, gives it, or us, the time to do some introspection and by that create a better life for ourselves. How?
According to psychological science by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang;
When people wakefully rest in the functional MRI scanner, their minds wander, and they engage a so-called default mode (DM) of neural processing that is relatively suppressed when attention is focused on the outside world. Accruing evidence suggests that DM brain systems activated during rest are also important for active, internally focused psychosocial mental processing, for example, when recalling personal memories, imagining the future, and feeling social emotions with moral connotations.
Downtime is an opportunity for the brain to make sense of what it has recently learned, to surface fundamental unresolved tensions in our lives and to swivel its powers of reflection away from the external world toward itself. When it has a moment to itself, the mind dips its quill into our memories, sensory experiences, disappointments and desires so that it may continue writing this ongoing first-person narrative of life.¨
(From Rest Is Not Idleness: Implications of the Brain’s Default Mode for Human Development and Education by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang)
Sometimes it can be hard for to us to just sit down, or lie down and rest and engage the default mode brain, yoga asana can be a great way to calm the system down enough for us to actually go into this mode. In meditative states during yoga, you might think that you are supposed to not think at all - while the idea of meditation is to let thought arrive but let them go. Sometimes meditation helps us think, helps us realize and understand - especially if yoga and meditation is our only default-mode possibilities during the day.
We often rob ourselves of many default-mode opportunities in our day-to-day, which can make our minds very active during yoga and meditation - because the mind has not been set free to do its job of reflection and introspection during the day.
Do any of these default mode-blockers sound familiar to you?
- Social media scrolling when on public transport, in line, or waiting for someone
- Watching TV until right before bed, leaving no time to wind down
- Listening to podcasts/radio/audio books constantly no matter what you do
- In constant stimulation by the outer world through conversation or listening
What if we try to just wait for 2 minutes, looking around, being still?
What if we listen to music instead of podcasts - as this often calms the mind and also gives us the freedom to enter default mode. Or maybe go for a walk, or do some kind of creative activity without listening to an audio book at the same time. To let the mind roam free, and then, perhaps, the mind will not be as active in the next yoga and meditation session, because it has already been let loose a little bit.
Think of your mind as a puppy.
You give a puppy zero play time for 10 hours, then all of a sudden, it is set free to run and jump wherever it wants. We are talking about a wild and hyper active puppy.
That is our minds when never allowed enough rest, it becomes wild and hyper active, and very hard to control.
You give a puppy some play time here, some play time there, and when the puppy is set free to run and jump, it will still run and jump - but maybe not for the same amount of time.
Maybe it does for 30 minutes, then becomes exhausted and decide to lay down and take a nap. That is our mind when it is allowed free time outside yoga class. The mind is allowed to rest in other moments than just in yoga class.
Also, a reminder: It is not your fault that you spend the time you do doing and making, you are one hundred percent conditioned into doing and creating constantly, and to earn your rest.
You do not have to earn your rest. You have the right to rest.