We've all heard exhaustive lists of reasons for disturbed sleep and the associate detriments to our health. What if we stopped "trying" so hard to sleep and instead, allow sleeplessness itself to be a teacher. What if we were okay with sleeping or not sleeping - whatever comes? What a relief!

A good night's sleep may feel as elusive as an owl - and it can be an opportunity for growth and, believe it or not, deep rest. What if we allow sleeplessness to inform us of our needs, our belief systems, or our very understanding of who we are? One of the most powerful practices that has transformed my relationship to sleep is iRest® Yoga Nidra.


Experience yoga nidra in a private online or in-person session with me or indulge in a deeper exploration in Hawaii

Just when you start being ok with not sleeping - a good night's sleep may come more often than ever. Welcome that!

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Read on for an important article comparing the effects of addictive behaviors to those of meditation.

Meditation Induced Bliss By Richard Miller, Integrative Restoration (irest®)

I recently read a fascinating research article published by Patricia Sharp on meditation-induced bliss, which differs significantly from addiction-induced bliss. It’s well known that brain-based opiates and neurotransmitters play a vital role in the establishment of addictive behaviors, (i.e., gambling, sex, drugs, nicotine, alcohol, et cetera) through the activation of reward and pleasure centers in the brain. However, it’s also well known that the pleasure derived from these addictive behaviors diminishes over time. Repeated addiction behaviors cause diminished release of brain-based opiates and neurotransmitters, which, over time, leads to anhedonia—the inability to experience pleasure from addiction activities that beforehand offered a felt-sense of reward and pleasure.

While addictive behaviors appear gratifying at first, they ultimately lead to diminished pleasure, and increases in dissatisfaction, pain, and suffering. “Interestingly, meditation also gives rise to the felt-sense of bliss, pleasure, and joy through the activation of the very same brain centers implicated in addictive behaviors. For instance, a study of accomplished Yoga Nidra practitioners demonstrated a 65% increase in brain dopamine release during their practice (Kjaer et al. 2002). However, contrary to addictive behaviors, meditation does not lead to decreases of brain-based opiates and dopamine, nor does it give rise to anhedonia. In fact, just the opposite appears to be the case.

Over time, with meditation, we continue to experience increases in pleasure, bliss, and joy. In other words, meditation is a wonderfully power positive addiction that increases joy with continued practice.

So meditate and yoga nidra on! You’re doing yourself, and everyone around you a great service!.”

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Loosening the Grip of Anxiety

The symptoms of anxiety can feel like our thoughts, breath and physical body are being gripped in a vice. The breath might tighten. Thoughts may clamp down into a familiar narrative such as “I can’t”. The emotion of fear may cause us to freeze. A familiar fog descends upon the mind.

Anxiety often shows up alongside perfectionism. It can cause sleeplessness, digestive disorders, cold extremities and panic. It can hit hard after years of striving and pushing through the symptoms in an outwardly successful life. More than ever, it is showing up in our youth as social, academic and familial pressures arise.

From my experience in working with clients of all ages, remarkable progress and relief happens as they learn to meet, greet and allow the symptoms to be experienced as messengers. Like any new skill it may feel difficult at first, so we establish what is needed to feel safe and secure amid the storm of symptoms. Unique to each person, this may feel like a safe haven or peacefulness in which to retreat in meditation or in everyday activities.

Through Integrative Restoration (IRest®), in a group or in private sessions, clients establish their safe haven or inner resource. They gently allow each sensation, emotion, belief and thought to be met and allowed to reveal itself….not as a symptom to be rid of, or fixed, but as communication from the body as it tries to find balance. The associated memories or stories that may come up are acknowledged. But in this work, they are just memories and conditioned thinking, so we come back to the body for inner wisdom.

Symptoms of anxiety can subside quickly. When they are noted early and allowed as communication, appropriate action can then be taken. This may be in the form of self-care, decision-making, words that need to be expressed or perhaps engaging in psychotherapy asa complimentary path to address what is underlying the anxiety.

Much like learning to ski, we might freeze with fear as we learn to assess the terrain. As we develop skill, we welcome more challenging terrain. It is then that ease and joy are unleashed, even among the challenges.

My work is to help you develop skills for ease of being. Life will continue to throw us tough terrain, we can count on that. Now is the time to hone the skills and open the heart to the richness of life.

It this resonates with you, please contact me for a complimentary 15-minute phone or Skype consultation.

That which we fully meet, we will transcend

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