Deep Rest, Deep Sleep, Deep Release

Aug 28, 2019

By Miranda Jamieson

For many people, the ability to relax, rest, or meditate is often experienced as challenging or stressful. Even if this is you, doesn't that seem strange? Why should a process of deep relaxation be anything but restful? Perhaps it is because our bodies and subconscious thinking processes have become adapted to thinking that "rest" is unproductive or wasted time. When the majority of the day for the majority of your life has been spent in both physical and mental activity, intentionally shifting to inactivity for a period of time might feel incredibly unnatural. And when something feels unnatural, it is very easy to dismiss it as something that's "just not for me." That said, as an infant, rest was your most natural state. Being in the big, new world was a lot to take in, and so every couple of hours of wakefulness required twice as much sleep. The world is still big, and every day we still face experiences that are new, and yet rest has been downgraded in importance. 

Rest, sleep and deep relaxation do amazing things for the body. A grueling day of physical, mental or emotional stress is often wiped completely clean by a deep meditation or a night of truly good sleep. It is no stretch to say that after food, air and water, the fourth essential ingredient for life is rest. In an insightful episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TV Series 1987–1994), the Starship Enterprise gets stuck in a spatial rift resulting in the crew unknowingly failing to achieve REM sleep, even though they all go to bed still. The result is that the crew starts hallucinating, leading to paranoia and violence that threatens to destroy the entire ship. While there is no evidence that lack of REM sleep produces such extreme symptoms, we still do not know or understand the biological need that REM sleep fulfills, although we do know that there are real consequences when restful sleep is impaired. 

It is clear that rest, relaxation (meditation), sleep and stress release are all interconnected and all play an important role in total health. If you know that your rest is not as "restful" as it could be, or if you regularly have poor sleep, or if you find it challenging to meditate, then you may find improved health and wellbeing in rest support. 

In the IBA Circadian Rhythms course and in the "Deep Group Session Series," longtime BodyTalker and meditator, Tim Hall--who also co-developed the Circadian Rhythms course with Dr. John Veltheim--addresses our ability to experience rest. 

Tim (pictured right) has been deeply involved with BodyTalk for over 15 years, and he regularly supports BodyTalk founder John Veltheim with course development and research. He has his Master of Science in Kinesiology, a Graduate Certificate in Applied Nutrition and a lifetime of experience with mediation and stress release. Tim brings his expertise in the subjects of stress, meditation and sleep to both the Circadian Rhythms course and his series of group sessions (which can all be found on the IBA website).

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