Yoga Nidra for Marathon Tapering
Taper = Prior to a race or event, taking your mileage down significantly (but keeping your legs fresh) in order to be rested and full of lovely glycogen for race day.
Taper tantrum = The irrationality, restlessness and over-thinking tapering can cause.
Maranoia = Marathon-based paranoia. Usually occurs in the month approaching the race. Symptoms include crossing the road to avoid someone that looks like they might sneeze near you; panicking over new twinges and niggles; desperately trying to fit in a last few quality workouts.
Last night my body was tired but my mind was racing. It hasn't been this loud and shouty for what feels like a long time.
HEY! WHAT ABOUT THAT THING YOU HAVEN'T DONE YET? OI! YOU DIDN'T HANG OUT YOUR WASHING. YOU KNOW YOU'RE STILL HUNGRY RIGHT? NOW SEEMS LIKE A GREAT TIME TO MAKE A MENTAL LIST OF EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR YOUR HOLIDAY NEXT WEEK. AND MAYBE ALSO A LIST OF THINGS YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE IN LIFE AND ALSO A LIST OF THE THINGS YOU HAVEN'T ACHIEVED YET.
IF YOU HAD TO LIPSYNC FOR YOUR LIFE WOULD YOU ACTUALLY BE ANY GOOD? WHAT WOULD YOUR STYLE OF DRAG BE LIKE? IS IT CONFUSING THAT YOU FANCY A DRAG QUEEN BOTH IN AND OUT OF DRAG? (Google Pearl Liaison for clarification on this last one).
I put some of this down to tapering and maranoia. The rest is the Ru Paul's Drag Race binge I've been on lately. I've suddenly got all this extra energy that is manifesting itself in a busy, whirring brain and waves of panic about basically nothing. How to tackle it when you can't go out and exhaust yourself with exercise?
Enter Yoga Nidra. Recommended by friend and client Ruth Taylor, Yoga Nidra is kind of an extended body scan so it fits neatly with mindfulness. My first introduction to it was in a tent in Vassiliki last summer where we lay down with bolsters under our knees, cushions under our heads and masks over our eyes whilst the instructor talked us through the process. Nidra asks you to direct your attention to individual body parts one at a time in a way that lets your mind and body release tension in order to focus, for a brief moment, on just the little finger on your right hand (for example). You better believe I fell asleep in that class.
It took me three listens to a Nidra to get me off to sleep last night but we got there in the end (hooray!) and the quality of that sleep was top of the pops.
An essential concept of mindfulness is that just by observing something it changes. So merely by observing what our mind is doing, we can quieten it down and create space between action and reaction. Ain't that just a lovely concept? If you're struggling to relax, calm your mind or inhabit your body, I'd highly recommend taking a little time to try this guided Yoga Nidra. Sit or lie somewhere comfortable with minimal distractions, pop your headphones in and off you go.
Nidra for all!