Discovery Tuesday: Integrative Restoration

I’ll tell you my dirty little secret about the “daily rest” that I’ve decided to do: the idea came about as a result of trying to lose weight.

Yep, you read that right. At 52, I have found that losing weight ain’t as easy as it used to be. Despite our hours of hiking in Switzerland, I came back three pounds heavier! Of course, I convinced myself that I needed some extra food to give me energy for the hikes, and I suspect that I overdid things a bit, despite my best intentions.

I told Henry that I wasn’t going to travel in October. Besides the fact that I want to plant my fall garden, I also wanted to eat at home, where I can better manage food ingredients and portion sizes. Before we went on our travels, I also did a lot of reading and investigating about losing weight at midlife, so I could come home with a plan in mind.

The net result is this: I will leave my cardio program as is. On a fitness test, I scored in the “excellent” range on cardio, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I also scored well on flexibility, which makes sense since I love yoga so much. As I suspected, though, I learned that I need to add strength training, and I found a regimen to follow in the book 8 Weeks to a Younger Body by Joan Pagano. I’m just getting started, but I’ll report back, hopefully with some fantastic results.

In terms of diet, I still find the Weight Watchers program to make the most sense, though I’m making sure that my meals and snacks have a protein-fat-carb ratio close to The Zone, which has brought me success in the past. My reading has suggested to me that I am probably a bit carb-heavy on my diet.

The other problem I see is that I’m a high-strung sort of woman, and I need to keep my stress levels down. Stress, as most of you know, raises cortisol levels in the body, and this can affect our ability to lose weight. In theory, lowering our cortisol levels can improve our ability to lose weight.

Yoga helps, and I also get regular massages. I’ve gotten back into a meditation habit, but I wanted to do a little more. Hence, the decision to make time to rest on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

One of the best ways to do that is through Richard Miller’s Integrative Restoration program. I’m including the link to his store, as opposed to one particular recording or book, because they are all worthwhile. I’m particularly fond of his six-volume Integrative Restoration program, which provides six one-hour guided yoga nidra practices.

In yoga nidra, or yogic sleep, we are guided into a state of heightened awareness of the various sensations in our body and mind. Miller has us notice the insides of our mouth, for example — it’s a detailed journey that keeps us conscious even as our bodies gain an extraordinary level of relaxation.

Yoga nidra has proven invaluable in therapeutic environments. Soldiers suffering from PTSD, for example, have benefited from Miller’s work. In our day-to-day lives, which have become increasingly stressful, we may live in a chronic revved-up state of tension, and integrative restoration can help us break that cycle — at the very least we’ll feel better, and who knows? Maybe we can lose some weight, too!