Donna Brooks is a somatic movement educator and therapist, Yogi, and embodied meditator who has 35 years of experience teaching, counseling and coaching in movement and the healing arts.

Balance rest with positive stress for neurological difficulty, stroke and Parkinson’s Disease

Stress isn’t all bad. In fact, you need a certain amount of positive stress to encourage healing and to build strength. Physical therapy is very good at providing positive stress. It’s what makes you push to a new plateau or to hold on to basic function.  But stress without the right type of relaxation is positive stress depleting.

The right kind of relaxation comes from rest rather than collapse and exhaustion. How do you get this kind of relaxation? By sinking into the safety and comfort of where you are now. This is harder than it seems. Too often, when we go to rest our minds become very active and we worry. Or ruminate. This prevents us from actually getting rest. What to do?

Gentle movement with attention to your breathing can bring you into the here and now – the ultimate place to rest. It doesn’t matter what you move or how much. Just let it be gentle, easy and as coordinated with your breath as possible.

Don’t try to deep breathe. Instead see if you can let out some gentle sighs or musical notes through your exhalation. Notice how this makes your breathing easier.

What have your experiences been with getting deep rest?

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