Yoga Nidra or the Yoga of Sleep
In this mad cap culture we've created, our bodies, minds and spirits are pushed to the limit, so our fight/flight systems are often, if not always, activated, keeping us in an aroused state of stress and tension. This aroused state of being contributes to all kinds of health issues, such as insomnia, depression, heart disease and anxiety. Finding tools to alleviate the pressure valves is critical for our overall health and well being. One such practice known as Yoga Nidra, calms the nervous system, supports cells to regenerate and repair, and stimulates the relaxation response to decrease anxiety and improve your mood, thereby allowing the body to release the pressure, and achieve a calmer, more centered state of being.
Now imagine yourself dropping into a deep state of relaxation and release, letting go of any need to control or of making something happen, bearing witness to whatever thoughts and emotions arise without judgment or need to change. All that is needed is to rest comfortably in a restorative position, supported and warm as you allow the teacher's voice to guide you through this Yoga Nidra meditation. Yoga Nidra is an ancient practice of guided meditation that allows you to descend into the deeper layers of consciousness. It improves the healthy functioning of your nervous and endocrine system, thus allowing your body to truly relax and let go, releasing and healing on the physical, emotional and mental levels.
An easy practice, it is available to anyone at any age or physical ability. No need to sit trying to concentrate in a traditional meditation practice, or to twist and move your body in yogic postures; Yoga Nidra requires none of that. It's easy to follow, as you are systematically guided through relaxation, breath awareness and body scanning as you find the middle ground between sleep and wakefulness. Often referred to as yogic sleep, it is deeply restorative, as you slow down the brain's wavelengths, leaving you feeling rested and renewed. It is often said that a 45 minute Yoga Nidra practice is equal to about 3-4 hours of sleep.
Towards the beginning of Yoga Nidra, an intention or sankalpa is set to affirm the direction and foundation of your practice. This intention may reflect a current issue you'd like to resolve, or being fully present in the moment or inviting in some aspect of living in harmony that you'd like to embrace. It is a map that adds purpose and direction as you are taken through the layers of consciousness, welcoming in and responding to the experiences of sensory awareness.
During Yoga Nidra, you might find yourself drifting between wakefulness and sleep, although you will be encouraged to stay awake and aware. You might only remember certain aspects of your journey, and each time you do this practice the experience will be different than the last one. Not to worry though if sleep finds you, as you will still reap the benefits of integrating this experience in the unconscious mind. In this sleep like state, a deeper connection is made between the body and mind, balancing the left and right hemispheres of the brain, as well as the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, allowing you to descend into a deeper state of consciousness.
There is nothing to fix in Yoga Nidra, yet it is here that unresolved emotions or traumas may reveal themselves to be healed in a balanced and supportive way. As old patterns are understood and released, new pathways of healing are set in motion. We attune to our heart's wisdom, finding the wholeness we long for in healing and harmony.
Yoga Nidra opens us to our Higher Self, as an expansive, open, boundless being that is whole and complete just as we are. It allows us to gain perspective on our lives, without the hooks that keep us small and locked in judgment about ourselves and others. We learn to trust ourselves at a deeper level and to emerge rejuvenated, kinder and more forgiving of ourselves.
Please join me in exploring and experiencing Yoga Nidra. I am offering two stand alone sessions in September. The first one is on the 22nd, at 3:00 PM and the second one on the 23rd, at 7:00 PM. Each session is on a sliding scale of $5-15. Once confirmed, you will receive a Zoom link and password. Please contact me through www.withadancingheart.com
May you find whatever tools you need, whether it is Yoga Nidra or another practice that supports and facilitates a state of relaxation, through these uncertain and trying times. Namaste, Robin