Yoga Nidra is not what many of us consider a “yoga” practice. Anyone can participate! No experience necessary! It is not about twisting the body into various postures. It does not include extensive breathing exercises, like the breath of fire. It is not a fitness class. Yoga Nidra is one of many varieties of yoga meditation yet does not require you to “sit” in meditation, on a cushion, with your back in alignment, controlling the thought waves of your mind. What, then, is this powerfully transformative and deeply calming form of yoga?
Often called “yogic sleep,” Yoga Nidra is a guided meditation that carries you on a journey through your body into the breath, transporting you into an awareness of your senses and emotions, gently then moving your awareness through the energy centers (the chakras), then into the mind and a place where you feel the freedom to touch the deepest part of your being. Yoga Nidra opens a space within you where intention lives and, as part of the practice, you choose your wish or intention (sankalpa), planting it in your mind where it is takes root, then is tenderly nurtured so it can grow and bear fruit.. You choose your sankalpa just as you enter into Yoga Nidra and again repeat it at the conclusion. The feedback I receive shows great results for those placing their intentions.
Here is some information about Yoga Nidra:
- If you can lie on the floor, you can do Yoga Nidra. Only some gentle stretching may or may not be involved.
- There is no effort in the practice of Yoga Nidra. To the contrary, you simply lie there, close your eyes and listen to the guidance.
- You let go of analysing and judging yourself. If you fall asleep, that’s okay. If you snore a little, no one will mind. A part of your “sleeping” consciousness will still imbibe the lessons.
- Mostly you lie on the floor, or a reclining chair, and calmly listen to the instructor. You may hear all or part of what is said. No matter.
- The idea is to do nothing, think nothing. To just “be” is all that is required.
If that is all it takes, then how could something so simple be so transformative? And that, with continued practice, you can actually see the changes in your life. Yoga Nidra guides you into a place where you experience freedom and trust. You come to see the transitory nature of events in the world and your own emotional responses to them. It happens in the stillness. “Relax into Greatness,” is what happens in Yoga Nidra as described by Rod Stryker, who teaches this practice.
In Yoga Nidra, most people experience a depth of calm and relaxation that goes beyond anything in routine sleep and in formal, sitting meditation. It is said that Yoga Nidra can move the mind into what is the deepest and most restorative brain wave state called delta. Throughout our waking time, we are the beta wave where time and space are experienced, along with the five senses. In light meditation and in light sleep, time and space diminish and intuition increases; this is the alpha state. The theta emerges in deep meditation and deeper sleep. But in Yoga Nidra the deepest rest and sleep appears, in the delta state, in sleeping awareness, where we are able to actually alter and transform our lives, where we can touch the essence of our being.
In Yoga Nidra, you learn to reach into the timeless wisdom
that lives within you and is always present
in every circumstance of your life.
Yoga Nidra is being practiced in the fields of psychotherapy, for healing illness, in treating post traumatic stress syndrome, managing chronic pain, helping the military deal with everyday stress, and in other areas where transformation and healing are needed. It is one of the most powerful means for releasing stress and for profound spiritual transformation. It has even been suggested that one might reach the place of Divine Love as experienced by those who have dramatic near death experiences. My own Yoga Nidra “script” is evolving and exploring this potential through various groundbreaking means. Imagine knowing that level of Love on your own! In truth, we are only now beginning to understand the multiple benefits of Yoga Nidra.
I offer Yoga Nidra classes on a regular basis. You can access this information on my website. I hope you will have the opportunity to experience the life changing and peaceful healing that is Yoga Nidra.