How It Works
The following information is available in audio on my Patreon page, which also includes a free recorded introductory session:
While yoga gets the blood flowing, yoga nidra relaxes the body, targeting tension, stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation and obstacles that might be holding us back. Releasing tension can help eliminate thoughts that repeatedly circle in our heads – at least long enough to give us space and perspective. With each session, we develop a clearer mindset. When the mind changes, the cells of our body can also change. Just like a deep sleep can help our body repair, yoga nidra can activate our body's ability to heal itself.
Yoga nidra, which means "sleeping with awareness," was developed as a companion relaxation practice to the more stimulating, physical yoga. Yoga nidra stills the body, activates the conscious mind and promotes good mental health. If you’ve found it
difficult to relax using other methods, yoga nidra is perfect for you.
Incorporating a simple, relaxing, and enjoyable Yoga Nidra routine of 2-3 sessions in any combination each week (one-on-one, group, or prerecorded) can make a huge difference in maximizing the benefits you receive, as well as improve how you feel daily.
To prepare, find a place where you won't be interrupted. You can perform Yoga Nidra lying down or seated comfortably with your head supported. Keep your legs and arms straight with your palms face up if lying down. Earbuds are preferable to reduce outside noise and an eye covering, such as an eye pillow or a towel, is suggested to block out light. Minimizing sensory distractions helps you focus better.
As you listen to my voice guide you during a session, you'll remain aware and relaxed, and participate mentally.
You’ll be following a general pattern of instructions and guided visualizations that last around 30-60 minutes depending on the session format you choose.
To begin, I'll guide you through a relaxation meditation and breath awareness, which slows the body's nervous system and calms brain wave patterns.
I'll then ask you to mentally say your Sankalpa which is a kind of intention or affirmation that directs your practice giving it focus. I explain Sankalpa in more detail below.
Next, we consciously move awareness from body part to body part, like doing mental gymnastics to keep you from being distracted by your thoughts. From there, I take you through different, calming visualizations, which could include a breathing or sensation visualization, a mix of images or a guided journey.
Each part of the session focuses on different areas of awareness, increasing your memory, concentration, problem-solving skills and releasing anxiety and depression. If you find yourself falling asleep during practice, that's OK. You probably really need it. And don't worry, you're still getting the relaxing benefits of Yoga Nidra.
One disclaimer: Healing is not the same as a cure. It's possible to heal until the day we die, but sometimes health issues are a pathway we must travel. A Yoga Nidra practice is simply a positive tool that can make our journey a little easier.
Conventional wisdom always says, "Sleep on it," when we get overwhelmed by challenges. So, putting yourself in "aware sleep," the literal translation of Yoga Nidra, allows you to become subconsciously receptive to and aware of your needs. A Sankalpa is a vow to yourself to achieve an attainable goal. You create it. It's a word or phrase that you say mentally to yourself twice each session - once near the beginning and once toward the end. It's like an intention, but more powerful with the added resolve on your part to follow through. Envisioning a goal is crucial to achieving it, and Yoga Nidra can help you recognize the actions you need to take to reach your goal.
When thinking about what you want your Sankalpa to be, use the present tense. For instance, if you want to become a better businessperson, you could say, "I am a thriving businessperson." Using the present tense acknowledges work you've already done to become a businessperson. "Thriving" emphasizes the kind of businessperson you envision yourself to be.
If you want to achieve better health, you could say, "I am healthy." Or, bringing all the forces together that contribute to your health, say, "I'm healthy in mind, body and spirit."
Some other examples might be, "I am open to new ideas" or "I am clear in expressing my needs to others." Think about what you want to work on specifically.