Most people sleep without resolving their tensions. This is termed Nidra.
Nidra means sleep, no matter what or why.
But Yoga Nidra means sleep after throwing off the burdens.
It is of a blissful, higher quality altogether… – Swami Satyananda Saraswati
I’ve never forgotten my first experience of yoga nidra. A sea of yoga mats and students sprawled across the floor, guided by the voice of a teacher who took me some place I’d never been before. I came away from the experience like I was walking on air. I knew little of the practice, probably a good thing so as to not over think it, and from that moment on I was hooked.
Being surrounded by technology that progresses faster than our brains can keep up, the need for practices to bring us back into balance is important (I would say vital). Yoga nidra is a panacea to our fast paced world where stress has become the norm. It’s a form of guided relaxation that can do amazing things for your health and happiness. While the word Nidra means sleep, the idea of Yoga Nidra is to not to drift off to sleep. Your body sleeps, yes, but your mind remains relaxed and alert so that transformation and rejuvenation can take place. All you need to do is lie on the floor or bed and close your eyes and listen to the voice guiding you. It’s that simple.
Yoga Nidra guides you to a deeply meditative state between the worlds of waking and sleeping. A state experienced every day, albeit briefly, as you drift off to sleep and again upon waking. In this dreamlike state you gain conscious access to the unconscious mind, which gives you the ability to plant a seed of intention deep into your subconscious. In Sanskrit, intention setting is known as “Sankalpa” which means to initiate or conceive. Therefore yoga nidra can be a powerful tool for transforming and re-creating your life.
Yoga nidra is a deeply healing and restorative practice. It's said that a session of yoga nidra can feel like four hours of restful sleep. With the body and mind so deeply relaxed, the parasympathetic nervous system takes over. This aspect responsible for ‘rest and repair’ regulating the unconscious aspects of the nervous system which include digestion, restoration and healing, and the immune and endocrine systems. Yoga nidra is therefore very beneficial for bringing balance to a high stress lifestyles where the sympathetic nervous system (“fight or flight” and survival mode) are most often at the helm. Whether you use yoga nidra to end your yoga practice or as a practice on its own, it's an extremely valuable tool to incorporate into your life wherever you're at.
Take time for yourself and join me for a special Christmas yoga nidra at MF Pilates Studio, 23 Derby Street, Sunday 18 December 6:45-7:45pm. Entry by donation. Yoga mats, blankets and cushions are available however please please bring any extras you’d like, so that you feel extra comfortable lying on the floor for our guided relaxation.