Just writing the words ‘Yoga Nidra’ makes me feel relaxed! It brings to mind all of the times that I have practiced it and have managed to completely let go and enter a state of complete relaxation.
So what is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is a relaxation and meditation technique that completely relaxes the body and mind and allows us to enter into a realm of pure consciousness. By relaxing the body and mind we enter into a place of complete stillness and can begin to see what we really are- awareness. We see that we are not the body and we are not the mind, but rather a being that is has these tools, the space and awareness that is and connects us all.
Yoga Nidra allows us to access this deeper part of ourselves and realise that anything else that we think we are is just an illusion of the mind. When we can completely relax into ourselves, we reveal all of the conscious and unconscious patterns of the mind and we fall into our beautiful state of natural awareness.
Who do you think you are? What words do you use to define yourself? None of the words that you may use to describe yourself, whether positive, negative or neutral really explain who you truly are, who we all are.
My experience with Yoga Nidra
When I first started practicing yoga, I often heard people talk about the journey of ‘self discovery’. The concept intrigued me, but my understanding of ‘self’ was quite different from what it is now. All I could see then was that we are all separate beings, unique and individual and I believed that searching for the ‘self’ must be to search for your own individuality, your separateness, that which makes you different from everybody else. But I have come to realise that searching for the self is the exact opposite. It’s coming to realise that despite our physical separateness, despite our differences in lifestyles, in likes and dislikes, underneath it all, when we are all deep into a yoga nidra practice, we are all the same. We are all part of the universal consciousness, we are all one.
How to do Yoga Nidra
Make sure you have a quiet space to practice in. If you live with others, ask that they don’t disturb you for a while.
Lye down on your yoga mat, or on your bed.
Close your eyes and begin to slowly bring your attention to your natural breath.
Check in with how you are feeling. Scan your body for aches, pains and tensions. Notice the activity of your mind.
Set the intention to yourself to completely relax. This is the purpose of this time, so completely allow it to happen.
Perhaps your mind is quite active. That’s perfectly normal, just try for now to gently draw your attention back to the present- your physical body and your breath.
Allow whatever thoughts, sensations, memories and emotions to arise. Be the space for everything to appear. Be friendly to yourself.
Slowly scan your body from the toes, all the way to the top of your head. e.g. Bring your attention to your toes and mentally repeat to yourself ‘my toes are completely relaxed’ whilst mentally relaxing them. Repeat this as your work your way up through the different parts of the body.
It is likely that your will get distracted by thoughts. Again, allow them all to be there, don’t get frustrated with yourself. Just bring your focus make to what you are doing. This is the best way to train the ‘monkey mind’.
When you are completed your ‘body scan’, feel the body as a whole again. And see if you can relax a little bit deeper.
Imagine your awareness is like a clear blue sky, and everything that arises is like a cloud passing through. Allow every thought, feeling or sensation that arises to be there, then send it on it’s way. Allow it to pass.
Relax in this way for at least 15 minutes, but ideally for 30-45 minutes.
When you are ready to come out of the practice, slowly deepen your breath. Gently start to move your fingers and your toes. Roll onto your right side and slowly push yourself up to a seated position.
Sit for a minute or so longer with closed eyes, still with complete awareness within your body.
If you would like to try yoga nidra, I include it at the end of all of my yoga classes in Palm Cove. Get in touch if you would like to come along to one, or feel free to leave a question or comment below. I would love to hear from you!