The Practice of Yoga Nidra
Yoga nidra translates to “yogic sleep”. It’s important that we define it differently to normal sleep as it is much more profound and healing than just a regular nap.
Yoga Nidra is the process of dropping through the various layers of ourselves through a guided body relaxation, to a place where we are deeply relaxed but also extremely aware – a place where we are operating in our subconscious mind rather than our overthinking, conscious mind. In this place we are connected with our most authentic version of ourselves, and so we have the power to plant new seeds of intention to bring about change. We are also in a state where we can restructure and reprogram the mind- helping us to clear out negative thoughts/blockages. It’s an incredibly powerful practice - one hour practicing yoga nidra is the equivalent to four hours sleep!
1. What can I expect from a Yoga Nidra practice?
Yoga Nidra is about finding a state of deep relaxation and heightened awareness. So you won’t find any asana/physical postures here!
Instead, we do the opposite; we set ourselves up to be in the most optimal level of comfort so that we can drop in to stillness and quiet the mind.
We tend to practice yoga nidra lying on our backs, supported by pillows and weighted blankets to make us feel secure and supported. I also love a bolster under my knees and an eye pillow over my eyes.
From this place of comfort, you will be guided through a “rotation of consciousness” where we relax the body, one part of a time. Then you’ll create breath/energy awareness to become conscious of the body as a whole.
There are eight stages to the practice, and each stage sets us up for the one after it, shifting us in to a deeper and deeper state of awareness. Thee first four will generally always be done in the same order – it’s an ancient, tried and tested formula and it works!
The fifth stage in the practice of yoga nidra and is where the magic really starts happening …
In yoga, pratyaharya means “withdrawal of the senses” and it is the fifth limb on the traditional eight limbs of yoga in the ashtanga yoga system.
It is the process of disengaging your mind by controlling your reaction to external disturbances and detaching from them in order to become a quiet observer, unswayed by thoughts of outcomes.
This process serves as a key foundation or meditation
Next comes Samadhi, which, in the yogic tradition translates to “equanimity”.
It is a state we can reach in which we can witness the fluctuations of the mind with all of its ideas and impressions and patterns, from a place of neutrality.
From this place of equanimity, where we can see the bigger picture of things with compassion and love, we can start to shed those pieces of the mind that we know are not serving us – those negative thought patterns and limiting beliefs – so that we can make way for new, improved, and better serving ones.
Yoga nidra is an amazing tool for reaching this place of Samadhi within the body and mind – as you relax and go deeper in to your subconscious you can start to access Samadhi
Woah .. sounds powerful! Where can I experience this goodness?
Want to absorb the profound effects of Yoga Nidra for yourself?
Head over to the freebies page on my website for your very own, guided yoga nidra practice