"Life is an experience. Fulfillment of what you are doing comes not from the completion but from the evolution in the experience of being present with where you are and what you are doing. When you are fully alive, your capacity to experience is total"
Had you told me 3 years ago I would rather teach Yoga Nidra than an Asana class, I would have laughed and said that's crazy. I've always struggled with prayer, meditation, being still for 10 minutes and thinking about nothing. When I first went on my Yoga Nidra Immersion 3 years ago, even then I didn't fully understand the power of what was unlocking inside of me.
After about 3 months of practicing and teaching various Yoga Nidra lineages, I started to realize my reactions to things were changing. I didn't care so much for the little nuances that used to drive me crazy. They were just moments that happened now. They didn't illicit some response in me, they just were. I was sleeping more soundly at night. I was less reactive to those around me. I was thinking about the words that came out of my mouth and how they might impact someone else. I was becoming more comfortable with meditating and being quiet. My body was starting to heal chronic pain.
Could it be that this 30 minute practice of guided meditation was really working that deeply?
Yoga Nidra...Wholeness in Sleep. Yogic Sleep. This magical practice that is rarely talked about, but yet has such a profound healing effect...I had to learn more. I started my Yoga Nidra immersion with the Amrit Institute and learned about the power of setting primary and secondary intentions, how to use my intention when in reaction and how to trust that the power that lives within me (within all of us) to help guide me to my best life.
I have learned as I teach this meditation practice every week that the words I'm speaking for my students are resonating at such a deep and profound level within myself. Even though I'm not actively doing the Yoga Nidra with them, I'm living and feeling the words...allowing them to wash over me as I speak them. Each intention set has a purpose...to help the mind let go of controlling and start to trust in what is.
So what is it? Well, it's like taking an adult nap (thanks mom). All you need is a place to lay down (if you can't lay down, have a supported cushion to prop up your back and head, making sure if you do fall asleep you are supported and protected). Maybe a blanket to cover up with, pillow or bolster under your knees and a light/thin pillow or blanket for under your head. Close your eyes and just let go.
As we guide you through this meditation practice, you'll notice there are progressive states where you feel energy in the body (tingling in the hands, twitching) or you no longer hear the meditation guides voice. You've slipped into this place where thoughts no longer exist. You just are. You might hear someone snoring (it might actually be you), or think you've dozed off to sleep. This practice is designed to help your body REST. Not sleep, rest. When we allow the mind to quiet, energy starts to flow freely (we're no longer trying to control an outcome/person/thing) and our bodies use that energy to move blockages (have hip pain? It's probably tied to some stuck energy in your body) and start to heal.
Just like in sleep, our brain waves follow a progression down into our REM sleep state or delta. Yoga Nidra progressively takes the brain waves down from Gamma to Beta, Alpha and Theta. Theta is that place between wakefulness and sleep. It's where we dream and thoughts no longer exist. It's here that the body starts to rest and therefore, can get to work on fixing things that are broken or have been neglected. When we run too hard and fast for too long, we find we fall asleep in Yoga Nidra...and that's OK. Your body does what it needs in that moment, and if it hasn't has restful, restorative sleep, it will go there first. You can't heal if you're exhausted. There's nothing left in your energy body to help you out. It needs to be replenished, and Yoga Nidra can help do just that.
I know this practice has transformed my life...it's a go to when I need a little boost in energy or just need new perspective on a situation. I feel renewed when I come out of a Yoga Nidra...and usually that thing that was bothering, no longer seems like a big deal. Every time I go to that place of deep stillness and peace, I am getting a glimpse of what is alive inside of me. The spirit that allows me to move, breath and live in this body. It's the piece of me that can never be diminished or destroyed...and it's beautiful.
Want to give it a try? You can join us in the studio or online (look for classes with Yoga Nidra in the title). OR you can download Insight Timer (a free meditation app) and go find @brpthompson (Brooke Page-Thompson) for free Yoga Nidras from the comfort of your home, at whatever time works best for you.