Yoga Nidra Made Easy
Yoga Nidra Meditation , or “yogic sleep”, is a meditative practice that has been used for centuries in India to promote physical and mental wellbeing. It involves relaxing the body completely while focusing on a single point of awareness (such as the breath or the body), allowing students to reach deep levels of restorative states of relaxation.
Understand the Basics of Yoga Nidra.
It’s important to understand the basics of yoga nidra before you get started. During your practice, you may be guided through a series of postures, breathwork, and/or visualization exercises that help prepare your body for meditation. This helps build awareness, creating a strong foundation from which to allow the body to restore, repair, regenerate and most importantly rest deeply.
Find a Quiet Place to Practice.
Before you start your Yoga Nidra journey, it’s important to find a quiet, dimly lit place where you can practice. This could be your bedroom, living room, or any other place that is free from distractions. Make sure the temperature is comfortable, and you have plenty of support for your body (such as a cushion, blanket, or bolster). Once you’ve found the perfect spot, take some time to get very comfortable, supported and ready to begin. Be sure to let anyone else around you not to disturb you, and perhaps consider putting a reminder note on your door to avoid being startled by any unexpeted interruption. Finally, turn all electronic devices to silent and set an alarm if you are worried about falling asleep and missing something important afterward.
Get Comfortable and Create and Intention.
Once settled and cozy, it’s time to begin considering your intention (or sankalpa in Sanskrit) for the practice. To do this, close your eyes and focus on one intention that will guide you during your practice. An intention is a positive, forward focused statement. If you were trying to make healhier eating choices and stop consuming junk food for example, one could have the intntion, "I only eat foods that are nourishing to my body" but would be advised to use something similar such as "I want to stop eating junk food". In the first example we assume that we have already made the change we are desiring to make. The second only reminds us of something we are already ashamed of. Often, Yoga Nidra instructors will also offer a specific intention for your practice. Visualize this phrase in your body until it resonates deeply with you. Take a few more deep breaths before starting the nidra practice itself. And, try to bring it back into your awareness throughout your practice.
Relaxing the Body Through Rotation of Awareness.
Continuing on from the visualization of your intention, the practce generally will begin to move your awareness throughout each body part. Mentally rotating your awareness until you have moved from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes. Take your time and allow your body to respond to the guidance without judgement or comment.
Prepare for Conscious Deep Sleep
As you move from your rotation of the body deeper into relaxation, let yourself drift away. When you come back into awareness listen for the guidance. Focus on your breath and feel the subtle energy shifts in your body calming down as you start sinking deeper into your own mind and body. Observe your thoughts coming and going completely on their own, as you rest deeply. Allow any emotions that arise to pass through without attaching yourself to them. Breath slowing down, body becomes heavier allowing for complete rest.