November 2020 Newsletter Contribution
What is Yoga Nidra?
By Sophie Guedin
Yoga Nidra is an ancient relaxation practice. Nidra = sleep, so it is sometimes translated as ‘yogic sleep’, however, it is in fact a state of consciousness right between being awake and being asleep (hypnagogic state).
Yoga Nidra is very methodical and follows a specific sequence taking practitioners into different stages of relaxation, going through all 5 koshas (= layers) of body and mind. At the most profound stage, while completely relaxed, practitioners reach that threshold of consciousness, right before falling asleep (alpha brain waves).
Yoga Nidra is different from meditation. It may vary, but usually, meditation is practiced seated and we guide the mind to focus on something, for example the breath. As our mind wanders, we ask our mind to return to the object of meditation, so there is some degree of ‘control’ over the mind. Yoga Nidra is practiced in Savasana. Nothing is asked of the practitioner other than to listen to the voice of the instructor. There is no need to focus on anything, in fact it’s quite the opposite, we let the mind roam completely free.
After setting up in Savasana, you are guided through deeper and deeper relaxation of the body and mind in stages through withdrawal of the senses (except hearing), breath awareness, rotation of consciousness and visualization. An important step is the set up of a Sankalpa. A Sankalpa (= resolution) is a deep inner resolve, which is repeated several times while the mind is receptive through the practice of Yoga Nidra.
Yoga Nidra is a healing practice that may help remove deeply rooted tensions. It is used to help people suffering from PTSD, addictions, stress, anxiety, sleep issues, relationship issues, etc.
It is a beautiful and powerful practice.
Interested in practicing Yoga Nidra?
Join me for a special Yoga Nidra pop up class!
Wednesday, November 25th 7:30pm – 8:45pm on Zoom. To register see the schedule.