Yoga Nidra is said to be as restorative as a good night of sleep. Yoga Nidra actually means Yogic Sleep. It isn’t the typical thing that you think of when you picture someone doing yoga. I was describing it to my guy and he’s like, “so you go to yoga to lay on the floor and sleep?” Basically that is exactly what Yoga Nidra is! Although instead of physically sleeping you are engaged in a form of conscious deep sleep.
Yoga Nidra is an extremely deep form of meditation. You lay on the floor in Savasana, or corpse pose, with a bolster or pillow under your knees, a blanket over you for warmth and an eye pillow while listening to the voice of your guide and focusing on your breath and just letting go. I’ve meditated before but with my fibro body I have never been comfortable meditating while sitting up so Yoga Nidra was an absolute blessing to find.
In every class so far I’ve been surrounded by people who have fallen asleep mid class and I’ve even fallen asleep a few times, only once in class, the other times have been when I was doing a Nidra at home. It is hard to describe but if you’re with an experienced guide then you will find your body becoming extremely heavy and still and your breathing very automatic. You will find yourself visualizing the scenes that your guide is walking you through and when I experienced this during the first class it was to say the least life changing.
My first class, 13 days ago, was at a brand new studio with a brand new teacher and I thought it would be uncomfortable but I stayed open to the practice and trusted her guidance and my mind was blown! She walked the class into an extremely deep state of consciousness where she asked us to picture a body of water and as we walked closer to the water we see an alter next to the shore where she asked us to leave something that we want to get rid of or release and then we see this magical being place a present and inside that present is exactly what you need.
Well, let’s just say that I had come into the class with an intention in mind. After being so sick for so long I’ve been working lately to regain my true self. It hasn’t been easy and before class I had been thinking a lot about it and written out the mantra, I now give myself permission to be my true self. As she walked us through that scene I kept this mantra in mind and put my “sick self” on the alter to release it and in the gift that I opened was an image of my true self. I was the laughing, smiling, social person that I was just 5 years before. I was so moved it literally brought me to tears while in this deep state of consciousness.
For me to explain how refreshingly cathartic that experience was would be an understatement. After class when I went home I wrote down the story that I envisioned during the meditation. I’m not sure if I’m ready to share it quite yet but once I am I will post a link here for you guys to read it. It still makes my eyes well up a bit when I re-imagine it!
I’ve done a Yoga Nidra meditation 10 times in the last 13 days and I have seen some really significant changes in my mood, stress levels, overall presence and my sleep and pain levels. I’ve been getting tired early in the evening. By 10pm I am passed out in bed and I find that I am wide awake and feeling refreshed somewhere around 5-6am. I know that’s early right!! I’ve actually started doing a Nidra in bed before I get up for the day when it’s still quiet in the house and the dogs are all still sleeping. I just roll over, grab my phone and put my headphones in and play the Nidra that I had chosen the night before. It’s said that one session is equivalent to 3-4 hours of sleep so my thinking is that adding that restoration on top of the 7-8 hours that I had gotten would set me up for a great day. I’ve been able to start the days with renewed energy and a very peaceful disposition. One day all of my senses were extremely heightened. The sky was bluer and all of the songs that played on my morning drive just sounded so much better.
My pain levels have greatly decreased. I’m not sure if it’s because of the Nidra stress relief or because I am sleeping better but there is a lot of body restoration that is happening during the meditation and I’m convinced that has a lot to do with it. It’s said to also elevate moods and help lift depression which I can definitely attest to. It’s a very peaceful euphoric feeling that you get after a session. I haven’t had a headache or migraine in a while but it’s said to help alleviate those as well.
If you’re open to trying out a Yoga Nidra session then I HIGHLY recommend listening to one of the recordings from my favorite guide Heather Wiest on her website https://loveserveinspire.com/.
Do your best to find a dark, quiet space in your house. Lay on your back on the floor on a blanket, yoga mat or on the bed with a pillow under your knees to support your lower back. Place a pillow under your neck or head to ensure that it’s comfortable. Prop your arms up on blankets or with pillows if you have to for comfort. Put a blanket on and if you can either put an eye pillow over your eyes or fold up a hand towel if you don’t have an eye blanket. Get really comfortable and just melt into Heather’s words.
Like I said, I tend to do my Nidra early before the house starts to wake up but I have also done a few at home later in the day. Make sure you let your partner or anyone else in the house that you need 30 minutes alone so they don’t open the door. There will always be distractions. The air kicking on, a dog barking, a car beeping, but you just have to refocus on the guide’s words and keep melting into the session.
If you do make the step to do a Nidra then please let me know! I’d love to hear about it!
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