(But What is Yoga Nidra?)
Yoga nidra is a time-honored yogic practice that is considered a form of meditation. If you’re new to meditation or struggling with it, or even if you have a regular practice you’re going to love yoga nidra. Yoga nidra is an ancient practice, derived from the tantras, that teaches us how to relax consciously. Here’s an explanation from the yogi master who really brought yoga nidra to the forefront:
Yoga nidra is a systematic method of inducing complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation. The term yoga nidra is derived from two Sanskrit words, yoga meaning union or one-pointed awareness, and nidra meaning sleep. During the practice of yoga nidra, one appears to be asleep, but the consciousness is functioning at a deeper level of awareness.” – Swami Satyananda Saraswati
How will Yoga Nidra Help Me?
A regular meditation practice can lead to sweeping changes: mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Here are a few specific benefits of a regular meditation practice:
- reduces tension in the body
- enduces better sleep
- awakens the senses allowing us to feel alive
- helps with the symptoms of anxiety and depression
- helps those living with chronic pain
- takes us back to the “pure” self untouched by life’s experiences
- reduces the risk of relapse for those in recovery
Want to be Nicer?
My experience has been that a regular meditation practice (seated, walking, or laying down) softens the edges of my sometimes pointy personality, and makes space in my otherwise cluttered mind. Basically, I’m nicer and I think more clearly. Scientists say that I’m changing my physiology, my chemistry by attempting and sustaining single focused attention. Google it – there are many studies on the affects of various forms of meditation with different populations.
Yoga nidra is hands-down my favorite form of meditation. Why, you ask? Because yoga nidra is the easiest form of meditation – it’s done lying down. If you’re like me, and have a difficult time sitting still for any length of time, this might be just the answer to at least one roadblock to a regular meditation practice. Also, I love that yoga nidra takes us to that liminal space not unlike the moments leading to sleep…transitioning, floating, letting go. To me when I’m in yoga nidra I drift into a place, from long ago, when I was pure and sweet and carefree.
It is my Honor…
Last year, I had the honor of being the in-house yoga teacher at two weekend healing retreats for military veterans with PTSD. The retreats were sponsored by our local chapter of Heroes on the Water. I was so humbled to be able to join these men and women and lead them through yoga asana and yoga nidra. To my surprise, I was asked by several of the retreaters if they could record my yoga nidra in order to listen to it later at home. They said they slept better after yoga nidra. As I was not sure how that would work with the confidentiality and comfort of all the participants in class, I declined letting them record me…but the idea stayed with me. I also teach asana and nidra to folks in inpatient substance abuse treatment. They too have asked for videos or audios of me leading yoga nidra.
Today I happily fulfill those requests. Below is a 20 minute recording of a yoga nidra session I’ve made for them and for you. Please enjoy.”
My hope is that this practice helps you in your journey back to your true home, where you are perfect and whole…the home of the self.
…joining you on the journey, Denise
Denise Amick, M.S., RYT is a Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern who sees private clients at Arya Therapy Services. She also works at two inpatient addictions treatment facilities as both a therapist and a yoga teacher. She holds a masters degree in Counseling and Psychology and has sustained a thirty year yoga practice. Denise’s education, professional background, and having reached mid-life (mostly unscathed) provides her a wide range of life experiences from which to pull and connect more deeply with her clients. If you’d like to contact Denise, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.