Sitting still has always been one of my life challenges; until I had my child, of course, when exhaustion was the great de-motivater! Once I began practising YOGA I, thankfully, began to learn how to rein in and channel my energy so that I didn't run out of it quite so quickly. One of my biggest yogic surprises on this journey has been yoga Nidra.
Lying in Savasana (corpse pose) with my eyes closed (always a great start) my teacher managed to quieten my 'monkey chattering mind' as she took my focus around each finger, each limb and all around my body. I sank deeper and deeper into what I can only describe as a 'quiet place' and when I left my mat after class, I felt lighter, calmer and frankly......more content. This was a weekly event and I moved heaven and earth to show up on my mat every time there was a class.
The instruction for YOGA Nidra is to stay awake and I didn't always manage that, sometimes I drifted off into a stress free 'Land Of Nod'. Either way, I could feel the benefits of 'deeply chilling out'. In his book YOGA NIDRA, Swami Satyananda Saraswati writes:
'Yoga Nidra has been termed 'sleepless sleep' because we learn to enter the state between sleep and wakefulness
without loss of awareness'.
Intriguing right? The thing is, we paddle around life with our over stimulated, over active conscious mind doing its thing. When we sleep 'perchance to dream' our subconscious mind does its thing and, often, those precious 'down-time' hours are not 'down-time' at all. I've run marathons in my sleep!
When we bring our conscious mind - our senses- to focus inwards(Pratyahara) we can actively 'take hold' of it and control the monkey chatter. If we stay awake, we don't fall into running those marathons; dreams are kept at bay. And so in Yoga Nidra, we sit somewhere in the middle and it really does pay off! I'd be skeptical if I hadn't experienced the affects of it myself and I'm sure everyones' experiences differ, but to walk off your mat feeling like a slightly more well adjusted person who could see colours as brighter, sense the world in a more balanced perspective and feel more clarity of mind; that's worth showing up on your mat for right!
There's a lot more to it but this gives a bit of an overview. Yoga Nidra is a science which has been the subject of numerous research programs. It has been used as a therapeutic tool to aid stress relief, cardiovascular disease, psychosomatic diseases and heart disease.
It is said that one hour of Yoga Nidra is worth four hours of 'conventional' sleep. I've experienced its benefits and I'm telling you....it's worth a look!
See you on your mat.
For Next Nidra see the Timetable page on www.thelittleyogaplace.co.uk
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