Yoga Nidra, Perry Lewis, 14 June 2019
One of the practices we have introduced into our classes is Yoga Nidra which is the Sanskrit for “yogic sleep”.
Many regard Yoga Nidra as a deep relaxation practice, and indeed it is very relaxing. But it is also much more.
Richard Miller, PhD, describes the practice in his book;
“Yoga Nidra is a time-honored, reeducational process that teaches you how to blend profound relaxation with innate wisdom into every moment of your life. The practice of Yoga Nidra leads to sweeping changes within your mind and body, as well as in all your interpersonal relationships. It’s a fundamental resource for transforming your physical health as well as reshaping your personal, interpersonal, and professional relationships. Please understand that Yoga Nidra is not hypnosis, but rather the deepest and most profound but very natural state of meditation…”
The practice takes 20 – 30 minutes. The student lays on their mat in Savasana with any blankets, bolsters, eye pillows and blocks they need to keep themselves comfortable and warm.
The student can also prepare by settling on an affirmation or Sankalpa which they will recite to themselves at certain points of the practice. This takes the form of a short phrase that encapsulates a heartfelt personal goal.
The student is then led through the practice by the teacher who will give verbal instructions. These can involve body scanning, visualisations, watching the breath, sensory observations and of course, to recite to themselves their Sankalpa.
The practice becomes most effective in the twighlight zone – that place between being awake and being asleep. This is described as being in a hypnogogic state.
I find the practice leaves me exceptionally relaxed but energised and with a renewed sense of purpose. I hope my students feel this also.