Meditation: Yoga Nidra for Deep Relaxation
The practice of yoga nidra is a very old one, and is found in the ancient teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism. It is also known as yogic sleep, due to the deep relaxation that occurs through a regular mediation practice. So many benefits come from a yoga nidra practice! You’ll experience relief from the symptoms of stress, fatigue, and anxiety, as well as symptoms of many common ailments. Many yoga studios today offer yoga nidra classes, or incorporate the practice into their asana classes. It is beneficial to learn the practice from an experienced teacher, but if you’d like to experience some of the benefits of yoga nidra today, try this practice at home.
Begin by laying a bolster length-wise on your mat, and laying on it in such a way that your head, neck, upper, and mid back are resting on the bolster. Take a few moments to get comfortable so you can begin to fully relax.
Once you are comfortable, bring your awareness to your breath. Doing this will help you to disengage from your day, and outside distractions. Keep your focus on your breath for a few moments, just letting the inhales and exhales happen naturally.
Now set an intention. It could be something you want to bring about in your life, a wish for a loved one, or anything you would like to focus on.
Release your intention and begin to envision a place of strength and comfort within you. If you are having difficulty with this, picture a place or person that creates those feelings for you.
You will now do a body scan, beginning from your toes and working up. Notice if anywhere in your body feels tight or tense.
Once you have finished your scan, devote a few moments to allow feelings and thoughts to happen. Witness them, and identify what they are. The more frequently you do this practice, the more you will begin to identify patterns in your thought processes.
Complete your practice by creating joy in your body. Inhale deeply and as you exhale, imagine that you are letting go of whatever no longer serves you.
When you complete your meditation, take a moment to reflect on your practice. You may want to write about your experience in a journal. Try to complete this practice once daily to experience the full benefits of yoga nidra. It is a lifelong journey!