“Liberation is to know yourself as Awareness alone” -Ashtavakra Gita
Picture this, your friend asks you to join them in going to a Yoga Nidra class. What’s your initial reaction? Do you say, “but it’s only for bedtime!” or “Ooh great I haven’t done any yoga in ages”? There are a number of misconceptions around the practice of Yoga Nidra, so let’s explain the “myths” around it.
1. “It’s a yoga class”. Yes, the name “yoga” features in the title, but don’t let this fool you. This is definitely not a fitness class. Yoga in Sanskrit means “union”. And the practice of Yoga Nidra is exactly that, a union of the mind, body and soul. There might be some small movements, stretches and breathing exercises that help to gently guide us into the practice, particularly if our mind needs calming after a hectic day, but you won’t find any downward dogs in this class.
2. “It’s only a sleep aid”. Type “Yoga Nidra” into YouTube and you will see tons of recordings, as this guided meditation is often used as a tool for inducing sleep. Nidra even means “sleep” in Sanskrit! With Yoga Nidra,you are guided into the state of consciousness between being awake and asleep, and it is in this state where the magic happens, and we become more present and aware. Also, it has been said that around 30-60 minutes of Yoga Nidra is the same as having 4 hours sleep! A deep practice can make you feel re-energised, motivated and focused. Research shows that Yoga Nidra can not only improve sleep, but also helps reduce stress and anxiety and increase quality of life and wellbeing.
3. “It’s just another meditation”. Most meditations are practiced in a seated position and the aim is to quieten the mind. In Yoga Nidra we lie down in a comfortable position, with additional tools such as pillows, bolstersand eye-masks for extra cosiness. Yoga Nidra is an amazing personal growth tool. At the beginning of the practice we set an intention that is a specific and positive statement. This can be anything from “I have everything inside of me be happy” to “I am on the road to achieving my goals”. This intention is kept at the forefront of our minds throughout the practice and taken with us into our daily lives.
4. “It’s always relaxing”. During a Yoga Nidra class we are taken on a journey of complete relaxation, and whilst on the journey we go deep inside of ourselves, which can stir up memories and bring about strong emotions. These might not always be comfortable to sit with. Your job is to simply be the observer of these thoughts, emotions, memories, feelings and sensations. It is up to you what, if anything, you want to focus on. Yoga Nidra can be a very useful self-regulation tool for our emotions.
5. “It’s a quick fix”. After having an “aha” moment in oneclass, it is easy to assume that the Yoga Nidra has done its job. However, in order to see the work really pay off, it needs to be practiced on a regular basis. Each experience can bring about new perspectives and a deeper connection with yourself. It also gives us an opportunity to feel completely relaxed. Who wouldn’t want to experience that regularly!
If you’d like to experience Yoga Nidra please do contact me to find out more about my regular classes and private sessions.