Let’s dive into the basics of Yoga Nidra today, with Ashley
Yoga Nidra, also known as the art of yogic sleep, is a practice that brings you into a state of clear consciousness and complete relaxation for the body, mind, and soul.
This meditation and relaxation technique is very effective, as it supports reduced stress, more clear thought patterns, and improves memory and retention.
This unique meditation technique is based in yoga, it is ancient, and has been practiced, studied, and taught for hundreds of years.
Yoga Nidra begins by intentionally moving through various stages of awareness, also known as a “rotation of consciousness”. This rotation of consciousness systemically relaxes the brain, and the body, to bring you into the brain wave state in between awake and asleep.
In this brain wave state, the body is full relaxed, but the mind is still awake. This practice takes time to cultivate, which is why we offer it weekly on our schedule. And lends itself perfectly to at-home virtual practice because – very often – we fall asleep in class!
How it Works
Similar to hypnosis, Yoga Nidra is taught with a monotone, even voice. This allows the brain to relax, as intonation and emphasis are removed from the reading.
Yoga Nidra is practice reclined while lying in savasana or corpse pose, with plenty of comfort and support. (Being real: I love practicing under covers, in bed. That way if I fall asleep – I don’t have to move at all!)
You make yourself absolutely comfortable, setting yourself up with any props that you like. Ashley typically uses a bolster underneath the knees, an eye pillow, and a blanket to keep warm. She find that sometimes when we practice on the floor the head feels really heavy after a while. A little bit of cushioning under the head is wonderful as well.
So setting up to dive into this relaxation: For the whole time the eyes are closed and there will not be any moving of the body. Just allow your body to rest. We are turning off the senses of the body, except for hearing. You will be led just by the sound of my voice.
Practice begins with a rotation of consciousness, where different parts of the body are guided to relax. This might feel challenging at first, but just like anything else: the more often you practice, the easier, and the more effective it is.
The Eight Stages of Yoga Nidra
In Yoga Nidra there are eight fundamental steps designed to help lead you into bliss and relaxation:
- Initial relaxation- Calm down and settle your body.
- Resolves/Sankalpa- Our intentions, but deep rooted from the heart, repeated 3 times.
- Rotation of consciousness- Bringing awareness into each part of the body.
- Breathing and Counting- Focusing on an aspect of the breath, while counting. You go at your own pace.
- Opposites- Bring awareness to the feelings of opposite sensations, for example, hot and cold.
- Visualization- Repetition of words that you then visualize in your mind.
- Resolve- Return to your original resolve.
- Begin to wake up- Ease back into your body and mind.
Practice can happen any time of the day. If you are high energy, you may not want to practice late at night because it can give an energy boost. I encourage you to play around and see how it makes you feel to find what works best for you. Pick a time that you are comfortable in your body.
Most classes are typically 30 minutes.
Who is this class for?
If you are someone that has difficulty sleeping, or staying asleep, Yoga Nidra may be an effective way to support your body into deeper rest.
Yoga Nidra is also recommended for being with chronic pain, chronic illness, high stress, anxiety, and other body-mind conditions that bring the body into a state of stress or imbalance. With regular practice, Yoga Nidra will bring the body into parasympathetic nervous system activation, which is the state or condition that allows the body to rest, digest, and heal.
The class is virtual, taught via zoom. In all cases, we turn off our cameras, snuggle into PJs, and prepared for a delightfully supportive, restful practice.
This class is accessible to every human being. Join Ashley live on Wednesday nights at 7:45.