The sun’s rays shone on the bamboo floor but the lights were dim so it didn’t feel like the middle of the day. There was a lingering air of peace and comforting energy from the community that shared the space. Across from me, my gaze was met by a hand painted Buddha that adorned the wall. I was surprised at how quickly our class had been progressing. When our instructor guided us to savasana I thought “There’s no way class is almost over.” I settled in to rest and was soothed into a deep sleep by her pleasant voice…

Bring awareness to your right thumb.

I found Yoga Nidra by coincidence at just the right time in my life. I worked a deadline driven job with a boss whose perfectionist expectations were as high as my own. I wanted to succeed and prove myself but I was burnt out. My regular yoga practice opened up my world. I’d snuck away for a lunch hour class expecting a quick break and stumbled upon what would become one of my favorite forms of meditation.

I fully admit that I fell asleep during that first 20 minute session, and many sessions thereafter.  That doesn’t negate the value though. It’s been said that 20 minutes in Nidra, or Yogi Sleep, packs the same benefits as an hour of deep sleep. The practice systematically guides through a rotation of consciousness, bringing energy and attention to each part of the body. There’s not enough time to judge the body part, just enough time to acknowledge and move to the next. While the body settles into deep relaxation, the mind does as well. Yoga Nidra activated delta and theta brainwaves are the same as the brainwaves activated in deep sleep and dream state. If you stay awake and aware during the process you can delve into your subconscious, practicing visualization to enhance creativity, connect with universal energy and manifest dreams. Laying on the mat, the body is refreshed and reminded what full rest feels like, priming for great sleep for nights to come. 

I can fully attest to the sleep related benefits. They extend past the sometimes brief naps in class. I’ve turned to Yoga Nidra for a refresh between teaching at 6 am and hitting the office at 8. I’ve used it to help restore while learning how to mother a hungry nursling who woke every hour and a half for months.  It has been like finding a secret formula to bring deep relaxation and regeneration.

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