A Word On Yoga Nidra
How Yoga Nidra Saved My Life
“During the practice of yoga nidra, one appears to be asleep, but the consciousness is functioning at a deeper level of awareness. For this reason, yoga nidra is often referred to as psychic sleep or deep relaxation with inner awareness.” – Swāmī Satyānanda
Way back in the day, before I ever stepped into a yoga studio, I bought this DVD that looked sort of promising. I clearly remember rolling out my mat in my bedroom, popping the DVD in and listening to the entire recording. I promptly put it back in it’s sleeve, placed it on a shelf, never to be seen or heard again… in THAT form!
Ten years later, I found myself in an entirely different life chapter, having lived through the hell of a relapse and coming out the other side.
I decided to take a weekend training, “Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans with PTSD“, with Suzanne Manafort. Long story short, I felt a kismet with veterans of a war.
At the end of the first day, surrounded by some super great teachers, Suzanne said that we were now going to practice Yoga Nidra and all of them were almost enraptured with this idea. And I thought, what the hell have I been missing. Well, after coming out of this, I knew that this was the key to all of my anxiety, a cure to my insomnia.
Hence began my practice of Yoga Nidra. Instead of waking up pissed off in the middle of the night, I began to study, journal, study some more and read. At around 4:00am, I would get my blanket and headphones and play the SAME Yoga Nidra that I had put on that shelf all those years ago. And lo and behold, something began to shift. Like an earthquake.
At first, I would fall into a deep sleep. Ok, my body needed rest. But, after about 10 sessions, I was able to stay awake for the full hour. The absolute scariest part was when I was told that the “voice” would not be heard from for 10 minutes – TEN MINUTES. I was being abandoned, completely open to nothing, just there with only myself? TERRIFIED. And then, complete calm. It was okay. Before I knew it, the “voice” was back and I was still whole. And I knew, right then and there, that I had made it – alone, yet not alone – and I was okay! Realization – I was okay alone because I was never alone.
My inner-consciousness began to heal and I practiced Yoga Nidra every single day for a year. Within the first 3 months, my students began to notice. Jonny Kest came up to me up to me after a particularly grueling class, cocked his head, and said, “what’s up with you? Have you had some sort of ‘spiritual experience?'” – I laughed and said “Yoga Nidra” – to the Vipassana nut of all time.
My yoga asana practice intensified – flying into handstands, arm balances, twists. All sorts of asanas I never dreamed of trying.
I began to let go of so many desires, wants and have-to-haves. Village Yoga began to fill with new students, new energy. Light-bulb – quit grasping and all will appear.
Now, when anxiety or stress begins creeping in, I practice Yoga Nidra. Tired? Yoga Nidra. ANGRY? YOGA NIDRA.
If your teacher EVER mentions Yoga Nidra, don’t groan and moan! Say, “YES” and let it all come to you. It will. Promise.