MEDITATION & NIDRA
Meditation is often misunderstood as being only for certain people, this is simply not true, meditation is for everyone! The word meditation usually make us think about someone sitting for long periods of time having profound experiences. The truth is meditation can look many different ways. Meditation is simply bringing the mind into single pointed awareness and there are many different ways to find a meditative state. Learning how to have more power over our thoughts and experience is critical in our over stimulated world, plus the mental, emotional and physical benefits are undeniable.
Yoga Nidra is simply a system of deep guided meditation practiced laying down. A practitioner is guided into complete physical relaxation and mental acuity. It is estimated that 45 minutes of Yoga Nidra provides the same restful quality as 3-4 hours of sleep. The Nidra meditation system guides the inner witness through the 5 Koshas (Layers) of our being. Annamaya (Physical Body), Pranamaya (Energetic Body), Manomaya (Mental Body), Vijnanamaya (Astral Body) and Anandamaya (Bliss Body/Oneness). It is through bringing awareness into these layers that we can access the subconscious and unconscious as well as the entire subtle body. It is also where we can begin to create positive change to all levels of our being.
During Yoga Nidra the mind becomes like fertile soil, open to intention and deep desires. This is why we plant a Sankalpa. Sankalpa, is a positive intention/resolve you set for yourself that you want to see manifest in your life. It is where we can accomplish true self evolution. The Sankalpa can take on many forms of expression words, feelings or images so it is important to give plenty of consideration to what Sankalpa may mean to you.
Yoga Nidra and the Benefits for Body and Mind
The alpha, delta and theta waves, or brain states that yoga nidra induces, stimulate the pineal gland in the center of the brain which regulates melatonin. (Melatonin is the body’s natural aid to healing; it is responsible for sleep, lowered stress levels, and boosting the immune system.) These brain states also activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for regulating our automatic long term survival responses such as digestion, breathing and blood pressure. By triggering and learning (through Yoga Nidra) to become aware of the parasympathetic nervous system response, one can begin to develop the ability to direct their mood and their reactions to everyday stressors.
The sympathetic nervous system, which is activated as part of our body’s automatic response to stress, works in opposition to theparasympathetic nervous system. Over-stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system can cause poor sleep, high blood pressure, poor digestion, and in severe cases, adrenal exhaustion – otherwise known as burning out.
In our world we spend so much time doing and going (read: over-stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system) but very little time just allowing ourselves to be (or, activating our parasympathetic nervous system). The art of relaxation is just that: an art. It is a learned (though commonly under-developed), and vital, skill.
Yoga Nidra gives the practitioner an hour dedicated to effective rest, which is healing on all levels, all while strengthening the mind.
What You Will Need
Yoga Nidra is a workout for your mind and subtle energy. You want to bring with you anything that will help you to get into a comfortable state while laying down on the ground.
Below is a list of recommended items…but bring whatever works for you.
- Yoga Mat & Water Bottle (Classes wont always be in a room with carpet so it’s important to bring a yoga mat or something to make the surface under you a little softer)
- Bolster or Pillow (For under your knees. When your knees are elevated in savasana the position causes your blood to pool in your abdomen and this has a calming effect. It will also releave strain in your lower back)
- Pillow (For under your head)
- Blanket (To keep you warm)
- Eye Pillow (If you have a difficult time relaxing the eyes)
- Comfortable Clothing
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