DAY TWO: BEDTIME PRACTICE (20 MIN)
This gentle, seated and supine practice releases tension in the entire body so that you can feel relaxed and ready for bed. This day also comes with a guided yoga nidra practice for insomnia. You might fall asleep before this is over, so make sure that you're completely ready for bed before you begin!
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about yoga nidra
Yoga Nidra means "yogic sleep" with one hour of Yoga Nidra being the equivalent of four hours of regular sleep. It is a systematic relaxation technique that brings you into a state of consciousness where you are floating midway between waking and sleeping. This allows the subconscious and conscious mind to integrate. This integration can be profoundly healing for mind, body and spirit.
Yoga Nidra always begins with physical relaxation. Directing the awareness into various parts of the body opens energetic and neural pathways. It balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain, reestablishing equilibrium in mind and body. Relaxing the body relaxes the mind.
Although it shares some similarities with hypnosis, Yoga Nidra is not hypnosis. In hypnosis, the subject is guided into deep sleep states, but in Yoga Nidra, the practitioner is instructed to remain mentally alert and awake. This suspends the practitioner in the state of consciousness where we experience theta brain waves, which can be deeply healing for the mind and body.
Although you will hear me guiding you through Yoga Nidra, you remain in complete control of your entire experience. If you do fall asleep during Yoga Nidra, that's okay. Your subconscious mind will still receive the instructions, and you will still benefit from the practice. Unlike most meditation techniques, Yoga Nidra does not require concentration. In fact, concentration is discouraged! Instead you are encouraged to relax your mind and allow your thoughts to run free as you listen to my voice. This allows you to release any internal resistance so that you can completely relax. Keeping the mind relaxed in this way will actually help you to remain awake during the practice. Even if your mind does wander, your subconscious mind will still receive the instructions.
Yoga Nidra is a cleansing practice for mind, body and spirit. Not only does it balance the physical body, but it also allows us to reprogram our minds to release samskaras (old patterns) and manifest our desires. Many people notice the benefits of Yoga Nidra immediately!
As with any cleansing program, Yoga Nidra can come with some "detox" symptoms. Don't be alarmed if you begin to experience more vivid dreams after practicing Yoga Nidra. This is normal as your conscious mind learns to interact with the subconscious. You may also notice old emotions or memories bubbling to the surface so that they may be released. This all can be a normal part of the healing process. Take it slow, be present with yourself, and honor your experience with an open mind.
During sleep, we are essentially creating an opportunity to disconnect from the physical realm and to connect with the spiritual realm. The lower aspect of human consciousness integrates with the higher self when we sleep. According to spiritual teachers, insomnia occurs because our lower aspect of human consciousness is not in alignment with the higher self. The two aspects of self are not resonating at compatible vibrations. When this happens, sleep will be difficult to come by. Yoga Nidra allows the different aspects of our consciousness to become integrated, so that we are in alignment with the higher self. This allows us to experience deep, restorative sleep.
If that sounds like a bunch of hooey to you, think about it in a more physical sense. If the mind and body aren’t relaxed, if we are in a state of agitation or hyperarousal, we aren’t going to be able to sleep. Yoga Nidra provides the relaxation that sleep requires.
Yoga Nidra is meant to be a spontaneous practice. Your experience of Yoga Nidra is unique to you, unique to this moment. You don’t need to worry about doing it “right.” Even if you are feeling anxious or restless during your practice, that’s okay. Allow whatever sensations that arise during your practice to resonate within you. Do your best to observe them without judgment and without attachment to any certain outcome. Everything is as it should be.