Yoga Nidra, Sunday, April 21st, 2024
When: Sunday, April 21st, 7:00-7:45
Where: M3 Gallery, located right across the street form The Pearl!
So, flowing and holding poses in a heated room isn’t your thing. Fair enough.
Did you know that there’s a style of yoga that just involves relaxing on a mat, blanket or even your bed?
And the best part about this style of yoga is that a 45-minute session could leave you feeling like you indulged in a peaceful three-hour nap. It is intentionally late for you to float home and sink straight into rest.
Yoga Nidra literally means "yogic sleep". It is an ancient meditation technique where practitioners enter a deeper state of conscious relaxation, moving awareness from the external world to the internal. Yoga Nidra is a research-based transformative practice of deep relaxation and meditative inquiry that releases negative emotions and thought patterns, calms the nervous system, develops a deep capacity to meet any and all circumstances you may encounter in life. This practice has also been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and chemical dependency.
How yoga nidra differs from meditation
Yoga nidra involves slowing down and chilling out. So does meditation. While some people tend to lump them together, they really are two different practices. With yoga nidra, you are lying down and the goal is to move into a deep state of conscious awareness sleep, but not actually falling asleep. This state involves moving from consciousness while awake to dreaming and then to not-dreaming while remaining awake — going past the unconscious to the conscious. You do this while moving through a very structured guided meditation practice.
With meditation, it is possible to get to the theta state, you’re sitting and in a waking state of consciousness while focusing the mind and allowing thoughts to come and go. Meditation is the state we go through to get to the delta state, the state of Yoga Nidra, which is the place of the deepest sleep cycle. The delta state is a deep healing state where the body and mind rest and the consciousness is awake.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra:
Yoga Nidra works with the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system regulates processes of the body that take place without a conscious effort (heartbeat, breathing, digestion and blood flow). This system also includes the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
We do a meditation practice to basically calm the sympathetic, or fight-or-flight and activate the parasympathetic more. There’s such a benefit when those are balanced overall for immunity, digestion and stress management. Yoga Nidras is a deeper relaxation, the pineal gland is activated and that releases the hormone melatonin.
A recent study showed that while meditation and yoga nidra were both effective in reducing anxiety and stress, yoga nidra seemed to be more effective in reducing anxiety. The study also suggested that yoga nidra can be a useful tool in reducing both cognitive and physiological symptoms of anxiety.
10 steps of a Yoga Nidra practice
These are the 10 States of a Yoga Nidras Practice as outlined by Richard Miller in his “10 Stages of Yoga Nidra.”
- Connect to your heart’s deepest desire. Focus on a lifelong goal or something that relates to your health. Visualize reaching this goal and feel the joy that comes with accomplishing it.
- Set an intention. Think about why you’re practicing — to get centered, to put some self-care on the schedule — whatever the reason, keep it at the forefront of the yoga nidra practice.
- Find your inner resource. This involves tapping into a safe space within the body so you can feel secure and at ease while you practice.
- Scan your body. During a body scan, you’ll be asked to focus on certain parts or sensations throughout the body. The goal of this is to help reduce tension so you can relax.
- Become aware of your breath. Pay attention to how air is flowing in and out of your body. Take note of how it comes in your nostrils and how your abdomen rises and falls. This can help you slow down and breathe evenly.
- Welcome your feelings. If you had a rough day, embrace it. You don’t have to ignore the tough stuff, but in recognizing it, you can also think about the opposite of whatever emotion you’re feeling to balance things out.
- Witness your thoughts. Similar to step six, you want to observe your thoughts in the moment without judging or trying to block them out. Should any negative thoughts about yourself surface, think about the positive side of things to ease tension.
- Experience joy. If you start to feel blissed out, embrace it and let it wrap around your body.
- Observe your “self.” Be aware of your personality and how you might be feeling. In other words, your sense of “I-ness.” Then, consider yourself an observing witness. This will help you wake up more aware and in tune with your feelings.
- Reflect on your practice. When you finish, think about how you feel and what you were able to tap into during your session. Then, think about how you can bring the peace or joy you might be feeling into daily life whether times are good or bad. Don’t rush out of your practice. Take a few minutes to transition back into the waking state of life.
Bring warm comfortable clothing in layers, a blanket, pillow and yoga mat.
Ashley Adams has been practicing yoga for over 20 years and has been a yoga teacher since 2015. She currently is a Reiki practitioner, Wild Woman Project Facilitator and holds her 200 hour RYT from Yoga-Fit with a focus on alignment, breath, and mantra based meditation. Ashley also offers personalized retreats for connecting with nature, women’s groups, solo experiences and self-care in Door County.
Ashley is excited to offer her yogic experiences to the Door County community including yoga, forest bathing, yoga nidra (yogic sleep), guided meditation, and retreats. Visit her website adoorwithin.com for more information.