Sunday, June 2, 2013

Day 10 - Meditation Challenge - Yoga Nidra

This weekend was the grand opening of a beautiful Yoga studio in Brooklyn, NY named Yoga Nidra.  I was so thrilled to come for a weekend trip to participate in this amazing event, especially since the owner is my lovely student Stephanie.  In honor of her wonderful studio, todays tip for meditation is about Yoga Nidra.

Yoga Nidra is basically Yogic Sleep with conscious awareness.  There are a variety of techniques that yoga teachers use to help students come into this deep relaxation, and sometimes students can also opt for audio guided meditations for Yoga Nidra.  In a typical yoga class, nearly everyone's favorite part of class is Savasana, where we lay down on our mats and relax, unfortunately in many classes savasana is over in what seems to be a blink of an eye.  In the practice of Yoga Nidra, it allows the Savanasa fans to truly relax and unwind for an entire session.  In this practice we scan the body with guided imagery, connecting to each part and inviting relaxation with breath.  The soft soothing voice of the instructor or audio guides us to soften each part of our body.  Sometimes tibetan bells or singing bowls aid in this magical experience.

Yoga Nidra is considered conscious awareness and is referred to in the Mandukya Upanishads, sometimes referred to as "prajna".  Some swamis say that this is when the mind is in the middle of wakefulness and dreaming state of sleep.

 Though students lay in Savasana during this guided meditation, it is not uncommon for teachers to use blankets, blocks, bolsters and any other props to allow for the student to be craddled in a comfortable position.  Yoga Nidra is gaining popularity in the west, as people are realizing the benefits of stillness.  This practice is also beneficial for people who find it hard to sit, although the challenge is to maintain the ideal of mindfullness throughout and avoid sleeping.  With this deep relaxation, students are guided to connect with their bodies, the koshas, chakras, with conscious awareness of the sensations as they travel with the breath throughout the body.  This allows students to release stress and find a sacred connection with their body.

Soon there will be a guided meditation audio for Yoga Nidra on my Youtube Channel.  For those of you in New York, I highly recommend heading to Stephanie's beautiful Yoga Studio, Yoga Nidra.  The energy in her studio is amazing, she is dedicated to bringing you a beautiful experience, and depending on the weather you may be lucky enough to have class on her outside back porch/garden area.  Wish you all a beautiful experience in your journey with Yoga. Namaste

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