By Lynda Shadbolt
Published Dec. 4, 2018
If you talk to any yogi, they will tell you that one of their favourite parts of the practice is “yoga nidra.” Yoga nidra can be practised at the end of a regular yoga class, or it can be done on its own any time of the day. It is a practice of deep rest for the body and mind.
The instructor guides the yogi on a journey into the interior of their body to connect with the vast inner world that exists below the layer of the skin.
There are many formats that an instructor can use. Typically the practice begins with a guided relaxation lasting five to 10 minutes that guides the yogi to relax everything from the bones to the muscles to the organs.
I recently had an instructor say to the class that they need to allow the bones to drop.
“The bones hold the vitality, the deep life force, the marrow, the qi/prana in Chinese medicine. When your bones drop the deepest reserve of life force begins to settle and rest.”
I really love these positive, encouraging images and information. Who doesn’t need time for our deepest life force to rest and settle during the Christmas season? I think we all do.
Once the yogi is totally relaxed and settled, the instructor may encourage the yogi to think of a “sankalpa.” This is an intention.
The yogi connects with his/her heart’s deepest desire and states it three times as if it was already true. For example, “I move through my day with ease and joy.”
I currently have a frozen shoulder. When I do my yoga nidra practice, I state my sankalpa so that my thoughts and emotions are pointed in the same positive direction towards the shoulder. I visualize my shoulder moving easily with its full range of motion as I say to myself, “My shoulder is strong and moves with ease and freedom”.
The yogis say it is important to not judge the frozen shoulder. It is just one of the many possibilities that a human being can experience. In other words: be kind and accepting. Feel the joy you will have when the shoulder has healed. Let that energy move through your body every day.
When stating the sankalpa it is as if the yogi is talking to the body from the heart and the mind and believing that the body has its own ability to heal and get strong. So even though I can’t do sun salutations right now in my practice, when I do my own yoga nidra at the end of each day I visualize my body moving with ease and strength and flexibility as I quietly state my positively worded sankalpa. There are many online free guided yoga nidras and one site that I found offers a practice that focuses on helping you get to sleep: https://www.doyogawithme.com/content/yoga-nidra-sleep.
As we move through Christmas and New Year’s celebrations you can use yoga nidra and/or a sankalpa or positive affirmation throughout your day. You literally talk your cells positively through the shopping, the cooking, the hosting and the sleeping. I say it’s worth a try. It’s simple and you might just find it really helps.