Yoga nidra means yoga sleep and, woah - is this a powerful and effective practice. Pictured is my teacher Rod Stryker's version of this practice of deep relaxation.
Yoga nidra is sleep with a sense of consciousness. I've certainly passed out and snored my way through yoga nidra practices, for sure, but this is best practiced with out falling asleep. 30 minutes of yoga nidra is like getting 2 hours of sleep, and, believe me, I use yoga nidra instead of napping often to not only deeply rest, but to work on my sankalpa, my resolution.
So, how do you practice this magical relaxation practice and what's up with the resolution hub bub, you may wonder? Well, practicing is easy peasy - you lay on your back, hit the play button on your preferred media player and give your self permission to relax. I even bought an acupuncture-style pad to practice yoga nidra on to get some extra mojo going. By mojo, I mean prana - life force, chi, breathe, energy. You know...get your mojo rising! (I don't recommend using the bed of nails pad like I am unless you're used to doing yoga nidra often. You can relax so deeply that your body may feel uncomfortable on the pad, defeating the purpose of yoga nidra.)
The sankalpa, the resolution, is a super important part of this practice. When you're in the process of deeply relaxing, you cultivate the feeling of gratitude and in this fertile soil, plant the seed of your sankalpa or focused intention. This is a positive goal towards your health and well being that you want to achieve in the next 6 months. For example, three years ago, my previous sankalpa was to attract 10 students to every yoga class. I was still anxious about teaching to as many people as I could so I would have better job security, more income, and feel like I was getting the yoga message really out there.
The sankalpa eventually worked to where the classes where I had lower attendance (the 7AM gym classes) started to be populated by the coolest group of yogis around and there are often 10 or more students in these classes. Another great result was that by seeding my sankalpa while deeply relaxing, the anxiety I had around it started to fade. Sure, it's fun to have a full class but this is not as important to me. I'm now more focused on teaching a better quality class to any number of students. The sankalpa and yoga nidra worked for me in many great ways.
Yoga nidra, yoga nidra, yoga nidra. Do this as often as you can, at least twice a week, to deeply relax, set and fulfill your sankulpa, and to replenish your vitality.
Mia Park is a ParaYoga teacher in Chicago, IL, specializing in teaching Basic Yoga for Advanced Misfits, as well as teaching people how to cut through the junk to shine on.