Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra is a form of deep transformational meditation. All that is required of you is to lie down, get comfortable, and listen. You will journey through the five koshas - your physical, energetic, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies - to your deepest, truest self. The goal of this practice is to bring relaxation, healing, and peace to each and every part of you.
Although this practice is known as sleep yoga, the intention is not to fall asleep but rather to arrive at the state of consciousness between awake and asleep. In this state our minds are at their most open and receptive, and our bodies let the parasympathetic nervous system take over so maximum healing and rejuvenation can occur.
I discovered Yoga Nidra during a Bikram Yoga retreat a couple years ago. At the time I thought sleep yoga sounded silly, ridiculous even, and I wasn't all that interested in giving it a try. I prefer a yoga that will kick my butt, bring me to my physical limits, and push me to find new ones. What was the point of a yoga that didn't even involve movement? To say I was skeptical of the practice would be an understatement. But it was included in my package so I grabbed my mat, layed down, and closed my eyes.
When the session was complete, I sat up with an overwhelming sense of clarity. It was as though my "yoga high" from the Bikram session earlier in the day had been tempered and sharpened. I hadn't lost any of it, I simply felt more attuned to myself than ever before. The feeling lasted the rest of the day and I partook in the practice several more times over the course of the week.
One of the tenets of Yoga Nidra is the formation of a Sankalpa, or positive statement of intention. In Sanskrit, Sankalpa is translated as your heart's desire. The idea is you make a statement in the present tense as if it is already happening. My first ever Sankalpa was, "I am ready." On a conscious level I'm sure I didn't know what I wanted to be ready for but after I got home I began making big lasting changes in my life: I stopped drinking alcohol completely after years of being a daily drinker. I left my job in the restaurant business where I had worked since the age of 14. I re-upped on my physical and mental health from every possible angle. While there are many reasons for these changes, I have no doubt that Yoga Nidra played a roll.
Shortly after leaving my job I learned that the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health was offering a Yoga Nidra teacher training and immediately signed up. In April I had the pleasure of attending an in-depth six day intensive that taught me how to guide a successful class, and the science behind how and why it works. I feel so incredibly lucky to have had this experience and I hope to share this amazing practice with as many people as possible.