My mind has been overactive these past few months. Shifting into fall from summer play, outdoor activities, packing lunches, toddler nap times, nursing baby, etc. seems a bit jarring, especially since my 4 year old started full day preschool, my 7 month old is becoming more awake everyday and I started working part-time. I haven’t worked since February when I was biking around the city teaching yoga classes. Here’s the thing – when you’re with children and babies most of the day, they require your presence; and the same is true for teaching yoga classes. If you’re not grounded and present in the classroom, most likely your class will suck. So I am currently moving through a brain shift – working at a computer from home while simultaneously trying to manage the household, drop off/pick up Nico from school, take care of my perfect little baby (and of course practice yoga because I don’t know how to live without it). All of this has my mind reeling. I am mentally stimulated, inspired and learning, but I’m having a hard time TURNING OFF.
The reality is that we are really busy. The yoga practices are reminders to slow down and travel from the mind, and all it’s mental heavy lifting, to the heart – to remember that the body is finite, the Self is infinite and everything we experience is for growth and learning. These practices are the most precious gifts, especially as we learn to tune in and use them to support immediate needs. I tend to make time and space for asana, pranayama, and meditation, but I rarely prioritize relaxation unless I absolutely need it. Lately, I’ve even been skimping on savasana because I am so desperate for time to move my body that the window closes (i.e. Sascha wakes up from his nap) before I am able to practice a long savasana. THIS IS NOT GOOD FOR ME. My body suffers and I don’t get the recharge that I so desperately need. Most days, I would most benefit more from a 20-40 minute Yoga Nidra than 1+ hour of asana. So, let me tell you about the magic that is Yoga Nidra…
Yoga Nidra, or psychic sleep, is a guided meditation while laying in savasana, releasing one body part at a time until the entire body is relaxed. My teacher Sri Dharma uses the example that the body is like a computer – from time to time you must close the apps to clear away the clutter so that the computer can function at it’s highest capacity. There are many different styles of Yoga Nidra meditation – some are more wordy and some will take you far out. I prefer a simpler version. Sri Dharma leads a very simple Yoga Nidra that results in total relaxation so that deep healing may occur. He also guides you through beautiful visualizations that stimulate the higher chakras. With regular practice of Yoga Nidra, you may lose body consciousness which allows for an expansive experience.
Yoga Nidra is a technique that not only facilitates the deepest relaxation for the nervous system and all of the muscular and connective tissues, but it also integrates all of the techniques that prepare you for the higher practices and limbs of yoga. The seemingly mystical experiences that may occur during Yoga Nidra aside, the practice will most likely leave you feeling recharged and refreshed in body and mind.
Because we are so busy and our minds constantly turned on, finding time to find deeeeeeep relaxation is essential. Sri Dharma says, 1 hour of Yoga Nidra is comparable to 4 hours of sleep. Totally worth it.
(1) Go to a class! We offer Yoga Nidra classes! Wednesdays @ 7:30-8:30 pm, Thursdays @ 1:00-2:00 pm (this is a cOmmunity by donation class!) and on Saturdays @ 6:10-7:00 pm.
(2) There is no shortage of free guided Yoga Nidra audio on the internet, but I recommend spending a few dollars on a quality recording that you will use over and over again. I, of course, recommend Sri Dharma’s Yoga Nidra. And here’s a good iPhone app!
Deep relaxation reminds us that we are supported. By the Earth, by our loved ones, and by our highest Self. I highly recommend taking time from your busy life to slow down and go deep. I promise to continue to remind myself that I, too, need to relax. Give it a try!