Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Sleep Deep
I’m sleeping better with Yoga Nidra, but what the hell is it? Internets say it’s “a deep relaxation technique also called ‘yogic sleep’ in which mind and body is at complete rest but with complete awareness.” Or, “a state of consciousness in which the yogi is in direct communion with the Divine energy, that may be understood as Dharma, pervading the whole phenomenal Universe and beyond.” Or, my favorite, “the slumbering unity.”
The practice as I first experienced it was here in St. Pete at Living Room Yoga. At the end of class, while we lay quietly in Savasana, the instructor began talking and kept talking, and talking. I was skeptical as she first had us visualize our breath as it traveled through many points on our bodies. How do you breathe into your toes? I thought. There are no little lungs in your toes. Things didn’t improve when she had us imagine walking through a lush green forest, serenaded by a cacophony of birds. However, at some point between stumbling upon a cottage and opening a golden door to find someone special inside who had something important to tell me, I was fully on board. I don’t know how it happened, or how I remained vaguely conscious through it, but someone did tell me something! I can’t remember what this important missive was, but I left class that day feeling like something cool had happened.
Since then I’ve taken Yoga Nidra from several teachers, and I haven’t been able to stay awake through any of them. I’ve also purchased a number of Yoga Nidra mp3s, taken a course on teaching Yoga Nidra, and even led it once or twice. But the most useful thing I’ve found is this CD by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati (a.k.a. “Swami J”) which absolutely knocks me out.
The Slumbering Unity
The goal of Yoga Nidra isn’t to fall dead asleep, but it sure has been working for me for that purpose.
Yoga Nidra Meditation: Extreme Relaxation of Conscious Deep Sleep
The reviews are worth reading, especially this one:
I was uncomfortable with the usage of the words “breast”, “right breast”, “left breast”, and “space between the breasts.”. The word “chest” has no sexual connotation and would have been more neutral and appropriate. I also do not enjoy the long pauses (For example, at one point he announces there will be silence for the next 10 minutes.)
Heehee. It’s a 5-part practice, but we usually start with Lesson 4 or 5 and I’m out cold halfway through. I find that I wake up fewer times during the night, can go back to sleep faster, and sleep more deeply.