This month’s Heatwise Explores is brought to us by Heatwise instructor, Libby Nicholaou. A devoted yoga nidra practitioner and student, Libby offers insight into this practice of deep relaxation and invites you to join her at her monthly yoga nidra workshops.
It was June of 2020 and I signed up for a five-day online Deep Relaxation course with Tracee Stanley. I just graduated from a Tantra Meditation training with Tracee and was eager to continue learning with her. The Deep Relaxation course included five yoga nidra practices with themes that focused on different aspects of awareness. At the end of each practice, she provided writing reflection prompts.
The practices were beautiful, like nothing I had experienced before. I found myself entering into magical dream states and going to a deep inward place of consciousness. Memories and new experiences flashed through my consciousness. Meanwhile my physical body was relaxed, completely supported by props.
Two weeks later Tracee hosted a free live Q&A session with the people who completed the course. It was incredible to hear her talk more about the practices and learn from the insights she shared. Afterwards, I felt a passionate desire to share the practices of yoga nidra with my community. After that I signed up for her yoga nidra training and have been practicing nidra almost every day since then.
What is yoga nidra?
In the article ‘YOGANIDRĀ An Understanding of the History and Context,’ Jason Birch and Jacqueline Hargreaves share Swāmī Satyānanda's description of the practice.
During the practice of yoga nidra, one appears to be asleep, but the consciousness is functioning at a deeper level of awareness. For this reason, yoga nidra is often referred to as psychic sleep or deep relaxation with inner awareness.
Birch and Hargreaves explain how humans have four states of being: waking, dreaming, deep sleep, and turiya. Turiya is the fourth state, beyond all of the first three - beyond the mundane world. Yoga nidra can lead to experiencing this fourth state.
When you practice yoga nidra you are guided through a practice of deep relaxation. The body is fully supported by props and held by the earth. The mind is given permission to fall asleep and the consciousness is invited to be present. The need to do, is released and you become a witness of your experience.
Yoga nidra often leads to creativity, increased ability to find solutions to life’s challenges, insights about who you are, and ease of being. If practiced regularly, yoga nidra can be life changing.
I do my best to practice yoga nidra daily, so the practice can live within me. This way, I am not only teaching what I learned from my teachers but also what the practice itself has taught me. You can experience the benefits of yoga nidra by joining me at an upcoming workshop at Heatwise.