This post explains what yoga nidra is, how to do yoga nidra, and why we use it in the Survival Fitness Plan. It also provides some yoga nidra resources. Yoga Nidra is a form of guided meditation which has many health benefits. You can guide yourself through yoga nidra but the easiest way to do it is to listen to a yoga nidra practice. You only need to do what the instructor says.
Yoga Nidra is in the Survival Fitness Plan because it is easy to do, especially for beginners. For those of you that use other forms of mediation that you enjoy then feel free to stick to them. The main thing is the meditation.
The information in this post is from the book “Curing Yoga” by Aventuras De Viaje.
How to do Yoga Nidra
It is good to do AT LEAST ten minutes of yoga nidra immediately following the yoga stretch routine.
Find a place where your body can be comfortable and you can practice undisturbed. Not too hot or cold. Put on some soothing background music if you want.
It is best not to do yoga nidra in bed because you will be more likely to fall asleep. A yoga mat on the floor is ideal.
Yoga nidra is a conscious practice.
Lie in Corpse Pose
Corpse pose, a.k.a. shavasana, is a yoga pose used at the end of almost every yoga practice. Going straight from your yoga practice to yoga nidra is ideal.
You can also do yoga nidra from a seated position if lying down is inappropriate.
Close your eyes.
Notice your Breath
Notice your breathing. Feel your lungs filling with air, your stomach expanding, and then deflating.
Imagine a light around your body expanding and contracting as you breathe in and out.
Feel the energy coursing through your body.
Use Your Senses
Notice each of your senses, one by one.
What sounds do you hear? Near, far, inside, outside.
What smells can you smell? Take small sniffs, like a dog does.
Taste the air.
Feel your body supported on the floor. Which parts of your body are touching?
What can you see with your eyes closed? Does the light make shapes in your eyelids?
Repeat Your Mantra
Your mantra is a short sentence stating your intentions. It’s kind of like an affirmation. It may be a broad statement such as overall health or relaxation. It could also be a visualization of something you want to achieve.
Whatever it is, repeat it mentally three times. Try to feel how it feels as if it was true.
One I use often is “My entire being is completely relaxed and at one with the universe.”
Scan Your Body
This is where you consciously relax each part of your body.
Mentally go through your body. Bring your attention to and relax each part. You can be very detailed about this or only do large areas. It depends on how long you want to spend.
I start from the top of my head and work my way down. Sometimes I even do internal organs.
After you have relaxed smaller body parts relax them as a whole. For example, shoulder, upper arm, bicep, elbow, forearm, hand, fingers, relax the whole arm.
At the end relax the whole body as one.
Awaken the Body
The last step is to deepen your breath and start to move your fingers and toes, then your hands and feet.
In your own time stretch your body out in whatever way feels right. Open your eyes when you are ready.
When you finish stretching, gently hug your knees. It is wind relieving pose. Fall to your right side and then gently sit up.
Take a moment to reflect on the practice and then go about your day.
Yoga Nidra Playlist
Here’s a playlist of the three ten minute videos which I use to do my daily yoga nidra.
Note: Ten minutes is very short for Yoga Nidra. None of these ten-minute yoga nidra practices go through all the steps above. If you can spare the extra time, download some very good yoga nidra practices for free at YogaNidraNetwork.org/downloads. There are also some shorter ones which I use in the mornings.
Photo Credit: Teakwood via Flickr.com.
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