Yoga Nidra, also known as yogic sleep, is a deep relaxation where, unlike traditional sleep, you are still fully conscious. Think of it as that stage when you half wake up from a deep sleep and you know you’re still technically asleep, but at the same time you’re aware of your thoughts and mind.
Last night in class I got a brief glimpse of yoga nidra and whoa damn is it freaking amazing. After a 75 minute class, the instructor (the incomparable Alex) had us in savasana with a guided meditation of a body scan. As we dropped down into our bodies I could feel something like a warm static electricity flow through my veins and expand outward. It seeped through my skin and encased me like a fuzzy, warm blanket. I lost all sensation of the floor beneath me, but still felt totally supported. The craziest part was that I was aware of this the entire time: I could feel it all happening and I could watch my thoughts and reactions to each stage as they passed through my mind. I was wholly present and yet detached at the same time.
Needless to say, coming out of that savasana was a huge bummer, but I needed to clean up the studio and couldn’t lay there in the middle of the floor forever. Talk about harshing my yoga buzz!
While I know now that what I experience was a brief stop over into yoga nidra territory, right after class I accused Alex if he was working some “weird reiki mojo” on the class. HAHA! He then clued me into the fact that it was yoga nidra. Thinking back, I’ve experienced it one other time, too.
Googleing “yoga nidra” brought back all kinds of interesting results, including the spiritual connections that both ancient and contemporary yogis make with this state of being. What I found most interesting was all the information about how yoga nidra can help insomnia as well as a host of other health issues. If you have any insomnia issues, this is something to try!
Apparently there are a bunch of CDs, MP3s and books providing guided meditations for achieving yoga nidra. They might be interesting to try. I love Anodea Judith’s Chakra Balancing set, so this might be something to add to the collection. 🙂
How about you? Anyone experienced yoga nidra before? Do you have a meditation practice that incorporates this on a regular basis?