Ancient Art of Yoga Nidra

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Most of us have come to a point in life where our greatest necessity is peace of mind. The half waking and half dreaming state is a potential area for human power.  The practice of yoga nidra or deep relaxation is a tool to unlock the doorway to find peace within and build resilience against stress. We all have this potential, but in our modern world we have lost the point of balance and harmony. It has been said that the greatest threat to our faith and inner peace is distraction.  We live in a world where we are driven to distraction with technology that gives us an unending stream of information that is not only exhausting, but stressful, creating a domino effect on our body that turns on our fight or flight response. This comes in handy when facing a threat of imminent danger. We see a growling dog and run the other way. It’s a built-in response for all living things and helps us out of dangerous situations. In today’s world though, most of us get stuck on stress mode experiencing anxiety and fear to a perceived threat that most times doesn’t exist, perhaps only in our cycling, aggressive minds.  We just don’t know how to turn it off. The practice of yoga nidra or deep relaxation can help.

Yoga nidra means yogic sleep with a trace of awareness and is an ancient technique of relaxing the mind, body and spirit. It’s a process of letting go and being here in the moment. A deep meditation using the body as a focus of awareness. The theory behind yoga nidra is that it works on your energy body, your subtle energy or life force. Our breath contains this energy or “prana” and interestingly enough the word for breath in latin is “spiritus” (spirit). Our spirit at our core can find inner peace. When our body and breath are guided into a calm state we can more easily access this peace.  The practice restores balance and enhances the flow of your energy. Little by little you are guided from the furthest part of the body and taken inward.  Guided to a state between wakefulness and sleep, we open into deeper phases of the mind which has been researched and scientifically proven to reduce anxiety, depression, tension, pain and improve calm, sleep and overall wellbeing.  The body and mind turns off the fight or flight mode and turns on the rest and relaxation mode.  This rest mode is not the same kind achieved through sitting in the lazy boy at home with a glass of wine!  Yoga nidra brings awareness to the physical, mental and energy bodies relaxing and relieving muscular, emotional and mental tensions. The body and mind don’t affect each other, they ARE each other which is why in this practice every part of your being is brought into harmony.

The beautiful thing about this practice is that no experience is necessary! A class usually includes gentle stretching, breath work, as soothing, gentle music guides you into yoga nidra lying or sitting in a comfortable position with a short meditation afterwards.   Come and enjoy this beautiful teaching at Ocean Bliss Yoga at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club this Friday night 7 to 8p.m. Full schedule online.  May you be filled with peace and joy, love and light.

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