Practicalities: How to Practice Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is most beneficial as a regular practice done every day or second day. Any time of the day is a good time to do Yoga Nidra except right after a meal. Wait one and a half hours or so to respect the digestive process. A practice time of 15-45 minutes is all that is required. Practice in a quiet place where there will be no interruptions - unplug the phone and turn off cellular phones. A sign on the door "In Practice" or "In Silence" - works well to remind others of our sacred times.
Yoga Nidra can be done in Savasana pose on the back, or in side laying position for pregnancy, snoring, or a cough. It can also be practiced seated as for meditation.
It is best to practice on the floor on a mat or blanket, rather than on a bed or couch, where the state of sleeping lingers. Make sure the body feels supported, comfortable and warm.
Place a cushion under the knees to help the low back, lumbar spine, feel more supported and comfortable. A towel may be folded to 1 or 2" high under the head, rather than a pillow, for proper alignment of the neck, cervical spine.
Use an eye pillow if you like and cover with a blanket as the body drops a few degrees when we relax or lie down.
Who Can Practice Yoga Nidra
Everyone can practice Yoga Nidra regardless of age, state of health, culture, heritage, or religion. It is devoid of religious content. Modifications are needed for those suffering from psychological conditions, especially if medication is being used.
Stillness and Falling Asleep
Stillness is an important aim during Yoga Nidra. When we keep the body still, our 'witness consciousness' is able to observe the deeper layers of being such as the physical body, breath, and manifestations of the prana body. If we fidget or move then we may be reacting, not observing. Sometimes we do need to move; then we do so slowly and minfully.
Setting the intention to 'stay awake and alert during Yoga Nidra' can assist us in doing just that. Although sleep may happen at times, our view of Yoga Nidra is that it is transformational and powerful yoga practice. It is not wrong to fall asleep; this may be what the body genuinely needs. There are techniques to help a person remain awake, such as assuming a seated posture without back support, keeping the eyes open, or while laying on back in Savasana, keep elbow bent and one hand raised in the air.
Yoga Nidra is foolproof! It cannot be done wrong
The instructions are simple: with eyes closed, relax the body and listen. There is nowhere to go and nothing to do, except to stay attentive in an easy way without mental struggle. There is no need to worry or become agitated if you do not hear everything that is guided. Its natural to flow in and out of conscious hearing, and in fact it is most common among practitioners.
Enjoy the journey -- this is a time for YOU!
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