Anyone who has been in Nicola’s Thursday evening hot yoga class will remember that “asana is only one of the eight limbs of yoga”.
Yoga Nidra, known as “yogic sleep” is an ancient practice that promotes full body relaxation and a deep meditative state of consciousness. Generally, it is a voice-guided meditation led by an experienced teacher, with the practitioner lying in savasana or sitting in a completely relaxed position. It is a form of the fifth limb, pratyahara, or the withdrawal of the senses.
Your brain in yoga nidra
Our brain cells communicate by sending tiny electric impulses to each other. Hence, brain activity can be measured by the frequency of the electrical patterns, also known as brainwaves.
Beta wave brain function is dominant during normal waking consciousness, logical thought and reasoning. Alpha waves are the deep relaxation waves, most predominantly experienced when we’re about to fall sleep. Theta waves are present during deep meditation or light sleep, experienced only momentarily just as you drift off.
When experiencing theta frequencies, you are fully aware, completely relaxed in the body yet alert in the mind. This is why yoga nidra is a form of pratyahara, a conscious, temporary detachment from the physical being. The tricky bit is, of course, to keep from nodding off completely!
The imagination is a powerful resource to tap into, and in this state, the brain is highly creative and receptive to insights – your subconscious is fired up and ready to go! Any past hurts or worries deeply buried in the subconscious can be healed and released. Of course, the subconscious is a dark place and sometimes difficult things can arise – which is why yoga nidra should always be practiced under the guidance of an experienced teacher.
Nicola always ends her class on Thursdays with a vivid visualization practice. Quite aside from being a nice little story to listen to, it is in fact a yoga nidra – an exploration of the subconscious mind, leading you inwards to a more profound experience of restful peace.
Hot Yoga Meditation is on every Thursday, 8-9pm. Book HERE.