The following are my notes from a Yoga Nidra Full Day Immersion Program at the 2019 Wanderlust Festival in Whister, BC with instructor Tracee Stanley.
Yoga Nidra is often mistakenly known as the “Yoga of Sleep”. The primary goal of Yoga Nidra is not to sleep!
The objective of Yoga Nidra is to enter deep states of consciousness while remaining consciously aware. During these states, we can get in touch with deeper parts of ourselves, set intentions, create manifestations, reduce stress, re-energize, ask questions, and receive answers.
Of course, not everything we did in the Yoga Nidra program is included here in this article. For more info, please check out Tracee’s website at https://traceeyoga.com/
4 States Of Consciousness
- Waking State
- Dreaming State
- Deep Sleep State
- Turiya or Pure Consciousness
It is the Turiya state of consciousness that interests us most in Yoga Nidra.
Yoga Nidra Meditation Techniques
Practice these techniques to reach “Turiya” – a semi-awakened state of consciousness:
- Tense, hold, and release body parts one by one, starting with head and ending with feet. Then tense and release the whole body
- Alternate nostril breathing (mental or using fingers)
- Feel heavier and heavier at the points where your body touches the Earth
- Channel breath and energy from 12 inches above head down through spine (optional: down through the Earth)
- Chakra clearing – breathe in through root out through crown, in through sacral chakra, out through crown, in through solar plexus, out through crown, in through heart, out through crown, in through throat out through crown, in through third eye, out through crown, in and out through crown
- 61 Point Deep Relaxation Technique – bring Prana through these points using breath
The Journey Of Life
- The journey of life starts with a clear windshield
- Then it fills with experiences (bugs) which remain as imprints (Samskara)
- When we try to clean our experiences from the windshield, they are often “smeared” and become Vasana, which clouds our judgement.
- These are the scars of life
- Vasanas impede our clarity. We are no longer able to see clearly and often end up going in circles
- Solution is to apply a positive imprint over top of our Vasanas
- Coping mechanism is often Vikalpa, which are illusions or fantasies that lead us in the wrong direction
- Ask yourself, what is the “payoff” for letting your negative theme perpetuate?
Yoga Nidra Exercise #1: Meet Your Past Self
Do a deep breathing meditation for several minutes using one or more of the techniques listed above.
Now, recall a time in your life when you were thriving.
- What were you doing?
- What was it like?
- Notice any themes that come up while recalling this time in your life.
- What is the resistance or fear preventing you from thriving now?
- What part of your life are you “forgetful” of or asleep towards?
Yoga Nidra Exercise #2: Meet Your Present Self
Do a deep breathing meditation for several minutes.
Now ask, what are the three lessons you are tired of learning?
Notice which parts of your life you keep making the same mistake over and over again. These are your Vasanas.
Yoga Nidra Exercise #3 – Meet Your Future Self
Imagine, you are 90 years old and still in great health. A close friend or relative is going to give a speech to a large group about YOU.
He or she is going to discuss your accomplishments, positive traits, and events you would be proud of. What will he or she say? Write this down.
Yoga Nidra Exercise #4: Create a Sankalpa
- Sankalpa is a solemn vow, determination, or will to replace Vasana
- A heartfelt desire
- Dharma – your life purpose or mission
Ask yourself, who would you be if you were your 100% powerful self?
- Emphasize moving through resistance points
- Emphasize consistency
Tools For Yoga Nidra
40 Day Mind Map
Create a new map each day for 40 days with the following 5 components:
- What is your basic feeling when you first wake up?
- If all good, then great, if not all good, add appropriate items to To Do list
- To Do
- A list of what needs to be done, in consideration of your goal
- Consider delegating tasks, asking for help
- One short term, one longer term
- List resistance points
- Add solutions to do list
- What is your intuition telling you?
- Does your map align with your ethical compass?
40 Days Of Fearless Action
Be completely fearless for 40 days!
40 Days Of Yoga Nidra
- NOT a practice for falling asleep before bed
- Best done first thing in the morning as you are waking up
- Try the 61 point clearing technique
- Do a mind map each day
- Consider an afternoon session to recharge
- Often you will need less sleep
- Background music is not recommended
Yoga Nidra Resources
- 4 Desires by Rod Striker
- Tracee Stanley at https://traceeyoga.com/
- Waking The Tiger by Peter Levine
- I Rest by Richard Miller