Often, when I tell people that I teach yoga nidra I get one of two responses. I either have people say yoga nee-what?! Or they burst into a smile and instantly start telling me how much they love yoga nidra and start recalling just how powerful the practice has been for them. Yoga nidra is one of the oldest forms of yoga that exists, but it is also one of the less common styles that are taught. I have found that with a growing interest in non-physical forms of yoga that there are not enough teachers, or trainings for that matter, to teach students how to share this transformational practice and lead classes that are not asana based.
Yoga nidra means “yogic sleep” or “conscious sleep” and is a way to get your body, mind, and emotional body to be at it’s deepest state of relaxation, by moving through the different brain wave patterns and layers of our being (koshas) to reach a relaxed state where you can set an intention, connect with something deeper, or just give the body and mind time to rest and restore. It is a way of making the body become unconscious but allowing the mind to stay hyper aware and open and it does this by moving through six stages while ultimately coming face to face with your true-self, or atman.
The six stages of yoga nidra are
1. Preliminary relaxation and body awareness
2. Awareness of the breath
3. Awareness of feelings and emotions
4. Awareness of intellect
5. Connection with the divine mind
6. Complete release of the self
With each stage you move through a different layer (kosha) and experience a different brain wave or pattern. Yoga nidra moves you consciously though the different brain wave patterns and sleep cycles to help you achieve complete rest. It is said that 45 minutes of yoga nidra is equivalent to the amount of rest you would usually receive in 3 hours of regular sleep, and in a world where we are frequently running on empty giving your students the gift of deep rest for the body and mind while setting a positive intention within the true self is one of the greatest things you can share with your students.
Perhaps my favorite thing about yoga nidra, and what inspired me to start training others in this style was the fact that it is completely accessible for any student. There is no movement involved, you do not need anything special, and as long as you can hear the words being shared you can practice yoga nidra. We often get students that are intimidated by vigorous asana practices, or aren’t given the chance to explore other limbs of yoga through their regular classes and don’t have the opportunity to ever connect with their true self and just rest.
Kelly Smith is an E-RYT-500, YACEP, founder of Yoga For You and the Yoga For You teaching method and is the host of the Mindful in Minutes podcast. She led our Iceland retreat in September 2018 and will be leading retreats with us in Peru and Bali this year.
Want to learn more about Yoga Nidra? Kelly is coming to Toronto this July to share her love and wisdom of Yoga Nidra! In this course you will take a deep dive into the practice of yoga nidra, the history and philosophy of the practice, explore the koshas and anatomy of yoga nidra, and learn how to teach this practice and share it with others. This training is accredited with Yoga Alliance to receive 22 CECs.
Click here for all of the details. Save $100 off with code INNERCIRCLE.