Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra Q&A with Angeline

Q: What is “Nidra”?

A: Nidra means “sleep”, but we stay awake during the Yoga Nidra process. It’s really delightful— especially for anyone who has sleep issues and therefore doesn’t get the wonderful rest that’s expected from a good night’s sleep. Guided deep relaxation can help us heal at a cellular level, the way normal sleep does. It’s said that 1 hour of Yoga Nidra equals 4 hours of regular sleep.

Q: What should I expect from a Yoga Nidra session?

A: Sweet rest, and a connection with oneself that is the result of the skilfull use of language and a receptiveness to positive suggestions. Guided relaxation of the body. Words— ideas and images— are used to draw a person out of their busy mindset and into a timeless state of deep being. This can be a lot of fun, or it can be moving, or it can simply be relaxing. You may have insights about yourself during or as a result of Yoga Nidra.

Q: So what exactly will we do for one hour?

A: We’ll do a bit of gentle movement and get in touch with our breath. We’ll set an intention for this powerful practice. Then each participant will relax physically, as in savasana, and let the magical inner journey begin. I will offer suggestions and directions, but sometimes you might wander down your own dreamy trail for a while. You’ll be guided back!

Q: What is your background? What do you bring to Yoga Nidra?

A: Fundamentally, Yoga Nidra is about learning— to become more self-aware, to relax, to unlearn old patterns. I’ve been teaching since I was a kid. Plus I learned to meditate when I was 8 years old. I’m a trained hypnotherapist, yoga teacher, and school teacher. And I appreciate the magic of language— whether it be through poetry, or an inspirational speaker, or just telling someone we love them. It could also be the colorful language of dreams, which comes through in Yoga Nidra— sometimes in powerful and surprising ways.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about Yoga Nidra from your perspective?

A: I really believe that we already have all the wisdom and peace and happiness we need within us. Yoga Nidra is a practice that helps remove any blockages to the free-flow of these qualities, of our life energy. I often ponder how we settle for this or that, when in reality I am sure that we are all capable of amazing insight and transcendent states of bliss— and it’s all inside us— covered, perhaps, by a very thin veil.

Q: What should I do to prepare for the Yoga Nidra session?

A: Between now and the session, start thinking about something that seems to be in your way— a fear, a hang-up of some sort. Or even a health issue. You could also see if some kind of intention (this is called “sankalpa” in Sanskrit, the language of Yoga) arises. On a practical level, wear layers. Bring your own eye pillow unless you want to use one of ours. Bring a soft blanket as an extra layer if you’d like— or even a pillow from home. Some people have said they’re going to wear their pajamas and go home and sleep. Great idea! I’d be ready to have really interesting dreams!

Like the Best Nap of Your Life: Restorative Yoga Begins March 4

This is from Alison Solam, who will be teaching the Candlelight Restorative Yoga class on Fridays from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m.

I am thrilled to be teaching a Restorative Yoga class at Richmond Beach Yoga. Restorative Yoga means different things to different people, so I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify what I will be teaching. This class will be geared entirely toward reducing stress and anxiety, as we will be working with the parasympathetic nervous system (the calming “rest and digest” system, as opposed to “fight or flight”).

Just like in other Yoga, we will be doing certain postures. These yoga postures attend to different parts of the body– for example, the digestive system, respiratory system, and reproductive system.  But there is no effort and no deep stretching. These poses you do supported by bolsters, blankets, and other props.  So you are held up in the pose. The result is that you receive many of the same benefits of other yoga classes, but with the additional benefit of the feeling of something similar to the best nap you ever had in your life. Each pose will be held for five to ten minutes.

This restorative class begins in March Fridays from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. It follows the Hatha Yoga class at 5 o’clock. The two classes together make a really great marriage of intensity and deep calm. This class is part of your regular membership, so what do you have to lose?

Editor’s note: the photo is of a child in a restorative pose during a kids’ class at RBY. She loved it, and we think you will, too!

Lastly: This class is limited to 15 people, so please pre-register online. It is still included in membership, but we need your help to make sure there are enough props for everyone. At some point perhaps we’ll open it up to more people if students can bring some of their own props– for example, blankets, bolsters, and/or eye pillows. Thank you ahead of time for your cooperation!

Replacing Chronic Pain with Chronic Yoga

What would you risk giving up in developing a chronic case of yoga? Chronic crankiness? Chronic creakiness? Chronic cough? I met a new student today– one with scoliosis. I told her that yoga does help scoliosis, but only if you KEEP DOING IT. I told her I gave up chronic back pain for chronic yoga. I gave up chronic low blood pressure for chronic yoga. I also gave up chronic depression and anxiety for chronic yoga. If a cure is really fast, it probably won’t last. You deserve better. How about chronic energy? Chronic freedom of movement? Chronic strength? Of course yoga doesn’t cure everything, nor does it cure most things terribly quickly. But it does work. Yoga works. Yoga is magic. But you are the magician. You hold the magic wand.

Abracadabra, get on your mat.

Be open to surprise, and willing to let go. When I was told I was developing arthritis in my spine at a very young age, I  tried everything, and nothing worked– except yoga. Feel good, or at least feel better. But above all, feel that you have some control over your life. Chronic pain, whether its origins are organic or traumatic, can run your life. Developing strength and flexibility through yoga asana (postures) and healthy breathing patterns frees up energy in our bodies, allowing us to create our own healing. There’s one caveat: you’ll need to keep at it. Don’t stop practicing yoga once you feel better. Keep going: from healing and recovery to deepening practice, maintaining strength and range of motion in the joints, and preventing future pain.  Most likely you won’t want to stop, because you’ll enjoy the practice, the learning, and the results– which are profound and long-lasting, if you allow them to be. It’s up to you.

This Short Blog Post is About Rain and Energy Channels in Our Bodies and Feeling Awesome.

Ten years old again! After hours at the computer, I venture out in my Canadian galoshes and my yellow reflective vest, umbrella in hand. This is not a drizzle or a mist. This is a decisive rain with no sign of stopping. I find myself trekking through rivulets and plunking through puddles. I trust my boots. A flock of geese materializes like a magic trick from a thick cloud and speeds west. The air is fresh and the sky is within reach. This wet world conjures thoughts of the nadis, and I find myself wondering if Richmond Beach Yoga students know what the nadis are. The word means “little river” in Sanskrit, and refers to the vast network of energy pathways in our electric bodies. This is the lit-up matrix of life coursing through our “mortal coils” and beyond. What have you done today that lit you up? That gave you energy? That turned you on like a disco ball? That made you feel lively as an impromptu creek that impishly careens down the street, unstoppable, free as the wild geese, that meets another stream at the corner and laughs all the way down the hill? What have you done recently that you loved to do when you were 10 years old? Especially if you can’t make it to yoga class today, go and DO THAT!