With the recommendation from my friend Tammy, I signed up for a Yin and Yoga Nidra workshop by Laura Forsyth. Coming from an ashtanga background, I had pretty much no expectations going in. Tammy described it as a power nap and when you come out of it, you’re in a deep state of relaxation. SOLD!
A quick wiki search prior to the workshop resulted in this description:
Yoga nidra or “yogi sleep” is a sleep-like state which yogis report to experience during their meditations.
I’ve been to a restorative yoga class before, so I thought maybe this was a variation of a mega-deep savasana with a bit more guided meditation. Wow. It was and more!
First, I want to comment that there are a LOT of props. Ashtanga is a prop-free practice, so I thought I was all good with a bolster and a blanket. Laura instructed us to grab 2 or 3 blankets, maybe a block, an eye pillow… Pretty much whatever you could get your hands on. I watched as other more seasoned yin and yoga nidra practitioners set up their little nest of props, and I did my best to follow along. A blanket along the length of the mat. A blanket folded up to make a little pillow for your head. A blanket to cover yourself so you don’t get cold. An eye pillow to block out the light. A bolster under the knees. Maybe a block UNDER the bolster to really give your knees and back a bit more support.
We jumped right in to this supported savasana with Laura’s voice to guide us. We were there maybe 15 or 20 minutes. I don’t know. I couldn’t get a sense of time because I fell pretty deep into a relaxed state. Maybe I fell asleep too. I have no idea. I might as well have been in a time warp! But when the little clinging of her bell started to pull us closer to the surface of consciousness, I felt completely relaxed. All the bad nights of sleep I had while sick vanished.
The yin part of the workshop had us relaxing into child’s pose, pigeon and a wide-legged forward fold for a number of minutes each. Those were more to clear the meridians and get some fresh prana (aka chi in Chinese medicine) moving through our bodies. I love these restorative postures that let you slowly get really introspective into them, and they also seem to release all sorts of pent up stress in the hips and groin.
We closed the workshop with another 20 or so minute nidra practice. I was completely blissed out in the end. I couldn’t believe my body was capable of relaxing so fast and so deep just with the guidance of a teacher’s voice and some extra blankets. Of course, now I want to experience this every time I lie down on my mat! So I found some links with Yoga Nidra scripts.
The frugal in me thinks I could record myself reading the scripts and use that to guide myself through the different stages of relaxation. I also found a link with some embedded YouTube audio for when I’m tired of hearing my own voice.
Thank you, Laura, for a new experience that I absolutely loved. And thank you to Tammy for the recommendation!
Have any of you tried Yoga Nidra before? What was your experience?