Do you ever find yourself dreading what should be the best moments of the day? Those first few minutes upon waking in the morning or the last ones at night when you lay down quietly in bed and every last thought or care you have comes at you like a firehose.
Lately I find myself waking up to find a big pile of anxiety waiting to wash over me. Before I'm even out of bed, I feel like crawling back in to hide from my to do list and the more I try to wrap my head around it, the more stressed out I get.
In these moments Yoga Nidra has been the best way I've found to quite and relax my mind. It's essentially a guided Savasana to unwind the nervous system and quiet anxiety. A systematic relaxation practice designed to bring ease to the very deepest layers of our being, Yoga Nidra taps into both the conscious and unconscious mind to unwind deep-seated anxieties and even trauma which is why it's now being taught to veterans as well as us modern folk craving calm in an overstressed world.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Beryl Bender Birch, an American yoga pioneer who's been teaching for more than 4 decades, described Yoga Nidra at a Yoga Journal LIVE! workshop: “It’s restorative, it’s meditative, it’s transformational. It’s a way to get anchored in the present moment. It’s certainly a great way to ease into a meditation practice, a guided relaxation where we drop down into a quieter state.”
The basic steps/parts of a guided Yoga Nidra meditation area:
- Connect to a heartfelt desire - what do you most want in your life?
- Find an inner resource - a safe haven within your body where you experience feelings of security, well-being, and calm.
- Scan and move your awareness through your body
- Breath awareness
- Self-observation - this may be physical sensations, feelings, thoughts - Notice without having to name, judge or solve.
Ready to give it a try?
There's a wealth of free Yoga Nidra guided meditations available online. The link above one is a little long but it's one of my current favorites. I've begun setting my alarm an hour early just so I have time to lie in bed and listen to it. The difference it makes in my mood, stress level and willingness to tackle the day are amazing.
Search "Yoga Nidra" on YouTube, Google or YogaJournal.com for even more amazing and free guided meditations.
Here's some links for some additional info to get you started:
- "Meditation Made Easier: Try Guided Yoga Nidra"
"10 Steps of Yoga Nidra" by Richard Miller for Yoga Journal
- Integrative Restoration Institute (iRest Yoga Nidra)
My Pinterest board with some of my other top free Yoga Nidra meditations
I'd love to know your favorites - please share in the comments below!