by Karen Prindle
November 25, 2020
“One month until Christmas” someone wrote on Twitter today. As I reposted that Tweet as a joke, I quickly went from thinking about my Thanksgiving plans for Thursday and straight into feelings of overwhelm and a touch of anxiety. “Christmas...wait...I only have less than 3 weeks to get everything ready?”. My mental checklist kicked right in. Yes, ladies and gentlemen we are smack in the middle of the emotional rollercoaster that comes with the holiday season, but this year with a twist which is called 2020!
We all know the stories, the movies, the jokes about HOLIDAY STRESS and FAMILY...but this YEAR is not that typical story. This year we also must factor in the additional stress of a quarantine. Gathering together may not even be an option for some. While we may have a deep awareness of the polarity of our emotions because of this fact, you may now be seeking ways to balance out these influxes of emotions. This is where Yoga Nidra at home can help.
What is Yoga Nidra? Many people have tried yoga or know about traditional yoga poses, but they haven’t heard of Yoga Nidra specifically. Yoga Nidra, often called “yoga sleep”, is a guided relaxation and meditation practice that helps transcend you into a state of deep relaxation. You are relaxed, yet still in an alert state, therefore it also increases your dopamine levels creating that feel good sensation.
What are the benefits of Yoga Nidra:
Helps to support a stronger immune system
Helps release muscular, emotional, and mental tension
It calms the nervous system
Supports your endocrine system, which affects your hormones
Improves your mood
What is required from you is basically creating time of 30-40 minutes to simply lay down on the floor or yoga mat, and to be guided away from your thoughts. It’s taking the time to relax so you can shut off the noise from the outside world for a bit.
Before you begin your Yoga Nidra home practice, it helps to have it set up ahead of time. To get the most relaxation possible, setup in a room that is comfortable in temperature and has dim lighting. Ask other family members to join you or gift you at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time so you can practice. Along with your yoga mat, it’s generally beneficial to have some pillows or 3 blankets (one for under your neck, under your knees and one to cover up), socks, an eye pillow, soft background music and some candles. You can find many Yoga Nidra classes or music on YouTube or on podcasts episodes like Magik Vibes by Kelsey J. Patel “Autumn Yoga Nidra” and her guest Hilary Jackendoff.
Laying on your mat, begin to now focus on the sound of your breath. Observe your breath. Give yourself permission to listen to the guided voice. Feel your body melt into the mat. Let go of your worries, as you envision them drifting off into a soft cloud overhead….and just let them float away.
Yoga Nidra is “a point beyond the personality, where the logical, analytical aspect of the mind is suspended” -Swami Karma Karuna