WEEK 2: SETTING UP FOR YOGA NIDRA
The practice of Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep) has been around for thousands of years and is considered by some to be a deep meditation. It refers to the conscious awareness of the deep sleep state. That wisdom of awareness that comes from Yoga Nidra is called Prajna. You can think of Yoga Nidra like lucid dreaming. While in this state of deep relaxation you are practicing some sensory withdraw (pratyahara). It is a guided practice so the practice of listening and using the sense of hearing is active here.
I have personally found Yoga Nidra to be a great gateway to the art of listening and sensing without trying to make things different. This deep relaxation can be beneficial to recharging the body and your energy and is a nice alternative to a seated meditative practice - especially when you are unable to quiet internal dialogue or relax the physical body.
Setting up for Yoga Nidra is similar to your set up for Savasana (Corpse Pose), but we are really going to take our time to make sure the entire body is fully supported and weighted. This practice is recommended for times when calming and settling down is challenging, when your adrenals feel shot, or when your body needs a bit more attention.
You will set up in a supine position. You can lay on your yoga mat, but I suggest setting a blanket down as well. You may then support any combination of the following body parts: the backs of the knees, the feet, the lower back, the upper back, and/or the neck. You will want to make sure you feel fully supported by the ground and your props so your body feels balanced, allowing your nervous systems to transition into the “rest & digest” state, or the parasympathetic state.
Depending on the temperature of the room are practicing in, I recommend also placing a blanket over your body. You may choose to have a couple of folded blankets specifically placed over the lower abdomen, pelvis, and thighs as well. The blanket does the practical part of keeping the body warm, but it also helps to aide in transitioning the nervous system into the parasympathetic state.