Foundations of Yoga Nidra
Daily meditation can shine a light on your thoughts and actions, creating the space for deeper awareness and understanding of the world. In an increasingly busy world, rest and meditation are essential for our mental and physical wellbeing. Yoga Nidra (also known as Yogic Sleep) is an ancient Tantric meditation and the art of deep rest.
- Download a few Yoga Nidra meditations onto your device. There are plenty of options on Spotify and iTunes, and many yoga teachers even sell their own Yoga Nidra CDs. Find a voice that resonates with you – an enjoyable sound that is soothing and easy to follow.
- Create a space to lie down. This might be your bed, somewhere in your living space, or on a yoga mat or blanket in nature. Make sure the space feels comfortable and safe for you and use props if you need. You may like a blanket over you, a bolster under your knees to support your lower back, a pillow to support your neck or an eye pillow to rest over your eyes.
- When you practice Yoga Nidra you must be completely comfortable, lying down. Savasana is the foundation of this meditation, although you could rest on your side or in a reclining chair it that is most comfortable for you.
- Put your headphones on, press play and enjoy the deep peace to come.
Exploring the Sankalpa
During every Yoga Nidra practice you are asked to create an intention, what’s known as a Sankalpa. This is the most important aspect of the practice, and what differentiates it from other forms of meditation.
The word Sankalpa is Sanskrit and translates as a resolve, an affirmation or my favourite – a personal prayer. With the Sankalpa we are working with the fifth spiritual law of success – the law of Intention and Desire. When working with the law of Intention and Desire you should not create a materialistic intention, but an altruistic one that explores how you can be a better version of yourself.
When choosing a Sankalpa, sit quietly with yourself and ask who it is that you truly want to be. What kind of person do you admire? Sit and listen to what your heart has to say. Keep it positive, focusing on what you do want rather than what you don’t. Keep it simple. Remember, it is just an intention and things can and will change if your Sankalpa no longer feels right. State your intention in positive language, as though it is already true. For example, I share love and light with all those around me.
When we practice Yoga Nidra our Sankalpa is intentionally stated three times at the beginning of the meditation. This is similar to planting a seed in the earth’s soil. Here, you are letting the universe know what you want to attract into your life. We restate our intention three times again near the end of the meditation. This is similar to watering that seed and reaffirming to the universe that you really do desire to be a better version of you. With repetition and awareness of your Sankalpa, your thoughts and actions will begin to change for the better. Practice every day and watch the seed grow.
About the author:
Tara Fitzgibbon facilitates Yin Yoga retreats and teacher trainings (in Byron Bay and beyond) with a strong focus on Yoga Nidra. Her guided practices can be found on Spotify and iTunes under the album title, ‘Breathe, Rest, Let Go.’ www.terrafirmayoga.com