Lay down, give up all responsibilities and dive into the mystery
7. November 2020
Yoga Nidra – Part Two
The mystery starts the moment I lay down to practice. It is the soft voice of my teacher, who guides me into another sphere. Already with the first words, I feel my breath slowing down and the body becoming lighter. The sequence starts as follows:
„Please settle onto your back and get comfortable. Allow your body to open, heels a little wider than hip distance apart, arms by your side and palms face up. Draw your shoulder blades down your back. Position the head and the neck, so that they are comfortable. If you need to use some additional support for the neck. Make certain that your head is resting on a soft surface.”
This is the preparation. Finding a comfortable position on your back to completely let go. We switch to my favorite part:
“Begin by having the intention to stay aware throughout the practice, make a commitment to give up all responsibility, all of your worldly roles, all obligations. There are no problems to solve.” – Rod Stryker; from Yoga Nidra Session called “Destiny”.
It is now that I start to deeply relax. Aren´t we all seeking for approval (also read: Stop seeking for approval and start to Act!)? It is only one short sentence. But with his calm and soothing voice he gives me permission to completely let go of the everything I was dealing with only a minute ago. All tasks on the to do list, all problems swirling in my head stay outside for this precious time of practice.
“Give up all responsibility, all of your worldly roles, all obligations”
Arent´t most of our problems caused by the fact, that we are not capable of letting them go? Taking them so personal that we are dealing with them even through times of relaxation, when we are together with our families and pondering about tasks we have to complete for work? Ever so often, our mind is occupied with open questions, we couldn´t finish throughout the day, the memo we haven´t responded to, the draft, which is due tomorrow, the analysis of an important issue. Our mind is so busy with all those things, that we can´t stay in the current moment. We are either trapped in past moments or two steps ahead in tomorrow’s work day. We have lost the ability to fully engage in the current moment.
Yoga Nidra gives us permission to just rest and relax body and mind. It is in this moment, that we are not dealing with past issues, nor thinking about future events. Our sole purpose is to lay on our backs and fully let go of all responsibilities, roles and obligations. We don´t need to be strong, purposeful, loving, caring, decisive or whatever it might be. We just need to be.
All we have to do is breathing deliberately for the first couple of minutes until we even let go of the conscious breathing. Our body knows how to do the work. It just needs a few impulses to deepen the breath before it takes over the control.
The voice in my ear goes on, softly guiding me through special points in my body. Starting from the head, it leads down to my shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingertips. It follows along an imaginary line around the body as shown in picture 1 below.
There are different techniques on how to start your Yoga Nidra practice. You can also start by concentrating on sounds or by becoming aware of sensations. No matter which points you follow through, it gives your mind the possibility to be busy, while only using one sense: the sense of hearing. This makes it easier for the mind and body to relax and let go.
The secret of Yoga Nidra is reaching a state of sleeping with a slight trace of awareness. It´s a state beyond waking, dreaming or sleeping. In this state, the brain waves show a lower frequency and are comparable to the frequency of deep sleep (called delta brain waves), combined with phases of alpha (relaxed awake) and theta (dream state). Scientist also call this state “effortless concentration”. It is here, were we are able to consciously access the subconscious entirely without effort.
Yoga Nidra gives us the possibility to fully relax into the present moment and slightly staying aware to receive guidance from our subconscious mind without the influence of the conscious mind, which is dominated by thought patterns and judgements.
It is no wonder, that we feel relaxed and at the same time energized after a Yoga Nidra session. It is as if we have entered a light filled room, but let all our burdens and open questions at the coat rack in front of it. Once we know, how to tap into this mystery, it is a most welcome practice to access our innate power and wisdom.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”