The Yogis not only stand on their heads but they also know the secrets to good sleep.
As a result, there is much we can learn from them in this mad, mad world full of fast food, internet addiction, and sleeping pills!
It is important not to judge yourself. It does not matter if you are unable to relax, or if you just lie there thinking for the whole session. During Yoga Nidra you maintain a stream of unbroken awareness. Just stay with the practice and be patient — you are not doing the practice in order to create more tension!
Practice for as long as it feels comfortable for you, whether it is for 10 or 30 minutes. It is more important that you do it regularly than for how long. You can do it at any time of the day. Lie with your back on the ground or on your bed with your arms parallel to your body with palms up, legs slightly apart, eyes closed with a pillow under you head and a blanket covering you. Breathe in and out naturally through your nose.
If you are doing it in bed at night when you are ready to sleep, then have your palms facing downward. You may even fall asleep before you complete the practice, which is fine. We have given instructions below, but we also have a CD available from our website: www.EdandDebShapiro.com
Practice: Yoga Nidra
Lying on your back, become aware of your breathing and watch your breath as it enters and leaves. Begin to relax as you breathe, letting go of tension on the out breath, breathing in easefulness on the in breath.
Now create a positive affirmation, something that is meaningful to you, such as: My body is relaxed … my mind is calm … my heart is open and loving.Silently repeat your affirmation three times.
Now mentally relax your body by slowly visualizing each part. Bring your attention to your right foot, tighten the muscles, hold, then let go and relax your foot. Do the same with the whole of your right leg … then the left foot … and the left leg. Shake both legs, they are relaxed and at ease. Now move to the buttocks … tightening, holding and releasing. Keep breathing. Slowly continue up your back … the lower back … middle back … upper back … tightening, holding and releasing, letting go with the out breath. Feel your back sinking into the ground, releasing, relaxing.
Now bring your attention to your abdomen … tightening and letting go … to the chest … take a deep breathe and release it, relaxing your chest completely. Bring your attention to your right hand … your right arm … right shoulder, tensing and relaxing. Then to your left hand … left arm … left shoulder … tightening, holding and releasing. Shake both arms and let them completely relax. Now bring attention to your neck … relaxing … to your face … tensing and letting go … and then to the whole of your head… tightening and relaxing. Feel your whole body releasing and letting go with each out breath.
Now imagine you are sitting in a beautiful garden, a place where you feel safe and nurtured. The heat of the sun is warm, you can hear the sound of wild bird song all around you and smell the sweet scent of the flowers. Allow the ease and beauty of this place to soothe you, feel replenished and renewed by nature. Breathe gently, let the visualization fade.
Now repeat the affirmation you made at the beginning, three times. Then take a deep breath and let it go. Begin to externalize your awareness, become aware of your surroundings, roll over on your side and slowly sit up if you want to. Have a good stretch, have a smile on your face and give yourself a hug!
If sleep is an issue with you, what do you do to relax? Do comment below.
You can order a copy of our latest book at: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World.