Guided Yoga Nidra
Please begin by removing watches, glasses, pony tails or restrictive jewellery. Ensure that your clothes are comfortable and loose. Lie on your back with your legs slightly apart so that the thighs don’t touch. Allow the feet to splay outwards. Place your arms along the side of your body, about 10 cm away, palms up. Your spine is in neutral position and your head is straight. Close your eyes. You are now in Savasana (Corpse Pose). Make yourself comfortable and make any final movements now.
This practice is about hearing, feeling and awareness. This is the most important part of the practice. Do not try to analyze or concentrate too hard. Allow the mind and the body to be relaxed and become aware of your breath. Become aware of your body lying down on the floor and completely relax your whole body. Notice the rhythm of your natural breathing as it moves from your navel to your throat, throat to the navel. Allow your whole body to begin to relax. Notice any sounds in the room, the temperature of the room, sensations in the body. Don’t analyze, just notice. See your body lying on the floor, like there is mirror on the ceiling and you can see yourself lying on the floor, still and relaxed. With each breath allow yourself to relax a little bit more.
- Listen to my voice. 2. Follow my instructions. 3. Don’t move any of the body parts that I mention, just notice them. 4. Do not fall asleep.
The practice of Yoga Nidra will begin now.
Take a moment to articulate your sankalpa. Now repeat 3 times with full awareness, conviction and feeling.
ROTATION OF CONSCIOUSNESS
I’m now going to name different parts of the body in a practice known as rotation of consciousness. Do not move the body part I name, just notice it.
Right Side: Right hand thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, little finger, palm of the hand, back of the hand, wrist, lower arm, elbow, upper arm, armpit, shoulder, side of the waist, right hip, right thigh, knee cap, right shin, calf muscle, ankle, heel, sole of the foot, top of the foot, right big toe, second toe, third toe, fourth toe, little toe…..The whole right side of the body.
Left Side: Left hand thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, little finger, palm of the hand, back of the hand, wrist, lower arm, elbow, upper arm, armpit, shoulder, side of the waist, left hip, left thigh, knee cap, left shin, calf muscle, ankle, heel, sole of the foot, top of the foot, left big toe, second toe, third toe, fourth toe, little toe…..The whole left side of the body.
Back: Now move your awareness to the back of the body. Start with the back of the head touching the ground, the back of the neck, the right arm, the left arm, the right hand, the left hand, the right shoulder-blade, the left shoulder-blade, the right hip, the left hip, the right lower back, the left lower back, the right buttock, the left buttock, the back of the right thigh, the back of the left thigh, the back of the right knee, the back of the left knee, the back of the right calf, the back of the left calf, the right ankle, the left ankle. Become aware of the whole back of your body.
Front: Now go to the front of your body starting at the head, the top of the head, the forehead, the right eyebrow, the left eyebrow, the space between the eyebrows, the right eyelid, the left eyelid, right eye, left eye, the right ear, the left ear, the right cheek, the left cheek, the right nostril, the left nostril, the tip of the nose, the upper lip, the lower lip, the chin, jaw, the throat, the right chest, the left chest, the middle of the chest, the abdomen,the navel, the right side of the waist, the left side of the waist, right hip, left hip, the right side of the pelvis, the left side of the pelvis, the pubic bone, the right groin, the left groin, the right thigh, the left thigh, the right knee, the left knee, the right shin, the left shin, the right ankle, the left ankle, the right foot, the left foot, the right toes, the left toes. Become aware of the whole front of your body.
Major Parts: The whole of the right leg, the whole of the left leg, both legs together. The whole of the right arm, the whole of the left arm, both arms together. The whole of the back, the buttocks, the low back, the mid back, the neck, the shoulders, the neck and the head. The entire right side of the body, the entire left side of the body, the entire front of the body, the entire back of the body…. the whole body lying together on the floor. Become aware of your body lying on the floor. The whole body lying together on the floor. The whole body lying together on the floor.
Now become aware of your breathing. Observe how the body expands on the inhale and softens on the exhale. Notice that when the air enters the body it is cool, and when it leaves the body it is warm. Notice the flow of your breath coming in and out of the nostrils. Become aware of the way the nostrils flair as the breath moves in and out of the body. The breath passes through the nostrils, upwards, creating a triangle shape-with the apex being the eyebrow centre.
Observe if the air is entering the body through one nostril more than the other.
Continue breathing and notice this.
Now imagine that you are breathing through just the right nostril. Continue breathing in and out of the right nostril only. Drawing the air from the right nostril to the third eye point, and then back out again.
Now imagine that you are breathing through just the left nostril. Continue breathing in and out of the right nostril only. Drawing the air from the left nostril to the third eye point, and then back out again.
Now lets begin the practice of Alternate Nostril breathing or Nadi Shodhana.
Exhale out through the left, inhale left, exhale right, inhale right and exhale left. Inhale left and exhale right. Continue in this pattern. If you get distracted or lose your concentration go back to the beginning…exhaling out the left nostril and inhaling through the left.
LONG PAUSE (5-10 minutes)
Now continue breathing through both nostrils without effort, just full awareness.
Chida means consciousness
Akasha means space
Chidakasha means….the space of consciousness
Observe the space in front of your closed eyes. Notice any images, colours. shapes or light that appear. Don’t analyze or try to understand what you see, or what they mean, just observe them with curiosity and detachment.
VISUALIZATION (Repeat each 3 times)
We will now begin the practice of rapid visualization. I will list a number of differing things. Try to develop a clear vision of each one as quickly as possible. Notice each object using your imagination. feelings and emotions.
A flickering candle, a smiling buddha, camels in a desert, the symbol of OM, a coffin beside a grave, a big snake, a tropical rainstorm, a full moon, a palm tree, a pink lotus in a pond, a starry night, a spiderweb, temple bells ringing, expansive desert, breaking waves on a deserted beach, a cross over a church, a yogi sitting in meditation, a canoe on a lake, snow-capped mountains
AWARENESS OF SENSATIONS
Now I am going to give you sensations to feel in your body. Listen to my instruction and with full awareness feel the sensation of…
Heaviness: Now.. Imagine now that your whole body is very heavy. Become aware of the sensation of heaviness in your whole body…in your feet, legs, torso, arms and head..everything is very heavy. Feel your body sinking into the floor, like there is a great weight on your body and you can’t move because your body is so heavy.
Lightness: Now… Imagine now that your whole body is very light. Become aware of your body now as feeling very light, from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. Feel yourself floating off the floor as if you are a feather or clouds just floating through the sky. Feel your body as very light.
Now, can you feel both heaviness and lightness at the same time.
Pain: Now…Recollect a time in your life when you experienced pain, any kind of pain, either physical or mental pain. Try to take yourself to that place or that moment and allow yourself to feel that pain. Infuse your body with the feeling and memory of that pain. Concentrate on the experience of pain now and try to experience it as it were happening now.
Pleasure: Now…Recollect a time in your life when you experienced pleasure, any kind of pleasure, the feeling of pleasure. Concentrate on this memory. It may be connected to a memory of smell, taste, hearing or sight, or perhaps a physical pleasure. Concentrate on the experience of pleasure now and try to experience it as if were happening right now.
Now, can you feel both pain and pleasure at the same time.
Now imagine that it is very early in the morning, it’s still dark outside and you are walking on a path through the forest. You are alone. You are walking east and when you look back you can see a crescent-shaped moon low in the sky through the trees. The temperature is a little brisk, but you are comfortable. You are heading west towards higher ground and farmers fields. You are calm and relaxed. As you glance to the north you can see a small village off in the distance with twinkling lights. Far off in the distance you hear a dog barking. The path you are on winds gently up and down through the forests and the fields. The ground is soft from a recent rainfall. The forest has a fresh smell of pine needles and damp leaves. Soon you begin to see the sunlight shining through the trees. You can see something ahead that looks like a small pond and you walk over to take a closer look. The pond is very still and peaceful. You notice that on the other side there is a small stream leading to the pond. As you approach you decide to cross to the other side. You step slowly across a variety of stones of different sizes and shapes. Once you get to the other side you crouch down to take a drink. You put your two hands in the water and scoop the cold water to your lips. When you stand up you look up and notice a number of birds flying by in the early morning light. There are six or seven of them gliding flying by and you notice a little bit of red. You notice a larger rock to the left and walk over to sit down. You sit with your legs crossed and decide to take in the beautiful landscape. You close your eyes and remain still for a few moments.
Now repeat your resolve 3 times. Use the exact same wording and repeat it with feeling and clarity.
Become aware of your breathing, your natural breathing. Notice how relaxed your body is. Start to notice your physical body. Become aware of your feet, ankles, legs, torso, hands, wrists, arms, and finally the head. Notice the places where you body and the floor come into contact. Now notice this room, the walls and the people in this room. See yourself lying on your back. Slowly start moving your body by wiggling your finger, toes, wrists and ankles. Take your arms up and over and over your head and stretch out your body from hand to feet. Move slowly. Do not hurry. Draw your knees up and into your chest and roll to your right side. Pause. Slowly sit up to a comfortable seated position.
The practice of Yoga Nidra is now complete.
Hari Om Tat Sat
‘That which I see with my eyes and that which is beyond my eyes are both the same, not different”