My dear friend and neighbor is studying to become a yoga instructor. The particular flavor of yoga she’s been studying lately is yoga nidra, or yogic sleep. Here’s an article from Yoga Journal explaining what it is. When my friend asked me if I would like to be one of her practice students, I didn’t have to think twice.
Let’s see…stressed out from an overly active spring break and trying to reconnect with my creative side? No brainer.
So, last Friday night, I tiptoed over to my neighbor’s house for my first full yoga nidra session. I’d had a taste of nidra during a yoga session led by another yogi friend, but this was a whole session of just guided relaxation.
It was a little bit odd. And it was a whole lot of wonderful.
As my friend talked me through the half-hour session, I literally felt my body downshift. All the places I’d been holding tension let go, but not in a smooth way. No, it was as if I had an attack of myoclonus. First my left shoulder jerked, then my right hand, and my left leg. One after another, my muscles thunked into quietness, stillness.
Then, out of nowhere and as vivid as a movie, my mind jumped to a modern art gallery/store I’d visited in Chicago. I remembered in detail the things I’d seen and how it felt while I was there. There was no logical progression from what my friend was saying in the session to lead me to think about that location, nor had I been thinking about it during the day. I was just there.
It was odd. It was also kind of cool.
The best part of the session was how refreshed I felt at the end. I practically floated back to my own house. Shoulders relaxed, not a care in the world.
I’ve practiced other kinds of yoga on and off for a number of years, and have experienced firsthand the benefits. Now I see the benefits of nidra, too, and look forward to trying it again.
Luckily, I know where to go, and it isn’t far.