Finding Stillness Through Yoga Nidra

I have had a rather inconsistent at-home yoga practice for a while now. I’m not a fan of power yoga or hot yoga. No, I’m more of a gentle, restorative flow type of gal. I need some yin to balance out my yang workouts. Practicing yoga at home is not what I would classify as relaxing. D loves to join in, which is fine, but there’s no way savasana happens with him around.

A couple of months ago I was starting to feel like I was losing myself. I was irritable, more impatient than usual, and just generally not very happy. I needed to find some stillness in my life to just put the brakes on this frenzy my mental state was in. I found a new yoga studio in the area that offered a yin yoga nidra class. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect walking into my first class. The room was dimly lit and was kept at a comfortable temperature. The instructor gave a brief introduction to the class before beginning.

The first half of the class was the yin portion of the class. We found our “edge” in each given pose (pushing ourselves just to where we started to feel the stretch) and held the poses for about three minutes each. This slow transition from pose to pose allowed me to find stillness and breath within each pose. My muscles appreciated the stretches while my mind welcomed the quiet.

The second half of the class was yoga nidra, or “yogic sleep”. We got comfortable in savasana and covered our eyes with an eye pillow. The instructor led us through a guided meditation. She first performed a body scan where she said each body part aloud while we brought our attention to that body part, imagining a white light touching that part and letting it relax. After the body scan she had us visualize different images and sensations, such as imagining being out in the cold and the sensation it brings to the body.

During the meditation I was lost in a deep sense of relaxation where I was awake but felt asleep. Drifting back to my body and dreamily pushing myself up to a seated position to end the class, I found that the blizzard of tension, anxiety, and irritability had melted away. I walked to my car with a renewed sense of calm.

I have proceeded to try to go to class every Sunday evening. It’s such a wonderful way to reset and get my mind in a good place to start the new week. Going to a class allows me to shut the door on the outside world. In the studio room it’s just my mat and I – I don’t have to worry about parenting in the middle of my practice. Two months since my first class I have noticed a shift within myself. When needed, I’m capable of connecting with that stillness yoga nidra brings me. I never realized what a gift yoga was until I really needed it.