Something weird has happened. I know, it’s unusual for me…
On holiday at the end of most days we had a half hour session of Yoga Nidra. This isn’t about moving and stretching it’s….well, some see it as an opportunity to have a lovely relaxing sleep (if lying in a room with other people, all under blankets with eye pillows on is your idea of relaxing). If you are more of a yogi it’s more of a meditation that isn’t actually meditation. Maybe a Wikipedia definition is needed here:
oga nidra (Sanskrit: योग निद्रा) or yogic sleep is a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, like the “going-to-sleep” stage. It is a state in which the body is completely relaxed, and the practitioner becomes systematically and increasingly aware of the inner world by following a set of (audio) instructions. This state of consciousness (yoga nidra) is different to meditation in which concentration on a single focus is required. In yoga nidra the practitioner remains in a state of light pratyahara with four of his senses internalised, that is, withdrawn, and only the hearing still connects to the instructions. The yogic goal of both paths, deep relaxation (yoga nidra) and meditation are the same, a state called samadhi.
I’m not terribly good at it. I tend to fall asleep as the instructor reads in a very calming way. Except one time on holiday when I got all caught up in the instructions we were given. We had to walk up a mountain, noticing the trees. The day before I’d been cycling at the bottom of the mountains through the olive groves so I pictured myself there, bathed in warm sunlight… We walked further up, noticing different things until we…reached the snow. Argh. I was in shorts and t-shirt in my imagining and trainers are not the right footwear for snow. I mentally got changed, got colder (well, there was snow around), and got a bit lost in the instructions….
The weird bit though is this: Back at my yoga class at home this week we had a stand in teacher. We don’t usually do yoga Nidra, but we did this time. Now, there must be a lot of scripts to read for these sessions – they have teh same structure but the detail certainly changed each time on holiday. So this time when we were told to walk up a mountain I thought I’d be safe to imagine myself back in Greece, working my way through those olive groves again, but… we hit snow. Again. What are the chances? The teacher was using an identical script to the one that got me in a tizz last time. And I got in a tizz again. Mental wellies, hat, scarf and coat were added to my attire, but all I could concentrate on was the chances of two different teachers in two different countries using the same script in the same week and me managing to be inappropriately dressed on both occasions. It’s safe to say that I didn’t get to that state of deep relaxation.
So should you ever do a spot of yoga Nidra, learn from this. Pack yourself a big mental bag so you can add a few layers as required :o)
And in other news, despite the English weather which hasn’t realised it’s supposed to be summer yet, I have a few strawberries in my garden. :o)