Podcast: Episode 59: Yoga Nidra


If you listen to the podcast regularly, you’ll know that I like to teach my clients and trainees to access the conversation beneath the conversation. Top-level conversations are symptoms and sensations, and as we work with those, we get into something more subconscious which enables us to connect with what they are guiding us toward.

There is often a conversation going on under our level of awareness, and Yoga Nidra is a tool that can take you there. It is said that just one hour of Yoga Nidra can be as effective as three hours of regular sleep, and it can help you connect more curiously with your body and make significant changes in your life.

In this episode, I am guiding you through a Yoga Nidra practice and sharing a process for you to access some conscious relaxation. Get ready to settle, become curious, and enjoy a space to tap into your subconscious, because this practice will enable you to cultivate a deep connection with your body, mind, and innate wisdom and authority.

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What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • How doing a Yoga Nidra practice can serve you.
  • Some ways to practice Yoga Nidra.
  • The benefits of Yoga Nidra.
  • A Yoga Nidra practice for you to tap into your subconscious.

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

Male Announcer: You’re listening to From Pain to Possibility with Susi Hately. You will hear Susi’s best ideas on how to reduce or even eradicate your pain and learn how to listen to your body when it whispers so you don’t have to hear it scream. And now here’s your host, Susi Hately.

With this episode of From Pain to Possibility I want to dig into the practice of yoga nidra. If you've been listening to this podcast regularly, you know that I'm someone who likes to teach my clients, as well as train my trainees, to help them come into the conversation under the conversation.

Where the top level conversation are the symptoms, the sensations. And then as we work with those, we get into something more subconscious. More of the body's wisdom and the intelligence to actually connect with what those sensations and symptoms are guiding us toward. This is often a conversation that initially is under our level of awareness.

Yoga nidra is a tool that can take you there. Now, you can practice it in many ways. On your back, sitting, standing even, really whatever is comfortable. You can practice it on your belly and on your side.

If you were to be someone on your back though, and you were to see someone practicing Shavasana at the end of a yoga class, it would look not much different. Being on your back being on your back, right?

However, it takes it a layer deeper. At least a layer. Where there's this opportunity for our nervous system down regulation and relaxation. And there's this place that we can tap into the subconscious, connect more curiously with what's going on through our physiology and our anatomy. And in doing so we can make some significant changes.

It’s said that one hour of yoga nidra can be as effective as three hours of regular sleep. So it's about conscious relaxation. Really at a depth, but it's at a depth that you don't have to do something to get there. Yes, you can follow my voice, you can follow many different people's voices into the state. But you get to settle back and be guided in and be curious.

So it's not just a process that someone's guiding you and doing to you, you are actively being involved. But not in the way of doing that many people believe doing to be. And you're relaxing physically and staying mentally alert, staying mentally aware. And in doing so, make some pretty cool and profound changes in your body and your mind, and truly in your overall life.

You become aware of some of those niggles and those nudges, and they start to open up. And you really tap into this intelligence that we all know is there, but sometimes haven't had a way in.

So that's what this episode is about. It's a way for you to practice yoga nidra. A way for you to practice a way in, a way for you to settle, become curious, and enjoy a deep connection with your body, your mind, and that innate wisdom and inner authority that is yours. So with that, let's get going.

The first step to a yoga nidra practice is for you to find a position that enables you to remain alert, aware, and engaged. Your ability to be aware will help you create a greater state of calmness and of steadiness and of strength.

So you can choose to be on your back. You can choose to be on your side, on your belly. You can place bolsters or pillows underneath your legs. You can be in a chair, you might even be in standing. The key is to find a position of comfort and of ease.

Once you get into the position that you find yourself comfortable, then ask yourself the question of, “Can I be 5 to 10% more comfortable?” And take that moment, pause the recording here, and take that moment to become that much more comfortable.

So now wherever you are, whether you're lying on the floor, on a bed, whether you're on your side, your front, your back, in a chair, feel the ground beneath you. So whether it's the chair, or whether your legs are over bolsters, or you're lying on a mat or a bed, just feel whatever it is that you're touching.

Allow yourself to settle into this aspect of what is ground. And then check in with yourself as being alert, engaged, and awake. And if you would like you can even make an intention that I will be alert and engaged and awake throughout this practice.

As you move through the mind body exploration that I'm going to guide you through, allow yourself to settle into your breath. Connect to that inhale and the exhale. And as you do, ask yourself this question, what is it that you really, really want? Some call this a heartfelt and deep desire. The idea is, is just to touch up, feel into, notice what bubbles up.

It might be something that you want to have, or maybe something you want to be, or something you want to do. But as it bubbles up, notice the accompanying sensations. And then state this desire in the present tense as if that has already happened. State it like a fact.

And as you say it to yourself, feel any sensation to go along with it. So notice, notice how your body opens around it, or feels into it, or settles into it. Whatever words that make sense for you, just notice how your body responds to this deep desire that you really want. Whether it's something to be, something to do, something to have.

All right, let's connect into your mouth now. Feel the inside of your mouth. Feel your cheeks. Feel your jaw. Feel your teeth and your gums. And your lips. Notice any sensations in any of those areas. And then notice your inner ear and your outer ear.

Be aware of your nose and your nostrils. First, the left nostril, and then the right, and then both together. You might even feel the air coming into and leaving your nostrils with each phase of your breath.

Feel your eyes and your eyelids. The inner and outer corners of your eyes. The crown of your head and your neck. And how your neck connects into your right shoulder. And follow from the right shoulder down your right arm to your elbow.

Feel how this connects into your hands and your fingers. Each of your fingers on your right hand, including your thumb. Feel the palm of your hand. And the back of your hand. Now let your awareness travel through the entire right arm from the shoulder out through to the fingertips. Feeling the arm, allowing it to become heavy and warm.

Now move from this right side of your body and over to your left. Left neck, left shoulder, down to the left elbow, the forearm and into your left hand. Feeling the left fingers and the palm of your left hand. Feel the back of that left hand. Now connect from that hand through the forearm up to the shoulder. Feeling that entire left arm becoming heavy and warm.

Now become aware of your torso and your ribcage and your belly. The front, the sides, and the back of your torso. Feel how the breath moves through your belly and your ribcage. If it moves through the front, the back, or the sides.

And then feel your pelvis. Feel the back of your pelvis, the front of your pelvis. Feel the entire bowl of your pelvis. Now feel through the right side, the right side of the pelvis and the right hip, and where the right side connects into the right side of your pelvis. Then feel through that right side to the right knee.

So the whole right thigh, the right knee, the right shin and calf. The right foot, the toes, the space between the toes. The top of the foot, the bottom of the foot. Feel the entire foot and the toes, the lower leg, and the upper leg right to that right hip. Feel that right leg and the right foot being heavy and warm.

Now move over to the left. So feel the left side of the pelvis where it connects into the left thigh. Through to the left thigh, front and back, and into the left knee. Down the left shin and calf to the left foot. The left toes, the top of the foot, the bottom of the foot, and the spaces between your toes.

Feel the entire left side. Left foot, shin, calf, left knee, left thigh, right back into the left side of the pelvis. Feel that becoming heavy and warm. Feel the entire left leg becoming heavy and warm.

All right, now connect into your belly and feel two inches below your navel. Now notice your navel. And moving upward be aware of your solar plexus at the base of your breastbone. Become aware of your breastbone and the heart center that lies underneath the breastbone.

Feel your throat and feel your mouth. Feeling further up to the space between your eyebrows and the crown of your head. Feel your entire body from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.

Now feel the entire left side of your body from the head through your face and your neck, the left side of your torso, your shoulders, your hip, all the way down that left leg. Now feel the right side of you. Your right face and head. Your right neck, right shoulder, all the way down the right side of your torso, the right leg to the feet.

Now feel the lower part of your body from the pelvis down, both sides. And now feel the upper part of you from the pelvis up. The torso, both sides of your arms, both sides of your face. Feel all of yourself from your head through to the hands and down to the feet.

Feel the front of you. And feel the back of you. Feel that which you are laying or sitting upon. Whether it's a chair, a bed, the floor, bolsters or blankets. Feel what you feel. Whether it's underneath your pelvis, your back your feet. Feel you and that which you're touching. And then feel the space around you.

Notice that in the space around you is air and that air is coming through your nose or through your mouth. And as it does it becomes breath. Feel that breath in your body. And feel the exhale of breath out into the space around you and how that breath now becomes air again. Air comes into your body becoming breath. And then leaves the body becoming air again.

Bring your attention now to the movement of your chest. Feel each inhale and exhale. Notice the filling up of your chest as you inhale and as you exhale. How it fills up, takes in the breath. And then as it leaves on exhale. Just notice the motion of the breath coming in and filling your chest and then the breath going out.

Now as you're noticing this also notice the ground, that which you're touching. Feeling the weight of your body on whatever it is that you're sitting or laying on. Notice the breath coming in. Feeling the ground. Notice the breath coming out. Feeling the ground.

Feel how the ground is a foundation that completely supports you. Whether you're laying down, whether you're seated. Breath coming in. Breath going out. Ground. Connection.

Come back to the space that's around you, above you and below you, to the right and the left of you as you settle into this ground. And notice if there's any emotion that is present. And notice if there's any accompanying physical sensations without emotion.

If there's no emotion that is present, simply notice what is present. Be sure not to work hard at this. Just notice what is there, notice what sensation is there. Notice what emotion is there. And if there isn't emotion, or if there isn't sensation, then simply just notice.

Be sure not to spend any more time on one sensation than another, or suppress or repress. Just simply notice what's there. And again, if an emotion is present, simply notice the accompanying physical sensations.

So exploring the emotion, where does this emotion live? Where does it sit in your body? Can you point to it? Can you touch the area of your body where that emotion lives? Is there a color, or a shape, or a texture to this emotion?

Is there anything else that you would use to describe this emotion in the form of a sensation, or a color, a shape, a texture? Maybe there's a tonality, that it's loud or that it's quiet. Maybe it's rough, or it's slight or slim, big or small, edgy, smooth. There are a myriad of other words that might just come to mind to describe how this emotion feels.

Now take a moment and notice the opposite of this emotion. Notice what those sensations are and where do these live or sit in your body. And let's do the same thing.

So when we look at the opposite emotion and where it sits in your body or lives in your body, again, now notice the shape, the color, or the texture of this. And then take a moment and come back to the original emotion and the accompanying physical sensations.

Take your time. And now move to the opposite. And notice the accompanying physical sensations. Move between the original and then to its opposite. Take some time here, be gentle and just notice. Notice how you can bear witness to the experience of the original emotion, its opposite. You can bear witness to this and you can also be in it.

So you can be in it and you can be separate from it. You can be watching the experience of it and you can be in it itself. Notice how they feel in your body. Notice how they feel in your mind. Notice how you can be totally present to the experience.

You may be noticing the five senses, hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching. Feeling these physical sensations in your body, noticing the accompanying thoughts and emotions. Being aware of this physical presence inside of you.

And you witnessing any of these or all of these five senses. The sensation of your body, the emotions and thoughts. You'll notice that there's a flow and a freedom. That there's an ease.

Coming back to your body now. Coming back to this fluidness. Coming back to bearing witness to the emotion, to the thoughts, to the sensations. Being able to be in them and to be able to witness them.

Coming back to your breath. Feeling how the air comes in and comes into breath. And the breath then leaves, turns back to air. Feeling the connection to your feet and your hands, to your limbs and your torso, your head, your face. Feeling the connection to whatever it is that you are laying upon or sitting on. Feeling that which is you, feeling that what you're touching, and feeling the space that is around you.

Now, come back to your heartfelt desire, that which you really, really want.

Say it to yourself as if it's a true fact. Say it in that present moment. Say it as if it's already happened. In a short moment we'll be returning to your everyday routine.

So come back to your body. Come back to the sensations. And come back to your five senses. What are you touching? What are you hearing? What are you smelling? What are you tasting? And then slowly if you want to open your eyes, what are you now seeing?

As you move about your day, come back to feel your body again. So whether you're writing an email, or you're sipping a tea, or you're in a conversation, connect back to the sensation and these five senses. To your breath, your emotions and thinking, and feel the sense of presence that you have. The sense of ease, of flow.

So even while you're in action and doing what you're doing, while you're doing what needs to be done, you will feel the sense of presence. All while simultaneously feeling the action of whatever it is that you're doing. Be with all of it, just as it is.

Take your time. Know that you can be here for as long as you would like.

And when you're ready to transition yourself take five more breaths. Counting them on each exhalation. And when you finish that fifth breath slowly make that transition.

Thank you for your practice.Have a great rest of your day.

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