Bliss For Your Brain

by Tab Long
(Chicago, Il )

During the practice of yoga nidra consciousness fluctuates between the states of introversion and extroversion. It swings sometimes to the outside world through the senses while in others it slides into the sphere of sleep. Little by little consciousness tends to stabilize, but to achieve it fully requires a prolonged and systematic practice. Then, when the nidra state (the border between the alpha and theta waves) is reached, the mind becomes more receptive.

The consciousness is operating in a space where it can contact the subconscious and unconscious dimensions. So, this is of great importance because it allows us to discover and awaken the immense potential that lies dormant in the deep levels of the mind. There are hidden solutions to all our problems and conflicts.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra
• Deep skeletal-muscular relaxation, removal of blockages and physical pain.
• Balance of the nervous system and increase the production of endorphins, the hormones of happiness, and on the other hand lower levels of immunosuppressants, noradrenaline and cortisol.
• Reduction of the rhythm of our brain waves and harmonization of the two hemispheres.
• Stress relief, relieves depression, anxiety, insomnia, headache, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, hypertension.
• One hour of yoga nidra practice equals four hours of natural sleep.
• Development and use of non-analytical mind for personal growth purposes.
• Mental reprogramming and proposal of objectives.
• Increased learning capabilities, memory, intuition, creativity.
• Spontaneous manifestation of our inner potential and our resources.
• Cleansing of the subconscious and limiting memories.
• Lucidity to deal with conflicting situations.
• Deep meditative states.
• Expansion of altered states of mind.
• Integral harmonization.

Prepare for Meditation - Bring your attention to the world around you. Listen to the sounds outside the room. Listen to the sounds inside the room. Allow yourself a moment to become aware of all sensations around you: sounds, smells, temperature. Visualize your own body resting on the floor and become aware of your own physical presence.

Find Safe Haven - Move inward for a moment and see if you can discover a place of safe haven within. A place where you feel secure, loved, calm. Perhaps there is a person, or a certain place that helps accentuate this feeling of safety and well-being. Spend a moment visualizing this place and know that you may return to it at any time during this practice, or indeed at any time during your life, when you need it.

Sankalpa/Resolve – Now you are ready to practice your sankalpa or resolution. Your sankalpa is a positive statement or affirmation, something you are dearly committed to achieving in the next 6-18 months. If you do not already have a sankalpa, take a moment to choose one now. This could be anything from you choose to be a better person, for good health, or a new job or promotion. Anything that needs improvement in your life. Feel grateful for everything that has lead you to this moment. Grateful for all actions, events and decisions that have lead you here, now.

Body Awareness - And now bring your awareness back to your body on the floor. Keep as still as possible without building up any stress and notice each part of your body as it is mentioned. Notice if you find this practice easy or difficult. Notice if any specific parts of your body are more difficult to sense. Sense the entirety of your body all at the same time. Feel your entire physical presence.

The practice begins on the right side.

Right hand thumb … 2nd finger … 3rd finger … 4th finger … 5th finger … palm of the hand … back of the hand …wrist … forearm … elbow … upper arm … shoulder … armpit … waist … hip … thigh … knee … calf … ankle … heel …sole of the foot … top of the foot … right big toe … 2nd toe … 3rd toe … 4th toe … 5th toe.

Left hand thumb … 2nd finger … 3rd finger … 4th finger … 5th finger … palm of the hand … back of the hand … wrist… forearm … elbow … upper arm … shoulder … armpit … waist … hip … thigh … knee … calf … ankle … heel … sole of the foot … top of the foot … left big toe … 2nd toe … 3rd toe … 4th toe … 5th toe.

Now move back to the body start with… right heel … left heel … right calf … left calf … right thigh … left thigh … right buttock … left buttock … lower back … middle back … upper back … the entire spine … right shoulder blade … left
shoulder blade … back of the neck … back of the head.
Top of the head … forehead … right temple … left temple … right ear … left ear … right eyebrow … left eyebrow …middle of the eyebrows … right eye … left eye … right nostril … left nostril … right cheek
… left cheek … upper lip …lower lip … both lips together … chin … jaw … throat … right collarbone … left collarbone … right side of the chest …left side of the chest … upper abdomen … navel … lower abdomen … right groin … left groin … the pelvic floor.

The whole right leg … whole left leg … whole right arm … whole left arm … the whole face … the whole head … the whole torso … the whole body … the whole body … the whole body.

Prana- Bring you awareness now to your breath. Feel the breath entering into the body through your nostrils, Follow the breath as it moves into chest and abdomen. Follow the breath as it moves from abdomen, to chest and back through the nostrils. Feel enlivened by the inhale and relaxed by the exhale. Then, feel each breath as energy, and begin to count your breaths up to 12, and then back down again.

Welcome Your Feelings - Without judging or trying to change anything, acknowledge any feelings and or emotions that are currently present within you. If you notice something specific, like tension for example, acknowledge how that feels and then try to imagine the opposite feeling or emotion. Now acknowledge these feelings:

Anger – Calmness
Fear – Courage
Shame – Confidence
Kindness – Cruelty
Envy – Gratitude
Guilt – Pride
Shyness – Outgoing

Imagine yourself walking in a park on an early weekday morning. It’s warm out already and the way the sun is coming up you just know it’s going to be a hot day. There’s still some dew on the blades of grass that you can feel as you walk through the park barefoot. It’s a beautiful day. The air is clear and light and you feel the sun on your shoulders, forehead and nose.

You come upon a pool that has the greatest color of blue steam coming off the top of it. You’ve never seen this color before and it takes your breath away. It’s a light blue with a silver cast to it. It’s like the glare off a diamond. It pulls you closer. You can see through the steam that there are wide stairs leading into the pool and you decide to walk in.

You feel incredible on the tops of your submerged feet, your toes and heels feel like they’ve been dipped in paraffin wax. You take another step. The same feeling has engulfed your ankles and the start of your calves. You take another step. This feeling is now just below your knees and you feel so warm, calm and relaxed that you decide to keep going deeper into the water. It’s up to your waste your hands are submerged, then your chest, shoulders and neck. You lift your hands to your face to splash this water over your eyes and you realize your hands are dry. You dip your face into the steaming pool. You can breath. You breath in the most beautiful color of blue deep into your lungs. You feel it’s healing and nourishing attributes throughout your body. You feel safe and secure and loved. Your skin feels soft and subtle. You feel like your body is reversing in age but you are getting wiser by the second.

There’s nothing on your mind. You are simply enjoying the moment taking it all in, secretly hoping it doesn’t end. You are swimming through this color of bluish silver from one end of this pool to the other when you automatically propel your head up and out of the pool. When you come back down on the side of the pool you splash water. Real water. The blue silver steam is gone.

You feel a strong cold breeze come out of the trees and you understand it’s time for you to go.

All of a sudden, a breeze carries a piece of paper the same color as the blue silver steam to your feet. You bend over and pick it up. The note reads: You can always return to this magical place by closing your eyes and letting your imagination take over. Visit when life becomes stressful and enter the pool by taking a deep breath in to the pool.

Now is the time to repeat your sankalpa, your resolution, the same sankalpa you
repeated at the beginning with the same feeling & gratitude. Please repeat your sankalpa 3 X to yourself

Reflect on the practice - Reflect on how this practice has made you feel. Then, begin to move outward again, becoming aware of body and breath. Become aware of the floor & the position of your body lying on the floor. Visualize the room around you, become aware of your surroundings. Lie quietly for a few more moments & keep your eyes closed. Begin moving your body slowly, please take your time, there is no hurry. When you are sure you are wide awake begin to move away from your practice, moving body, changing positions, stretching etc.

This completes your yoga nidra practice.

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