Graduate Resources-Study Recommendations
The Shadow Effect / Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford, Marianne Williamson
Self Observation / Red Hawk
The Seat of the Soul / Gary Zukav
The Road Less Traveled /Scott Peck
Mindsight / Daniel Seigel
The Divine Matrix / Gregg Braden
Changing the Habit of Being Yourself / Joe Dispenza
Biology of Belief /Bruce Lipton
Honestly Anything Allan Watts is Magic...
What are the similarities and differences between yoga nidra and hypnosis?
During both yoga nidra and hypnosis, the brain is in a hypnogogic state. This means that the mind is soft, suggestible and open to receive new information. The main difference between these two practices is that during yoga nidra the practitioner is putting in their own information and is the director of their own experience; whereas in hypnosis the hypnotist is the controller of the information and is downloading it into the practitioner. In Yoga nidra, you are actively involved in your experience and encouraged to stay awake and alert. In hypnosis, you are passively involved in your experience and encouraged to fall asleep.
Hypnotism is an effective way to download information into the subconscious mind by inducing a trance like brain state, also associated with a theta brain state. It is not considered a spiritual practice because awareness is not encouraged. It is categorized as a mind technique to enhance mind potential. Identification stays within the mind.
When is the best time to practice Yoga Nidra in the day?
The best time to practice Yoga Nidra is when you are not sleepy. This may be in the morning time just after awakening from your sleep, or at any other time that you feel attentive and alert. Try practicing at different times and journal your experience. You may find that your ability to stay awake during the practice is directly associated with the time of day that you practice.
I always fall asleep, what can I do?
Make sure you are not practicing in your bed. Your bed holds a strong association with sleep. If your intention is to stay awake position yourself in a location associated with spiritual practice or mindfulness. You may also want to try different times of the day like mid morning when the consciousness is perked up. Try a position that demands more alertness (like sitting up).
Most importantly is to make the choice to stay awake. This choice has to be stronger than the force of sleep and unconsciousness. Your intention to stay awake has to be more important to you than anything else.
Am I still receiving benefit from the practice even if I sleep?
Yes and No. There is always a part of the consciousness that is awake and aware at all times. So in that way, even though you fall unconscious it is only a portion of you that does. The benefit you will receive is falling into sleep with a focused and quiet mind. This will enhance the depth of your rest and give some relief to the mind. But you will remain unaware of awareness itself.
Maintaining a relaxed awareness throughout the practice will not only bring about total relaxation of body and mind (equalling 3-4 hours of deep sleep), but it will also reveal the part of the consciousness that is in wholeness, connection with source/ the divine, at the core of our being. This awakening to the part that is not the ego, the body, the mind, or even the prana, can be life altering.
I don’t see anything during my practice, am I doing it wrong?
No! There is no way to do yoga nidra wrong. Every experience is exactly as it is. There is no measurement, standard, or specific experiences to receive. You may experience a lot of visuals or none at all, this is a side product of the practice. Do not get lost in distraction and cravings of the mind.
Is yoga nidra the same as meditation?
Yoga nidra is a practice of pratyahara - the 5th limb of ashtanga yoga. Because the auditory channel is still active it is still a preparatory experience to meditation.
It prepares the mind to come into spontaneous concentration and one pointedness which make you more accident prone for meditation.
It is still a practice and therefore not quite meditation however it can very well lead to meditation if the auditory channel is suspended for a length of time.
Yoga nidra is also a state of consciousness which is associated with an alpha Brain state. Qualities of this state are an increase in alertness, focus, relaxation of mind and body. These are similar to meditation.
What can I do if a student is snoring really loud?
Snoring during a yoga nidra class can be a very common experience. When the body enters quieter brain states, a student may snore while still maintaining awareness. They are usually surprised when they realize it is them who is snoring.
However, more often the snoring is a result of loss of attention in the practice. As a teacher you have a few options of what to do.
If you feel that the snoring is too distracting for other students you can:
State very firmly ‘stay awake and aware. Make sure that you are not sleeping and that you are maintaining awareness in the practice’.
You can stand close to them and state the clear instructions to stay awake. Sometimes the physical presence of the teacher is enough to perk up their consciousness.
You can gently squeeze their ankle and give them a little nudge. You do not want to startle them so staying away from the face is important.
If they are repeated ‘snorers’ in your group, you may have a private conversation with them about different options to stay awake. Have them position themselves closer to you so the sound link is strong. Explore a few different options for positions that may encourage more wakefulness.
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