By Jo Mooy
Words are thin coverings to describe the deep states of relaxation, peace, and insight you can achieve with a Yoga Nidra meditation practice.
Yoga Nidra is a physiological state of deep relaxation while remaining aware. The practice takes you into a state similar to the one between sleep and waking. It’s brief and feels a bit like dreaming as thoughts disassociate and float freely. In this state, you become a passive observer, as visionary images pass by in an altered state of reality freeing consciousness to explore this remarkable and unconstrained world.
Yoga Nidra is an ancient Eastern meditation practice of conscious deep sleep where the conscious mind recedes yet the individual remains aware. As thoughts are allowed to dissolve the unconscious associations and impressions are released. Under the guidance of a tutored practitioner, supreme stillness results. The practitioner mentally touches parts of the body in a prescribed manner awakening subtle energies in the body. Individuals experience a thought-free state where peacefulness and insights into aspects of the self can be realized. In an ultra-Yoga Nidra state, the highest states of cosmic unity can be experienced.
A Personal Journey Within
The voice of the meditation teacher was mellow and flowing. She was leading the “Golden Egg” Yoga Nidra practice. Following her voice, I entered the state of relaxed breathing, aware that each breath took me further into deep relaxation. I mentally touched the various parts of my body being called out by the teacher. I was intensely focused on my right hand, right thumb, forearm, and shoulder, moving down the torso to the hips and legs and toes. I continued the practice, focusing on the left side of my body, then repeating the process as the teacher’s voice continued. She said, “I am alert and aware and practicing Yoga Nidra.”
In the state between deep relaxation and awareness, I experienced the air pressure all around me, pushing my body, and its millions of cells down, as the hard floor rose up to support it. I felt my body begin to meld with the floor. It was no longer separate from it. Instead, I could energetically see and identify the illumined cells that were mine and those of the floor, even as they magnetically floated together while holding the suggestion of shape. The teacher’s voice, which had disappeared for how long I don’t know, was consciously heard again saying, “I am alert and aware and practicing Yoga Nidra.”
As she began to recite a series of unrelated images, I immediately fell back into the previous state I’d been in. This time, despite her saying “a candle at midnight—a dog in the park”—a child with her mother” there were no forms or formations. Sound disappeared. There was no light. A conscious random thought struggling to be heard; it asked where’s the light? A distant answering—“knowing”—said here there is no light. There’s only deep stillness and peace.
I’ve practiced Yoga Nidra for 10 years but never experienced this state. Words are thin coverings to describe what happened. I dissolved into formlessness. I was both conscious and unconscious. I was nowhere and everywhere at the same time. I was vibration. I was stillness. I was sound. I was silence. I was nothing and I was everything. I slipped into the most profound and sweet peacefulness I’d ever experienced. When her voice reached me somewhere deep down inside the “Golden Egg, I heard her say, “I am alert and aware and practicing Yoga Nidra.” Every atom and shred of consciousness rebelled. I did not want to leave that peacefulness. But the human voice was persistently calling me out.
Yoga Nidra is a compelling practice. Done regularly, it will lead to deep states of relaxation. It calms the mind and balances the emotions. Some use it nightly to restore the body and induce sleep. Mystics say one hour of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to four hours of deep sleep. In my experience doing the “Golden Egg” Yoga Nidra it was so much more.
Jo Mooy has studied with many spiritual traditions over the past 40 years. The wide diversity of this training allows her to develop spiritual seminars and retreats that explore inspirational concepts, give purpose and guidance to students, and present esoteric teachings in an understandable manner. Along with Patricia Cockerill, she has guided the Women’s Meditation Circle since January 2006 where it has been honored for five years in a row as the “Favorite Meditation” group in Sarasota, FL, by Natural Awakenings Magazine. Teaching and using Sound as a retreat healing practice, Jo was certified as a Sound Healer through Jonathan Goldman’s Sound Healing Association. She writes and publishes a monthly internationally distributed e-newsletter called Spiritual Connections and is a staff writer for Spirit of Maat magazine in Sedona. For more information go to www.starsoundings.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.