A Powerful Tool to Manage Stress
We all feel stress. It’s normal. Why not have some productive tools to help manage it when it comes and help manage it before our stress gets out of control?
Mindfulness is a wonderful tool to manage stress. One of the reason it works so well is because it helps to interrupt the downward cycle of stress and panic responses.
Much of our stress is the product of not being present – we project into the future or the past. With mindfulness practices like Yoga Nidra and Yoga, we identify with our Observer Self rather than with momentary emotions like stress, even if they don’t feel momentary at the time. With practice, we discover that we are much larger than our stress.
With this Awareness, we aren’t rocked so hard when stress does come. We remain present and don’t project into the future or regress to the past causing us to spin into a downward spiral of stress.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is like a relaxing guided meditation that helps you discover a keen Awareness. You lie down, close your eyes and listen to the voice of the yoga teacher leading you into a deeper awareness by becoming aware of sensations, thoughts, emotions, etc.
In fact, Yoga Nidra helps you to experience yourself as Awareness itself and to see the changeable elements like stress in your life as fleeting events that may orbit toward and away from you.
Yoga Nidra allows you the perspective to see things like stress as simply another way to practice Awareness. Consequently, stress won’t take hold of you the way that it can when you identify with it, whether you do so consciously or unconsciously.
Yoga Nidra is so relaxing that you may fall asleep. If so, that’s ok! The part of you the yoga teacher is speaking to is a deep part of your consciousness and is still paying attention. It’s sometimes nice to stay awake to remember in waking consciousness the experience of doing the practice, however it’s still effective even if you fall asleep. Besides, if you’re doing this for stress relief, what better way to practice being Stress Free than with a nap!
As Yoga Nidra teacher, Dr. Richard Miller says, you have a three-part mission while practicing Yoga Nidra and that’s to welcome, recognize, and witness. That’s all.
As you lie there and listen to the recording, simply greet everything that comes into your awareness (welcome), give it a name and see it for what it is (recognize), then practice not valuing it or having an opinion about it and simply witness.
Spontaneous things may happen, like you may become aware of the presence of physical sensations, emotions, even feelings of bliss. Your job is always to simply welcome, recognize and witness whatever comes your way. This will help you experience yourself as larger than your emotions, but also as something that is expressed by the changeable things in your life like emotions.
In the Yoga Nidra recording, through a visualization practice, we establish an inner-sanctuary, a place where you feel relaxed, comfortable, and alive. If you experience anything in Yoga Nidra that you don’t want to welcome, recognize, and witness, maybe extreme emotions, as explained in the recording, you may always go back in your mind to your inner sanctuary.
It’s important to remember that Yoga Nidra is an experience and not an intellectual exercise. Understanding what it is and how it works isn’t the experience. Just practice it and see the magic of Yoga Nidra for yourself. The discovery of how it works through this discussion may help you to experience Yoga Nidra but is not the experience.
Relaxation! Neuroscience shows us that you can’t be stressed and relaxed at the same time. That’s one reason why you will become very relaxed as you practice Yoga Nidra. Whenever you feel stressed, do also breathing exercises.
As you practice these techniques, you’ll begin to feel stress less and less and when you do, it will be less severe.
Februray 21, 2018