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Friday, February 14, 2014

fitting a nap into your workout

Does that sound as appealing to you as it does to me? If so, you are just gonna love my experience with yoga nidra, kids.

A couple Saturdays ago a yoga teacher whose restorative/deep stretch class I really enjoy was holding a workshop on yin, restorative, and yoga nidra. I've done and enjoyed the first two. The third I was all WTF? about, but intrigued, especially when I saw it was described as sleep yoga. Just the concept of that was fascinating enough for me to arrange for a co-worker to cover a few hours of my shift Saturday so I could leave work early to attend. When I googled yoga nidra and read that it was supposed to put you into a lucid dreaming-like state, well, then I was really reeled in.  The whole concept of being awake and asleep at the same time fascinates me.  Plus, for someone who lives in their own head as much as I do, the promise of it being actually productive/healthy/not just daydreaming is like a siren's call.  NO, I am NOT lying down in a dark, warm room covered with a blankie and letting my mind wander, I am MEDITATING, muthafuckah.

Except, yeah, I ended up lying down in a dark, warm room, covered with a blankie, letting my mind wander. It was cool.

We did the yin and restorative parts of the class first and there were a lot of hip and low back openers that we held for long periods of time--which was awesome for me, as those are just what I need, but it was fairly demanding. My groin/adductors were screaming from keeping my legs spread. (Shut up.)  So when the teacher started transitioning us in the yoga nidra, I was certainly ready to lie down comfortably, pull my blanket over me and listen.  She said that in the training/workshop she'd taken some people had actually fallen asleep and snored loudly, which was somewhat disruptive to the other students, so if any of us started sawing wood so to speak, she was going to just come and gently place a hand on us to wake us.  Otherwise we were just going to lie there, listen to her, and let our minds go through the three layers of...something. I forget. But there were definitely three layers involved.

I do not think, boys and girls, that I actually fell asleep. I didn't need to be prodded at any rate, and when she told us during the meditation that we were going to start transitioning out of it, I heard her perfectly. I didn't startle the way you usually do when you doze and wake.  But before she told us we were going to "come back", I was definitely somewhere else.  I was trying to explain it to my friend M2, and all I could liken it to was the breathwork class our mutual friend S and I attended once while we were in massage school, a class which was sorta like yoga if all the yoga was pranayama. I remember getting whacked out on endorphins in that breathwork class and leaving there feeling better than I had in months. The effect of the yoga nidra wasn't as strong, but it was also much shorter, just perhaps the last 20 minutes of the yin/restorative/nidra class.

Anyway.  It was cool.  Would do again. And since Mr Google helpfully provided me with the location of an ongoing yoga nidra class in the Boston area, probably *will* do again.


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