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Yoga Nidra is better than drugs. If you don’t know, it’s a guided meditation where you lie down and get extremely relaxed, and drift into that in-between state of consciousness to actually become very aware. As you listen to me lead you through the practice, you gain a beautiful and broad perspective about life, problems, and the simple joy of being awake to the beauties of this world. I’ve been studying and practicing Yoga Nidra for over a decade and anymore when I do Yoga Nidra I am led through the very same process of keen awareness as I am facilitating for my students.
So, one evening when I lived in New York, I had just finished a particularly beautiful and heart opening Yoga Nidra practice. I was teaching at Pure Yoga in Manhattan and as I was walking down Amsterdam Avenue to go and catch the red line back home to Brooklyn. And because of this Yoga Nidra practice that I’d just taught and simultaneously experienced, my entire being felt an absolute surge of well-being and love— I was absolutely brimming with joy. At that moment, it felt as if my eyes suddenly had a super-human focus, like I could see more than 77 blocks down Amsterdam Ave, all the way to the Hudson and that they could see every detail, from the birds landing on the light posts to the dirt in the gutter and all of it felt somehow like an expression of love. I floated down the street with a smile on my face feeling like nothing could ever be so perfect. As I passed people on the street, everyone from the homeless guy to the stressed out business guy, it felt like I could feel into everyone’s heart and could feel everyone’s inherent goodness. Experiences like this are not rare in Yoga Nidra and they are one of the simple reasons that I love this practice so much.
My Heart Was Full
It reminds me of a story that one of my favorite profs in college told me. His name was Leslie Norris and he was an old, wise, and brilliant poet. He knew the Romantic poets so well he could talk about them like they were his neighbors. By the way, if you’re curious what an English major does for a living, this is it. So, in this real-life story, poet William Wordsworth is feeling a lot of pressure from his guardians. His parents have died, as he is emerging into adulthood, he will soon be in charge of taking care of himself and his sister. All he wants to do in life is to write poetry but that doesn’t pay the bills so he’s receiving a lot of pressure to join the clergy instead. Well, one morning he’s walking home in the early twilight through the hills and grasslands near the sea. The landscape is blowing his mind, totally gorgeous, and his senses are completely alive. He’s about ready to burst from joy. And in that moment of intense beauty he gets a revelation from the powers that be that poetry was what he is meant to do in life. He clearly understood that the Universe was telling him loud and clear that poetry was his path. And from that moment forward never looked back. He went on to be, well, William Wordsworth, the Michael Jordan of the Romantic poets. The poem goes like this, it’s from his magnum opus The Prelude.
The morning was, a memorable pomp,
More glorious than I ever had beheld.
The sea was laughing at a distance; all
The solid mountains were as bright as clouds,
Grain-tinctured, drenched in empyrean light;
And in the meadows and the lower grounds
Was all sweetness of a common dawn –
Dews, vapours, and the melody of birds,
And labourers going forth into the fields.
Ah, need I say, dear friend, that to the brim
My heart was full? I made no vows, but vows
Were then made for me: bond unknown to me
Was given, that I should be – else sinning greatly –
A dedicated spirit. On I walked
In blessedness, which even yet remains.
Expert from Prelude by William Wordsworth
All that to say, that on that day after teaching Yoga Nidra, as I was walking down Amsterdam Ave totally brimming with life’s fullness, I had a Wordsworth moment. I felt that this practice of sharing Yoga Nidra with the world is the way in which the Universe has blessed me to feel Universal love and the way in which I get to share it back to the Universe and that it was a responsibility to share it lest I be “sinning greatly.”
Yoga Nidra Training
So I have the privilege, and frankly the responsibility, to share Yoga Nidra. It’s totally my jam and I love it. I’ll be sharing it tonight at a Yoga Nidra class at 21st Yoga and for those who want to really go deep, I’m so thrilled to be spending 20 hours teaching Yoga Nidra in a teacher training/immersion—This. Weekend.
About the training, if you’re a yoga teacher, awesome—Yoga Nidra is an essential tool to add to your teaching tool belt. If you’re just interested in the practice, there’s no better way to understand it than diving deep. If you’re a parent, teacher, or therapist, this could be an essential tool to help you help the people you are privileged to guide and nurture. The last time I did this training someone joined so they could learn to help their therapy clients better deal with stress. Someone else joined because they wanted to lower the teen-suicide rates in their school district. Another person joined because she was a family law attorney and wanted something to help her clients meet the challenge of divorce as mindfully as possible.
So how does it work, how does this relaxing guided meditation have such a powerful effect on people? It’s so powerful because this practice very skillfully leads you experience your True Nature, the part of you that feels wholeness and Universal love. When you are in conversation with the part of you that is fundamentally whole, everything heals.
This weekend is going to be life-changing. I’m not over selling this. There will be a lot of Yoga Nidra practice, chances to practice teaching to each other. You’ll learn how to lead yourself through this practice. You’ll receive a really solid PDF manual with Yoga Nidra scripts that you can start using on day 1 and which will serve as a foundation from which you can learn to personalize and build your own practices. Also, I’m offering this either virtually or in-person if you’re in Salt Lake City. People from all over the world will be joining us. I’ll be recording the entire thing, both audio and video, so if the timing doesn’t work you can always watch it later. This recording will also give you an incredible Yoga Nidra library.
I really hope you can make it this weekend. Regardless, I’d love to offer this Yoga Nidra practice as a chance to experience Yoga Nidra’s power to open your heart, cuz hey all the love songs are right and all you need is love.
So as I’m wrapping this up, I want to let you know that Aug. 29–Sept.1 I’m hosting a Writing + Yoga + Nature Retreat in Harriman State Park with the one and only Nan Seymour. We’ve invited special guest, poet Maya Stein to blow our socks off with her incredible poetry. We are going to explore what happens when we open to deep awareness through Yoga Nidra and then put pen to paper and see what comes out. This is the 4th year we’ve done it and it’s been amazing every year. We have only 1 spot left and we’d love for that spot to be filled by you.
There’s no better way to practice Yoga Nidra or any other form of mindfulness than with my 30-Day Meditation challenge. It’s happening the entire month of September. The challenge is to simply meditate every day for 15 minutes or more using this great app called Insight Timer. All month I’ll be sending you instructions and encouragement. The challenge costs $30 and if you complete the challenge you can choose to either receive a full refund of your tuition or roll that into other cool meditation products that I have.
No matter what you do or don’t do with mindfulness, I just want to say thank you for picking up what I’m puttin’ down. I love doing this and it’s so nice to be on this journey with you.
May the Source be with you.