Module 3

Don't Think Everything You Believe: Moving Past the Rational Mind and Understanding Thoughts, Emotions, and Beliefs

I'm really excited about this module, everybody. It deals with some pretty amazing parts of our being that are really easy to identify with: thoughts, emotions, and beliefs.

Practicing Yoga Nidra can be a powerful tool to eliminate anxiety, heartache, loss, and other emotions that are limiting you from SOURCING YOUR TRUE POWER. It's powerful because through the Yoga Nidra process, we start to identify with Awareness rather than emotions. Like everything, this change takes practice. But hey, that's exactly what we are practicing by taking this course.

In this module we discuss two very important aspects of our being, the center of our thoughts and emotions (Manomaya Kosha) and the center of our beliefs and symbols/dreams (Vijnanamaya Kosah).

These two koshas both lie within the realm of the mind, however they differ enough that I felt the need to make  two different Yoga Nidra recordings, one to emphasize our relationship with our emotions and the other to use our archetypes to talk some wisdom to our rational mind. One Yoga Nidra practice would have been too long and would have diluted the potency of understanding these two koshas on their own.

We will be working with emotions in SYTP Yoga Nidra Part 1. You will become very relaxed through the first part of the practice and then I will invite you to become aware of an emotion that has been arising for you recently. If you feel that working with that emotion would be counter productive, too deep or painful, I would invite you to skip the first Yoga Nidra practice and go directly the the second. If you are ready for an interesting look at emotions or are ready to do some emotional work/healing then go for it. Both are great practices which last about 22 minutes.



Check out the Questions section at the bottom of this module. Many people have responded with some great questions about the practice. I've really enjoyed many thoughtful and well-worded questions. Thank you.

If you have a question, submit it in the form at the bottom of this page.

Don't forget to check out the SYTP Facebook Page. Check it out, add comments, and meet other people in your Yoga Nidra community.

Outline of Discussion Module 3

Don't Think Everything You Believe: Moving Past the Rational Mind and Understanding Thoughts, Emotions, and Beliefs

Thoughts, emotions, and beliefs are powerful elements in our lives. For many, they seem to rule our lives. Yoga Nidra is a powerful tool to understand our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs for what they are and begin to see them with a proper perspective.

In the last module we began our discussion about the different realms of our being called the maya kosha. Known as the illusion layers, by their definition the maya koshas are the parts of us that change. By understanding our maya koshas, we can learn to not identify with the changeable parts of our beings but rather to use them as a way of exposing our True Self, Awareness.

Specifically, in this module we are discussing the Manomaya Kosha (mind: thoughts and emotions) and the Vijnanamaya Kosha (beliefs, dreams, and deep wisdom).

Just like everything else in the maya kosha realms, our thoughts, emotions, and even beliefs change. To think of them as reality is a misidnetification away from your True Nature, Awareness. By understanding your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs for what they are, you dismantle their control over you. Instead you begin to identify with Awareness that experiences emotions, thought, or belief, for example, without confounding your identity as that emotion, thought, or belief.

Like everything, learning to use an emotion as a method of experiencing your True Self may seem like a tall order. Of course it may take practice to be aligned with Awareness enough to become objective about harsh thoughts or emotions but hey, that's what we are practicing by taking this course, right?

Some cool things about our mind realm, the manomaya kosha:

Things like anxiety, fear, or heartbreak, can't co-exist while you are relaxed. That's big! It is one reason why we emphasize relaxation so often as we begin the Yoga Nidra process. When relaxed, you may then observe any emotion arise and see it for what it is: an interesting part of you that changes and that ultimately may help you grow greater Awareness. Not Truth, not who you are.

Practicing switching between perceived opposite emotions is a skillful way of stimulating your brain and allowing you to witness and be with, rather than react to, certain emotional states. Remember that sometimes this takes practice but can be very effective even from the first practice of doing this.

In the late 1950's, Wolpe added to Pavlovs previous ground-breaking work by developing a treatment for anxiety using counter-conditioning. He stated that anxiety symptoms were lessened or eliminated when stressors were presented gradually and also systematically and paired with a relaxation response.* Relax and then address your emotion to see it with the right perspective. Remember you are Awareness that experiences emotion, not emotion itself.

Habituation is when you bringing attention to something that is persistent and in so doing the stimulation eventually loses its power to cause a reaction. It's like sleeping through white noise. Once your mind has heard the noise, can acknowledge it, it can stop becoming agitated by it and simply move on. It can relax. The sound (or other stimulation, read pain or emotions) may still exist, but they don't have the same power over your mind.

Failure to acknowledge where you are in life ironically keeps you locked in that place like a prisoner. Don't deny the emotion, for example. Rather, Yoga Nidra helps us to face whatever comes up for you and practice witnessing it. Therefore emotions will often lose their power to control your life.

Again, we work directly with some emotions in Part 1 of the Nidra recording. If you don't feel up to the this practice, maybe there is an emotion which is too fresh or too painful, you may choose to skip this recording and go to the practice labeled Part 2.

Some cool things about the layer of beliefs, symbol, and dreams, the vignanamaya kosha:

It lies beneath our rational mind. P.S. "rational" isn't Reality (with a capital R)--it's just the best way our brains seem to create an order in an otherwise chaotic world the best it can. 

A compounded thought turns into a belief. Think it long enough and you actually believe it. Like everything else in this Universe, beliefs are neither True or not true. They are just beliefs. They come and go.

Archetypes are a fascinating way of examining the Vijnanamaya Kosha. When I think of a wise person, I think of Gandalf, the wizard from Lord of the Rings. He is my archetype I hold for my inner-wisdom.  If I were to summon that wise person inside of me, the one that knows the answers and can tell me where to go, I'd think of Gandalf and see what he says. I know that Gandalf is really just the deep wisdom part of me.

Remember that what comes up when we examine our dreams, symbols, and archetypes, lies beneath our rational mind and therefore doesn't always make sense, nor does it need to. Just have fun with it and see if it speaks to you. If not, think of it as an interesting way to practice paying attention and move on. It's like examining your dreams for symbols that might represent something happening in the conscious realm. Just have fun with it.

As always, our primary objective is Awareness. Allow everything that presents itself as you welcome, recognize, and witness it, as a tool to practice Awareness.

Enjoy exploring the Manomaya and Vijnanamaya Kosahs!


Yoga Nidra Practice

Connect with each other! If you "do the Facebook," I encourage you to join the Facebook group to stay connected with your fellow students and to offer comments and questions, to have conversations with the group and see what others are saying.


Additional Resources:

iRest with Dr. Richard Miller

* Wolpe, J. (1958). Psychotherapy by reciprocal inhibition. Stanford. Stanford University Press.