Updated: Nov 5, 2022
Achieve peak performance and create a life of your design with conscious rest: A Yoga Nidra Soundbath. This is your guide for what to expect as a participant, the sequence of a Yoga Nidra practice and everything you will need to know about this unique experience.
Ever feel exhausted, burned out, or find yourself yawning even though its day time? Is it difficult for you to fall asleep at night or even at all? Yoga Nidra is an ancient practice originating in India that is easy to do and kid friendly and could be the golden ticket to your sleep and wellbeing issues.
I have been practicing and teaching Yoga for nearly 2 decades and recall the first class I ever took. The movement and poses were challenging and made me sweat! But the most memorable part was at the end, we laid down, the lights turned out and the teacher guided us through a body scan. I don't remember much of what she said after because I passed out and probably 5-10 minutes later I was awoken from the sound of my own snoring! Needless to say, I needed that nap and it's still a main reason I continue to go back on my mat. Adequate rest is essential for overall health.
My career as a massage therapist further enables me to know, the importance of rest. I see the profound effects from relaxation everyday in each of my clients. Within 1 hour of bodywork, how a person can come in chatty, complaining of pain or even emotionally off and once deeply relaxed I can physically see how their body naturally shifts into alignment. Their voice drops an octave, they walk out with smoother stride and a smile on their face. I know with all the information out there, how hard it is to find real accounts of information; so I am coming from my direct experience and practice on these modalities. My family listens to guided Yoga Nidras on apps such as Insight Timer every night to ensure restful sleep.
What is a Yoga Nidra Soundbath and what are the benefits?
A Yoga Nidra Soundbath is a systematic approach to taming your busy mind and directing your attention inward. During a Yoga Nidra Soundbath we are directed out of the external stimuli of everyday tasks and invited to rest and take a journey through the senses. Our body consciously prompts "off" of muscular guarding, our eyes soften to close, our breath extends and deepens, and the room is filled with the pure resonant sounds and vibrations of singing bowls which are tuned specifically to hertz that create harmony, peace and healing. Yoga Nidra is both the practice and the state between wakefulness and sleep. Adding the layer of a Soundbath ensures an energetic recalibration of mind and body.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra and Soundbaths:
-Lowers levels of inflammation
-Improves Self awareness
-Better skin and health and a more youthful appearance
-Decreased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease
-Emotional regeneration and better relationships.
-Decreases stress levels
-Helps eliminate insomnia and restlessness
-Enhanced function of immune system
-Greater self trust and positivity
-A effective form of self care and nurturing
-Active relaxation trains one to know when they are needing more rest and recovery.
-Reduces burnout, panic attacks and overwhelm.
-Induces the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS): our ability to rest, digest, regulate and heal.
What to expect from the Yoga Nidra and Soundbath Practice
There are 8 parts to make this experience whole and complete, I will briefly list and explain each.
1) Preparation: You will be invited to lie down on your back, get comfortable, support with folded blankets and pillows under the neck and knees for an anti gravity effect-f this is not comfortable for any reason, you are welcomed to sit up or move around until our find your best position to relax into. You will be prompted to make any further adjustments to feel more balanced and symmetrical. Allow gravity and the heaviness of the bones to settle you in and connect you more to the ground. A few rounds of the squeeze and release techniques for the limbs to get any guarding or unconscious holding patterns out of the body. Here's how: clench a fist and engage all the muscles of your forearm and upper arm. Hold for 10 seconds, breathing throughout, release completely and let your palm and fingers naturally open up. Do both arms and legs and feet. Perhaps that carries on and you try your face, your back, your whole body. At 10secs each that's less then 1 minute for you to notice the effects.
Sense the lightness of the clothes and air on your skin. Notice the fragrance in the room. Begin to watch closely as you breathe in and out to become more present. Observe all sounds near and far. Choose to remain still. Easily and effortlessly, soften into stillness.
2) Sankalpa- sowing a seed of transformation. This is a personal and intuitive phrase, sentence or visualization that arises within you when your mind softens and your heart speaks. It is a goal or wish. It is merging the subconscious with the conscious and you will know when it feels just right. Most people don't know what they want, so give it time and practice prompting your higher Self. Become the antenna for the download. The perfect sankalpa will form and when it is realized, you will have strengthened this inner knowing and have space for the next one to stream. This is where you can begin to create the life you want.
3) Progressive Body Scan: A calling out to specific points of the body to relax. For example, the center of the forehead, the root of the tongue, the base of your throat, the right shoulder, the right elbow, the forearm the right thumb, index, middle, ring, pinkie. We go through the entire body front and back, side to side. Letting go of physical tension is the portal to clearing old emotional baggage and energetic blocks that keep us sick and unfulfilled.
4) Breath Awareness (2 techniques offered, we will practice 1 during the session.)
Internal counting: I.T. is an anchoring tool to staying present. Observing the natural in and out flow of breath as it leaves no room for distracting thoughts of the past or worrisome ideas of the future. The counting is silent and to oneself. Feel free to count down from 100 without any goal in mind to get to. When the mind does inevitably wonder, notice that without judgment or story and begin again.
Specific Bodily Sensation: S.B.S. Similar to I.T. is another tool to train the mind to focus. Choose a particular body part and hold all your attention there. While the inhale and exhale move in and out of that S.B.S. notice any and all subtle feelings that come. Does it move, shift or change? Is there pain? What is the temperature? For example, let's choose the upper lip. Notice the feeling of cool air on the inhale coming in, and the warmed air on the exhale going out. Let your mind settle on sensing the nuances of each moment. Maintain an inner gaze towards the rhythmic and consistent inhale and exhale. Each breath is a new experience. Layers unfold. Strengthen your ability to maintain awareness of the sensations of the body with the freshness of each in and out breath.
5) Visualization: You will be guided through descriptive language to form peaceful images of yourself in nature and enjoying life. For example: You are sitting atop a large stone at the foot of a cascading waterfall. Looking ahead, lush greenery blooms. Wild flowers in every color dazzled by the sun shining above. You breathe in the refreshing cool mist of the air. Every breath you take is like a tonic revitalizing you. Hearing the sounds of water waves splashing behind puts you at ease. You are smiling, gratitude and peace fill you...
A full body listening experience. Intentionally utilizing the therapeutic and restorative frequencies such as 432Hz to harmonize the body and mind. Instruments such as the shamanic drum, chakra tuned crystal quartz singing bowls, chimes, tingshas and Tibetan singing bowls are intuitively played. Observe where in the body you feel or see these sounds. With your permission, the practitioner will even come near and play over or directly on the body.
7) Sankalpa: A prompt to return attention to the original intention. What is the next right action(s) for you to take to see it through? Affirm your patience and do diligence towards realizing that heartfelt wish. Repeat to yourself 3 times that powerful phrase or vision in your mind as the present tense. Confirm it as the Truth NOW with full feeling and faith. And so it is. For example: I am peaceful and have all the time I need this week to take care of myself the best I know how.
A sound of a bell is heard and will begin a gradual awaking back to the physical. Verbal cues are given to help keep this time quiet and slow. Gentleness is setting the tone for the rest of the day. Finding your upright seated position, final words of love and reverence close the practice.
Start your Yoga Nidra ritual tonight.
If you've gotten this far and feel the call to prioritize your rest game, it's time you start to implementing some of the practices of Yoga Nidra. After all, "Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory" as stated by Sri K Pattabhi Jois. Meaning, don't believe everything you hear. Better yet, try it out yourself and let me know your take on it. You can start tonight. Before you close your eyes while laying in bed, try the squeeze and release technique.
Check out the free guided Yoga Nidras on YouTube, podcasts, and on free meditation apps like Insight Timer (a personal fave) or the like. Sometimes it takes a few try's to find the right medium and soothing voice you can drift off to but its so worth it when you do find what works. Give your new nightly routine 2 weeks and track in your journal or phone notes how you feel each morning.
Thank you for being here and reading til the end! Now that you know more about the Yoga Nidra practice and this unique Sound Bath experience I hope you feel curious enough to invite a friend and sign up for a private session or reserve your space in the next upcoming event! The monthly group Soundbaths I offer are hosted in Richland, WA. with the next one scheduled for November 6th 2022 at 5pm and the link to pre-register is here:
Please check out my site www.chastityljewel.com for more upcoming dates and events like this one as they come up! Feel free to leave a comment below if you have ever gone to a Sound Bath and if so, want to share your insights from the experience.
Thank you to my son, Noah, for always being open to the many modalities mama loves to experiment with. For the record, Noah said everyone needs to try this, because it feels good, and that he felt like Eleven from Stranger Things with some of the visions that came through his mind.