Pranayama and Meditation
Friday 6.30pm - 7.30pm, Yogahome
The class begins with settling in, grounding, centering and connecting. We then engage in Pranayama practice. Prana means life force, ayama means to extend and harness life force energy. Through the practice of Pranayama we learn how to breathe deeply, turning the mind inwards to sharpen focus and concentration. This helps to relax the nervous system and calm the mind, which is a natural stepping stone towards the stillness of meditation practice.
These classes are accessible for all stages of practitioner and all levels of experience.
I hold monthly Meditation & Yoga Nidra workshops. Please see the Workshop page for details.
The Sublime Practice of Guided Yoga Nidra Meditation
"Bliss relaxes the ātma, the inner self; that is why, in tantra, Yoga Nidra is the doorway to Samādhi.” – Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Yoga Nidra, pub. Bihar School of Yoga, 1976.
The practice of Yoga Nidra is a powerful relaxation and meditation methodology based upon the ancient tantra, developed by Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Lying down on your back supported by props to be completely comfortable, you are guided in the rotation of awareness around the body, this is known as Nyasa, which means "to place" or to take the mind to a point".The body rests in stillness and "goes to sleep", and so this practice is known as "Yogic sleep". yet the mind remains conscious and aware. This leads the mind into the Alpha state of consciousness also known as the hypnogogic state, which is the feeling of drowsiness just before you fall asleep.
In Yoga Nidra the intention is to remain in this state for an extended period of time that promotes healing, releases pain and discomfort, and is felt to be deeply relaxing on all levels of being. This sublime practice will nourish and rejuvenate you as it has a profound transformative effect that enables feelings of stress to simply melt away and time to virtually stop still. Afterwards there is a lightness of being that is felt in mind, body and spirit. You will leave feeling relaxed, refreshed, and in harmony with yourself and the universe!
Whether you’re an experienced yogi or a newcomer to the world of yoga, meditation and mind-body healing, it’s important to understand that Yoga Nidra has two different meanings.
Yoga Nidra has two distinct meanings
1. A Yoga-tantra technique
The Yoga Nidra technique enables you to remain aware while you enter into the dream and sleeping states of consciousness. The state of Yoga Nidra occurs when you can remain conscious during the deep sleep state (called prajna in the Mandukya Upanishad).
The technique is practical and easily accessible, while creating deep relaxation for health, mental peace and higher awareness. Ultimately, Yoga Nidra enables you to experience exalted states of higher consciousness.
2. An Indian philosophical concept
Modern usage of the term Yoga Nidra typically refers to the relaxation and meditation technique developed by Swami Satyananda, rather than to the state of absorption into the highest Self.
The beginnings of Yoga Nidra
Few people realize that the Swami Satyananda is the originator of Yoga Nidra. He formulated the basis of this technique while serving as a disciple of his guru, the great yoga master Swami Sivananda, in Rishikesh, India during the 1940s and early 1950s.
Swami Satyananda describes how, as a young student, he fell asleep while a nearby group of people chanted mantras – many of which he had not heard before. Even though he was deeply asleep during the chanting, when he awoke and heard these mantras again, he seemed to know them. A yogi explained to Swami Satyananda that his subtle body had heard the mantras.
Nyasa – awakening subtle energy
The characteristic feature of Yoga Nidra is the systematic rotation of consciousness in the body, which originated from the tantric process of nyasa (meaning ‘to place’ or ‘to take the mind to a point’).
During nyasa, a yogi consciously touches various parts of his or her body while repeating mantras. When this is done in the prescribed manner, the yogi can awaken subtle energy within the physical matter of the body.
Yoga Nidra is for all of us
By making highly complex and advanced techniques accessible to everyone, Swami Satyananda has offered a great contribution to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
Swami Satyananda recognized that complex and ancient tantric techniques had great potential, but needed to be translated to fit our modern lives. He saw a deep need for simple techniques with great power to reduce stress and suffering. He simplified the ancient yoga-tantra methods and made them both accessible and practical.
He also recognized that directing your awareness to a specific part of the body would relax and recharge that area – opening a doorway into other parts of the body and mind for further healing and rejuvenation.
As Swami Satyananda wrote, “The present system of Yoga Nidra, which I have devised, enables people who are unfamiliar with Sanskrit mantras to gain the full benefits of the traditional nyasa. It can be beneficially practiced by people of any religion or culture.”
 Saraswati, Swami Satyananda, Yoga Nidra, Bihar School of Yoga, 1976, p. 3