Taking Care of Yourself – Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is a meditative yoga practice for deep healing and relaxation–I playfully refer to it as “supervised nap time”  It is actually physically really easy–anyone can do it–you basically lie on the floor, and go thru a guided meditation that takes you deep into yourself and allows you to work thru all the emotional angst you are experiencing in a very safe supported environment.

This practice has been used successfully with returning veterans who are experiencing PTSD.  It is sanctioned by the US Army Surgeon General for use in at least 30 VA hospitals across the country with great results.  The benefits on returning soldiers can not be under emphasized, it is allowing these men and women to return to their normal lives in a happy well adjusted manner despite all the trauma they have experienced.  So if it can help people who have been in war torn regions and seen horrific things–it can help you.

Most of us targeted parents are experiencing free floating anxiety, depression and some PTSD traits ourselves.  The trauma inflicted by the experience of Alienation is, as I have said before, ongoing and relentless.  I am not relating it to the atrocities that returning vets have seen, except that we too experience some of the same symptoms.  We store our emotions in our body and our minds simply cannot put it to rest.

You can use yoga nidra to find your unshakable inner peace….you will learn how to get to that place and how to stay in that place.  Yoga Nidra allows you to safely examine your beliefs and your responses, it helps create the space you need between your emotional response and your cognitive response.  It helps you learn who you really are and what you are capable of.  All without having to get up off the floor.

The first time I experienced yoga nidra, was two months after my son had moved out.  I was a self proclaimed mess, I was obsessed and miserable.  I found, for the first time, a place of peace.  My mind shut down and I experienced a deep sense of relaxation and bliss.  Most importantly I found that this sense of relaxation and bliss was internal…I could access it at any time after I was shown it existed.  I bought a few CD’s and attended a few other classes… I use the CD’s whenever the feelings and obsession arise again.  I go to classes when I can and I teach my students the benefits of Yoga Nidra.

Why is this helpful?  I can’t speak for anyone else–but I know that finding some sense of inner peace and relief from the constant worry, questioning, blaming, anxiety, anger and depression seemed impossible for me at the time.  I am anxious and high strung by nature so I was craving a sense of peace and an escape from the constant mental anguish.  I found it, even if temporarily in Yoga Nidra.  I was hooked…I am not a meditative person by nature, my brain is in constant chatter mode….and that chatter is not always pleasant….so if lying on a floor, listening to a guided mediation into my body and senses gets me out of my head–I assure you it will help you get out of yours.  Even if that relief is only temporary–it exists and it is a gift for that moment.  The fact that it exists–means you can learn how to get there on a regular basis–in a healthy way.

I know we can all escape  our incessent mental chatter by using drugs or alcohol– but to find a means of escape that is good for you, long lasting and helps change your neural pathways so you can cope better with ever other part of your life?  That was a blessing that came disguised as a supervised nap.

Look around your local community for yoga nidra classes, sometimes it is called sleep yoga, irest yoga, or divine rest yoga.  You can do a web search for a yoga nidra teacher near you, or just call your local yoga studio and ask for a referral.  Most yogis are quite happy to help direct you to practitioner if they know of one or at the very least they can direct you to local resources.

If you simply can not find a class near you–then you can order an at home version via CD.  Richard Miller, PhD has a great little book and CD available for sale  and Jennifer Reis has some fabulous CD’s available for sale.  I highly recommend trying out Yoga Nidra for your mental, emotional and physical well being.  You won’t be dissapointed…and to settle into peace, relaxation and serenity…is a gift you can give to yourself—you deserve it, and you need it.

As do your children–in order to reconnect with your children you have to be coming from a place of deep compassion and love–it is really hard to get to that place when you are feeling anxious, angry or depressed.  Yoga Nidra is yet another tool you can use in your arsenal to help you reconnect with your children from a place of deep acceptance and love. Use this and every tool you can to attain your goal of reconnecting with your children.