Restorative insites

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In an active asana class (Vinyasa, Flow or Ashtanga) we are learning and practicing the art of ‘doing’. Doing the pose, doing the breathing, doing the movements…. But with restorative yoga we are cultivating the art of ‘being’; Being in the pose, being with the breath, being patient, being focused, relaxed and aware.

Yoga as a whole is the art and science of being. Being human, being well, being Love, being you…..the art of restorative yoga allows us to more deeply cultivate that sense of ‘being’.

Judith Lasater refers to Restorative Yoga as ‘Active Relaxation’… that sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it. But if we aren’t actively involved in the process of learning to relax, if we are just going through the motions, then the body doesn’t respond in the way we want it to, it doesn’t actually relax. You might fall asleep during a restorative class, which is ok when you are first learning the process, but sleep is passive relaxation. We want to be able to turn on the relaxation response when we need to; we want the body to know when to relax and when to flee and then how to relax again.

When you’re doing a restorative yoga practice give consideration to gravity. Observe the gentle pull of it, the way it softly tugs at you, take time to notice it.

Throughout our daily lives we fight with gravity, we have work to stay upright, to walk, to move, just staying upright is a constant battle between us and gravity. And as we age if we think of gravity at all we think of it as the enemy. But gravity has a purpose; it holds us close to the earth….. Connected….. Tethered…. Gravity keeps us tethered to the Earth. And restorative yoga takes advantage of the tether, of that connection. Restorative yoga gives us a chance to use gravity, to work with gravity.

Now, go back to observing how the body responds to the pull that is gravity and then give up the fight, surrender to that gentle pull, honor it, it’s what keeps us from floating off into space, gravity is what grounds us.

Think of ‘being’ grounded the next time you are ‘doing’ restorative yoga and explore the tugs and pulls of gravity

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Om Shanti

Cheryl

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A brief talk about Nidra

WHAT IS YOGA NIDRA

Yoga Nidra in Sanskrit mean Yogic Sleep, but it is not sleep. It is a powerful meditation technique from the Tantra Yoga tradition. It is both a name of a state of being and of the practice that creates that change of consciousness.

The practitioner through Nidra learns to relax and to facilitate their healing and can manifest seemingly magical changes in their life, helping to clean up karmic debris in their life.

We can use different means to achieve the state of nidra but the following will always be included:

1) Pranayama: Control of breathing and the ability to control and direct Prana, the life energy force.
2) Dharana: Concentration, cultivation and heightening of inner perceptual awareness
3)Pratyharya: the withdrawl of the senses and influences of the  mind.

The stages of the Yoga Nidra Practice are usually followed the same way, whether it’s a 10 min nidra or a 45 min practice.

1) Relaxation – you begin with a preliminary preparation of the body
2) Sankalpa– A personal goal is declared silently

3) Rotation of Consciousness – we then tour the whole body in a structured fashion
4) pranayama –awareness of the breath
5) Creative Visualization – Various images are visualized mentally
6) Your Sankalpa is repeated and, now in a highly suggestible state of consciousness, is programmed into the subconscious mind.
7) Return to Full Awareness – a careful and gradual return to a normal state

So what is a Sankalpa

‘Kalpa’ means vow, and ‘san’ is a derivative of the highest truth. A sankalpa then, is like a commitment in support of the deeper meaning of our life.

A sankalpa is the resolve, determination and good intention will that resonates precisely in your core and aligns with your highest intention .  Swami Saraswati describes it as a will power that is flexible enough to account for changing circumstances changes begin to manifest in your inner and outer world.

Think of your sankalpa as the seed and your mind the garden, we plant a seed and for it to grow we must cultivate it, water it, feed it and encourage it to grow.

We can often struggle to hear our own true sankalpa. We sometimes develop it within the practice of Yoga Nidra, without really understanding what it is.

What it isn’t is a wish, or a new years resolution. It isn’t a ‘wanna’ (I wanna lose weight, I wanna quit smoking I wanna a new job). Typically this kind of statement lacks commitment; a sankalpa is a statement of deeply held fact.

Roger Miller calls it  “a heartfelt desire, the calling of your higher self our DHARMA, it is what resonates with your true soul & what speaks of your true nature”. It takes time to find your sankalpa, to develop the deeper understanding of who we are before we can truly know where we are going.

You need to learn to listen to the deep voice within. Your heartfelt calling is already there, in you waiting for you to hear it.

Learning to find what you really want is a process that takes time; you have to dig through all the preprogramming that you have, the samskaras, the grooves in our record.

  • Here are a few tipson finding your sankalpa
  • Find and follow your Bliss
  • Try don’t to string too many things together
  • Make it simple right now your samkalpha might be to take the time to find a good sankalpha
  • Keep it in the present moment – the word WILL, means will power, but can also mean in the future
  • Tap into your psyche, your inner strength
  • you can say ‘I am stronger, I am becoming healthier, I live a healthy life, I belong, I am powerful

And remember that a sankalpa made with conviction, determination & perseverance but mostly from a deep sincerity will never fail you.11032678_10153162371738099_6929746366132006448_n