I slowly and silently walked out of Yoga Nidra class into the world of sunshine and senses. As I looked around the luscious natural beauty surrounding me, somewhat perplexed, I realized this world isn’t ‘reality.’ This is the dream. This is the illusion. I felt in that moment that I am nothing but conscious awareness… and that is all there is.
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” – Carl Jung
Yoga Nidra was gifted into my life in August 2018 when I moved to Anahata Yoga Retreat in Golden Bay, New Zealand. I arrived with a super-speedy, stressed out mind, that couldn’t relax or focus on one thing at a time. My mind kept creating problems of the future; constantly concerned with worries of, “what’s next?” It was one thing after another that kept my mind occupied. I would even spend my evenings alone dreaming and making plans for a brighter future. I couldn’t fully enjoy the beauty, abundance and wonder surrounding me at Anahata because my mind was filled with fear of the unknown. I was looking outside of myself, outside of my body, outside of my being to feel fulfilled.
Every day we practiced Yoga Nidra, I could feel my body surrender to the moment and my anxious mind slow down. I wasn’t aware of how occupied my mind was until after Yoga Nidra class when for the first that day, I could appreciate the beauty around me. To feel my feet on the wet grass. To literally stop and smell the flowers. I gradually started letting go of what the future might hold and became more conscious to what the present contained.
It wasn’t until 4 months at Anahata when I did the Yoga Nidra & Restorative Yoga Teacher Training course that I realized how powerful this practice really is. We learned everything there is to know about Yoga Nidra – the theory, the science, the history, the benefits, how to practice and how to teach. Yoga Nidra is a state of being in which the mind lets go of the external world and turns inward to reflect upon itself. It works directly on the mind to release samskaras (mental impressions from the past that are stored in our subconscious) and anxieties about the future.
The second day into the course, I became overwhelmed with emotion as deeply ingrained, negative belief patterns came to the surface. I focused on being the witness to what was coming up instead of reacting to it, which is what Yoga Nidra trains the mind to do. Observing the emotions allowed me to detach and understand I am not controlled by old stories. “I am not this body, I am not this mind, I am not these senses, immortal self am I.” I decided to spontaneously shave my head. I shaved the attachment I had to my outward appearance and to who I thought I was. I realized I didn’t need anything in the outside world to make me happy, not even the luscious curls that used to sit upon my head.
After this release and renewal, a new feeling started to fully engulf my life. It was like time slowed down, space opened up and softness permeated my being. What was this incredible, slow, simple, lovely feeling? It was the experience of deep inner peace.
Peace… something I never considered important before because I was too preoccupied with the glittery or frightening future. Underneath all the worldly concerns, I found what I was actually always searching for. When Yoga Nidra & Restorative Yoga helped unlocked this new found contentment and serenity, I realized nothing in the outside world could affect me. Everything I need to feel peace, love, joy, and fulfillment is within me. In the inner world. I could finally stop looking outside for my worldly dreams to come true and look inside to experience the truth of who I am.
Now I am called to share this powerful practice with others so they can free themselves from past conditioning, anxiety, worry and craving for the future. True peace is available to each of us when we stop moving, slow down, and surrender to the now. You too can awaken to the dream we exist in and to the truth of who you are.
May you be free of suffering, may you be at peace, may you love & be loved…
Hari Om Tat Sat <3