Friday, November 8, 2013

Do Yoga Deep Relaxation

Yoga Nidra—Deep Relaxation—is one of the most beneficial yoga practices. And all you need to do is lie on your back! Well, there’s a little more to it than that, but it’s easy. Yoga Nidra is often part of a full yoga class, usually done after completing all the poses, but it can be practiced all by itself for blissful benefits.


1. Place your towel or blanket on the floor and lie down on your back. Have your feet wide apart, your arms well away from your sides, with the palms turned up. If this position is uncomfortable for you, try placing a pillow or rolled towel under your knees. If you’re not able to lie on the floor, lie on a bed or other raised surface that will give you full support.

2. First, you’ll go over your body, tightening and releasing. As you tighten, inhale through your nose. As you release, exhale through your mouth. Be gentle with the tightening so you don’t cause your muscles to cramp.

3. Bring your awareness to your right foot; gently tighten the toes, foot, leg. Holding your breath, lift your leg off the floor a couple inches. Hold just a moment; then release with an exhalation, letting the leg drop. Roll the leg from side to side; then let it relax. Do the same thing with your left leg. Next move to your fingers, hands and arms—one arm at a time, tightening, releasing, rolling, relaxing.

4. Now, tighten the muscles of your buttocks. Hold. Relax.

5. Without bringing your head or lower arms off the floor, bring your shoulders up and forward as if you were trying to touch them together in front of your chest (which, of course, isn’t possible!). Relax.

6. Bring your awareness to your abdomen. Inhale deeply, expanding the abdomen. Hold your breath. Open your mouth. Exhale.

7. Be aware of your face. Tighten the muscles of the face. Then, open wide—your eyes, your mouth. Relax. Gently roll your head from side to side. Close your eyes. Relax with the back of your head on the floor.

8. Now try to keep your body still for a while. Use your mind to go even deeper. Without moving, bring your awareness to your toes. Feel that a deep sense of relaxation is washing through your toes, into the feet, the lower legs, knees, thighs.

9. Feel that sense of relaxation moving into your fingers, hands, lower arms, elbows, upper arms, shoulders.

10. The same relaxation washes over your hips, abdomen, lower back, middle back, upper back and the shoulder blades.

11. Feel that relaxation all through your neck and throat, the jaw, mouth, cheeks, eyes, forehead, top of the head, back of the head.

12. Imagine yourself completely relaxed. If you like using visualizations, imagine your body floating on a soft, secure cloud; or resting in a fragrant meadow; or anything else that appeals to you and enhances your sense of relaxation.

13. Next, become aware of your breathing. Mentally observe your natural breathing as it becomes slower and softer.

14. Now be aware of the peace within you. Let yourself rest in that feeling of peace for at least a few minutes.

15. Bring your awareness back to your breath and watch it. Feel it bringing energy and health through your whole body. Imagine that energy moving into your toes and up through your feet; then, into the fingers and up through your arms. Imagine it moving through your hips, through the abdomen, ribs and chest, from the lower back all the way to the shoulders. Imagine the energy moving through your head and neck.

16. Slowly, while still lying on the floor, begin moving your body. Take a luxurious stretch along the floor. When you feel ready, slowly sit up. Just sit for a few moments, feeling the relaxation and peace.

Tags: through your, your awareness, your body, your head, awareness your