YOGA NIDRA SCRIPT
It is time for Yoga Nidra. You should be lying on your back with the knees slightly bent and supported over a bolster or blocks. Make sure that you are warm enough and that your position is one that will be comfortable for the duration of the practice. It is best that you remain still during Yoga Nidra so that both your body and brain have a chance to fully relax. However if you become uncomfortable, please feel free to change position. Allow your eyes to close and keep them closed until the practice has ended.
The practice of yoga nidra is a practice of yogic sleep that will guide you to the hypnagogic state, a state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleeping. Try to remain awake by listening to the sound of my voice. You will be asked to move your awareness to various bodily sensations, emotions and images. Try not to concentrate too intensely as this may prevent you from relaxing. During this meditation, please use and absorb what you need in the moment. If the mind becomes overactive with thoughts and worries, just come back to the sound of my voice.
Become aware of any sounds you can hear in this moment. Nothing else but what you can hear without strain. Begin to focus on the most distant sounds that you can hear. Let your sense of hearing radiate outward, searching out these distant sounds and following them for just a few moments. Move your attention from sound to sound without labeling the source. Gradually bring your attention to closer sounds, to sounds outside this building, to sounds inside this building, to sounds inside the room. Without opening your eyes visualize the four walls of this room, the ceiling, the floor, your body lying on the floor. Visualize your body lying on the floor, the position of your body, your clothes, your hair, your face. Become acutely aware of the existence of your physical body lying on the floor.
AWARENESS OF BREATH
Become aware of your natural breath, become aware of your natural and spontaneous breath that moves in and out of your body without any effort. The natural breath flows in through both nostrils. Notice the feeling of the breath as it comes in and out of your nostrils. There is a sense of coolness as you inhale the breath. Follow this feeling into your nose, your sinuses, the back of your throat, into your lungs. There is as sense of warmth as you exhale the breath. Feel this warmth on your upper lip as you breathe out.
The natural breath flows through both nostrils during the inhale and the exhale. Allow your breath to become longer and slower. Take a long slow inhalation, followed by a longer slower exhalation. Make your exhale even slower – notice the slight pause after the exhale. Slow inhale, even slower exhale, and pause. Feel the urge to breathe in bubble up inside of you. When you need to inhale, please do so. Long slow inhale, longer slower exhale, and then pause where the body is neither breathing in nor out. Please continue breathing in this way. Now go back to the natural easy breath, releasing any control over the inhale or exhale.
The practice of yoga nidra begins now. At this moment you should make your sankalpa or resolve (way of being). The sankalpa should be a short, positive statement in simple language; try to discover one naturally. Please state your sankalpa clearly and with awareness three times. The sankalpa you make during yoga nidra plants a seed in the fertile soil of your mind to bring about transformation and healing. Also say to yourself, “I am practicing yoga nidra, I am awake and relaxed.”
ROTATION OF CONSCIOUSNESS
We will now begin a systematic journey of sensory awareness throughout the body. You will move your awareness to different parts of your body as soon as you hear them named. Please say the name of the part to yourself and feel that part of your body but do not move any part. The practice begins on the right side.
Right hand thumb … 2nd finger … 3rd finger … 4th finger … 5th finger … palm of the hand … back of the hand … wrist … forearm … elbow … upper arm … shoulder … armpit … waist … hip … thigh … knee … calf … ankle … heel … sole of the foot … top of the foot … right big toe … 2nd toe … 3rd toe … 4th toe … 5th toe.
Left hand thumb … 2nd finger … 3rd finger … 4th finger … 5th finger … palm of the hand … back of the hand … wrist … forearm … elbow … upper arm … shoulder … armpit … waist … hip … thigh … knee … calf … ankle … heel … sole of the foot … top of the foot … left big toe … 2nd toe … 3rd toe … 4th toe … 5th toe.
Now move to the back of the body … right heel … left heel … right calf … left calf … right thigh … left thigh … right buttock … left buttock … lower back … middle back … upper back … the entire spine … right shoulder blade … left shoulder blade … back of the neck … back of the head.
Now to the front of the body. Begin at the top of the head … forehead … right temple … left temple … right ear … left ear … right eyebrow … left eyebrow … middle of the eyebrows … right eye … left eye … right nostril … left nostril … right cheek … left cheek … upper lip … lower lip … both lip together … chin … jaw … throat … right collarbone … left collarbone … right side of the chest … left side of the chest … upper abdomen … navel … lower abdomen … right groin … left groin … the pelvic floor.
The whole right leg … whole left leg … whole right arm … whole left arm … the whole face … the whole head … the whole torso … the whole body … the whole body … the whole body.
Now imagine the whole body becoming light. As though your body could float away from the floor and toward the ceiling. The head is light and weightless, the limbs are light and weightless, the torso is light and weightless, the whole body light and weightless. You are rising higher and higher away from the floor.
Now imagine your body becoming heavy. Feel the heaviness in all parts of the body, each part is becoming heavier and heavier and heavier. The head is heavy, the limbs are heavy, the torso is heavy, the whole body is heavy. So heavy that it is sinking down into the floor.
Awaken the experience of cold in the body, the experience of chilly cold. Imagine being outside in winter without enough clothing. You feel this chill permeating your entire body. Now allow the sensation of warmth to spread throughout the entire body. Remember the feeling of heat in summer when you are out in the sun with no shade. You feel heat radiating onto your skin, heat all around the body.
Recollect the experience of anxiety, intense anxiety, and worry. Feel this stress in your mind and body but do not concentrate on its source. Create the experience of anxiety as clearly as possible. Now allow the feeling of complete calm to envelop you. Manifest the experience of calm in your entire mind, body and emotions. You are relaxed and aware, you are completely calm.
INNER SPACE VISUALIZATION
Begin to concentrate on the space in front of your closed eyelids. Imagine before you a transparent screen as though you were at the movie theatre. The screen is as high and as wide as the eyes can see. Concentrate on this mind screen and become aware of any phenomena that manifests within it; colors, patterns and light. Whatever you see is the manifesting state of your mind. Continue your awareness of this space but do not become involved, practice detached awareness only. If any subtle images make themselves known, simply notice them without directing the images. If thoughts occur let them come and go but continue watching the dark space, continue this with detached awareness.
RAPID IMAGE VISUALIZATION
Now, a number of different things will be named and you should visualize them on the level of emotion, memory, and imagination as best you can. Similar to a flip book, jump from image to image as soon as you hear it.
- red desert
- peacock feather
- Buddha meditating
- doctors office
- a panda
- a good night’s rest
- full moon
- your reflection in a mirror
- foggy morning
- waiting for results
- sun shining overhead
- bouquet of flowers
- tall tree
- receiving help from others
- cool clear water
- making appointments
- a relaxing afternoon
- laughing with friends
- a warm embrace
- burning candle
- temple on a mountain
- path in the woods
- vibrant sunset
- taking a deep breath
- cat stretching
- a beautiful garden path
- your favorite song
- the sound of my voice
- your body lying on the floor
It is time to repeat your sankalpa. Please repeat the same statement made at the beginning of your practice three times to yourself.
Come back to the feeling of your breath flowing in and out of your nostrils. Maintain your awareness of breath and at the same time develop your awareness of your physical body. Your body is relaxed and lying on the floor. Feel the container of your skin and the clothes and props that are touching you. Notice the heaviness of your body as it rests on the floor and take your awareness into all the points that are touching the floor; the back of your heels, thighs, buttocks, shoulder blades, arms, hands and head. Do not open your eyes yet, but visualize the surrounding room. Imagine where you are in the room and the other objects that are around you. Lie quietly until you feel ready to move. Start by slowly moving your hands and feet, take your time, there is no hurry. When you are sure that you are fully awake, gently open your eyes. Please roll over to your right side. Stay on your right side for a few more moments. Use your hands to press yourself up from the floor and let your head come up last. The practice of yoga nidra is now complete.
Adapted and Modified from Cheryl Fenner Brown, PYT.
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