Beginning the New Year: Yoga Nidra for the New Moon
By Victoria Chiang
As we head into the first lunar cycle of 2018, it’s the perfect time to align your intentions for the year. How do you want to feel in this new chapter? Do you still need to recharge? Maybe let go of anything?
Yoga nidra is the ancient practice of completely relaxing the body while keeping the mind alert. It offers immediate benefits, like better sleep and reduced stress, and even more expansive benefits, like improved intuition and the opportunity to heal emotional wounds. Science has proven it effective in combating PTSD, anxiety, and depression -- and of course, it is helpful for anyone dealing with the stresses of modern life (anyone reading this!).
Nidra has a specific framework of first relaxing the body, so even people who struggle with more traditional forms of meditation can find it easily accessible. It is practiced lying down for 30-60 minutes, wrapped in a blanket. During the practice, the mind moves between states of wakefulness and sleep, and the subconscious mind is more accessible. Deliberately spending time in this state allows deep, powerful intentions to be planted. We also get an opportunity to observe how subconscious impressions are affecting our current circumstances. If you’re feeling stuck or uncertain about challenges in your life, nidra can help unblock them.
Because these are states your brain goes through before entering deep sleep, you might find yourself falling asleep, if you’re new to the practice. While the goal of nidra is not to sleep through the session, I like to remind people this is 100% okay! If you’re falling asleep that’s probably what you need most right now. With practice, you’ll find it easier to remain mentally alert.
The ultimate purpose of yoga nidra is to align our deepest, subconscious thoughts with our external actions. During our waking moments, the conscious mind is busy in action-mode -- thinking, planning, responding. During yoga nidra, we practice stillness. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the healing, ‘rest and digest’ system. In this calm state, we are able to hear our true inner voice. Glimpsing at our authentic self can bring clarity to what you want to bring forth in the coming months.
The new moon, in a couple weeks, is the first new moon of the year and the start of another cycle - the place where it all begins. Take advantage of this powerful time to set the tone for the coming year. Join me on Sunday, Jan 14th for yoga nidra to clarify and enhance your vision for 2018.
Get to know more about my practice at here!
- Victoria Chiang