Anyway, in class it's about 30 minutes of gentle asana then an hour of JUST LYING THERE! I mean, I like a nice restorative, meditative 15 minute Savasana at the end of class like everyone else, but 60 minutes?!? That's excessive. I try to listen to the guided body scan, but am constantly distracted by how slowly it goes -- do we really have to focus on our fingers and thumbs?!? My pranayama practice leaves me panting as I try to control my breath with long inhales, pauses, and exhales. My body is never completely comfortable no matter how many props and blankets I gather around me; my head always hurts. My intention for the practice moves from "a state of calm" to "just get through this thing".
I am the exception to the norm, however, because the last Wednesday of the month 10 a.m. Yoga Nidra class is FULL. People love it! I've taken to avoiding that class.
But last month I showed up, having forgotten about the last Wednesday schedule. You see, six days prior I had fallen down a flight of stairs. Yep, slid off the top step in my stocking feet, immediately fell and smacked my head on the floor before descending, hitting my right ribs, hip/thigh, and knee on all 14 stairs coming down from my bedroom. I picked up speed as I went, like a tobboganer without the toboggan. So I had been a bit sore and had been away from the studio, but felt like I needed to start moving again.
Serendipity intervened on my behalf and while initially disappointed that I was there on Yoga Nidra day, I decided a long Savasana might be sort of nice. This was maybe my 5th try at the practice and for the first time, I "got" it. I was able to find comfort, stay present, turn inward, breathe and "be" with the whole thing and left feeling renewed, grounded, calm.
I asked our instructor, Elizabeth, afterwards if the words and instructions for guiding Yoga Nidra are always the same, because this one really worked for me. She smiled and said, "Yes; it's always the same." I think I'd heard it for the first time at that class. My body needed to slow down, my mind to find awareness, my dosha to move from Vata (swirling) to Kapha (grounded). (I'm an Ayurvedic novice...more on that in future posts!)
At the beginning of each Yoga Nidra practice we are prompted to find an intention for the practice in the form of an affirmation and to repeat it as if it is already true. I decided my intention would be: "I am strong, resilient, and calm." That intention has become a mantra which I repeat every day -- sometimes many times throughout the day.
I don't know if Yoga Nidra will become my Nirvana practice, but I do know I'll be back.