Yoga Nidra & Body Sensing Defined

Updated: Apr 9

Yoga is …

The word "yoga" comes from the Sanskrit root yuj, which means "to join" or "to yoke".

There are many different definitions of yoga. And too, there are many styles of yoga and reasons for practicing. Yoga is best described as a category, much like music or art, with endless interpretations and applications.

Yoga Nidra is a deeply relaxing practice of guided meditation. There is no physical movement in this practice. Nidra in Sanskrit means sleep. This is Yogic sleep! In this practice students may sit up, or recline on mats fully supported by blankets, bolsters and other props that can help them physically relax. The facilitator then guides participants through a systematic journey through the physical body, the senses, and beyond. During this practice the student may relax so much that they fall asleep or feel as though they are in a lucid state of dreaming where they are in between awake and dreamlike states. The practice of Yoga Nidra became widely known after the publication of the book, Yoga Nidra by Swami Satchananda.

iRest Integrative Restoration is a research based adaptation of Yoga Nidra developed by Richard Miller PhD. The practice maps the brain in correspondence with the central nervous system. It is a deeply relaxing practice into self inquiry through guided meditation. Students set up for this practice in the same way as Yoga Nidra. They are then led on a journey through the body, senses, and breath awareness into a deep state of relaxation whereby students are further guided through a series of dualitys, engaging in mental, emotional, and spiritual awarenesses.

Experience Yoga Nidra here

Body Sensing Yoga (BSY) is a term used to describe a type of yoga much like one would classify restorative, power or flow yoga. It is not a brand. What is unique about the practice is it is done with closed eyes as to internalize the sensations occurring with the movements. In this practice, students begin with exploring the breath, grounding and are then guided through simple movements using motor skills. No specific asanas or yoga poses are named, although a student familiar with traditional yoga may find themselves in a pose. The practice is largely intuitive, guiding students to move as they interpret the instruction and sensational responses from the body.

For example, in BSY, the instructor may suggest the students lift their arms overhead. Each participant may respond in a different way, one by reaching straight up, another by lifting arms up from the sides of their body. Throughout the practice, each student may interpret the instruction differently and therefore everyone may be in a different position at any time. BSY is likened to animated Yoga Nidra. It is extremely beneficial when done prior to Yoga Nidra or an IRest session. BSY engages the physical body through movement, and the mental body by forcing focused thoughts on the specific instruction. Emotions may arise as the practice presents challenges (balance awareness, tempo - too fast/slow, value - Am I doing this right?) Breath awareness is threaded throughout the practice further enhancing the experience.

Experience Body Sensing Yoga here

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