Seven Seeds and Yoga Nidra

Posted by: on June 3, 2012

Experience the magic of stillness. Do you want to know more about Yoga Nidra?

yoga nidraWhat is Yoga Nidra?

A Practice of “Being”

Yoga Nidra originated from the ancient Tantric yogic practice of deeply relaxed meditation. It is an 8 stage  systematic approach that essentially massages the brain by taking  the practicioner through a guided  journey of body, breath and sensory perception.. This induces  a profound state of receptive relaxation.  It is typically practiced lying down. Within this deep state of effortlessness, your innate “knowing” or intelligence is given the opportunity to reveal   solutions, revelations and resolutions that you are seeking (consciously or subconsciously)- so that you can address the issues, questions and conundrums of your daily life. With a regular Yoga Nidra Practice, it is not uncommon for spontaneous physical, psychological and interpersonal transformational shifts to occur.

How long is a Yoga Nidra Practice?

At Seven Seeds, Sheila Cullen typically settles you into the room with some breath work and gentle movement before lying down into the Yoga Nidra Practice. The actual Yoga Nidra practice is 35-40 minutes. (15-20 minutes for children)

What is the difference between Yoga Nidra and sitting meditation?

The benefits are similar and the reasons why people practice are similar. But there are some distinct differences

Simply expressed-in sitting meditation we are sitting in an upright position and anchoring on a focus point such as breath or a mantra. We are training the mind to be present to whatever arises. In this state of presence one can begin to strengthen the skills of non-reactivity.

In Yoga Nidra you practice in a lying down position ( or slightly propped up if needed) and you are being guided by the leader through  8  sequential stages into stillness and deep relaxation. During yoga nidra, you move into the state of conscious deep sleep. You are no longer in the waking state of consciousness, but you also move past the  familiar dream state and into the state of “conscious sleep”. Your conscious mind goes quiet however, your subconcious mind does not go to sleep . One of the initial stages of Yoga Nidra is intention setting (sankalpa) . As you enter the practice you plant the seed of intention from a conscious  mind state (pre-frontal cortex) and the subconscious mind  receives this intention(this part of the brain does not know what is true or false- it simply follows orders). Thus as we move further into the guided stages this intention is embedded deeply into the mind. (body and brain).

What if I fall asleep?

The first step of Yoga Nidra is to assert an intention to give your practice your whole hearted attention. This intention sets the stage for your mind to remain focused and undistracted.

However! Most of us live a very busy, overbooked, multi-tasking lifestyle. In short, we are very depleted. Scientific evidence has shown that we are losing our cognitive skills(reasoning, focus,processing speed, short and long term memory) due to the overstimulation of the digital age and urban lifestyles.  It is not unusual to fall asleep when you first come to the practice of Yoga Nidra. There does come a point, with regular practice that you begin to discern when you are fading into sleep. At this point you consciously choose to stay awake and present or if you are really depleted- to fall asleep. You will still obtain the benefits of the practice because on a subconscious level you are still hearing the guiding voice of the leader.

With a regular Yoga Nidra practice you will actually feel more energized and focused-

How often should I practice Yoga Nidra?

To receive the full benefits of the practice, You should be doing Yoga Nidra 2-3 times per week (or more of possible.) There are many resources available for recorded practices to guide you and Sheila Cullen is currently working on a library of recordings for various themes and practices.

A weekly group practice is very powerful and highly recommended.

(Yoga Nidra  is available at  Spirit Loft  weekly on Fridays from 6:15-7:15pm-)
If you are interested in teaching Yoga Nidra or hosting a teacher training please click here
*Please note that you do not have to be a yoga teacher to participate in this training- There are many applications that can be effective in the fields of health care, social work, veterans centers, primary and secondary education, women’s shelters as well as yoga studios)

Sheila is also available for private session or small group session in your home. Please contact her for more info.

Why does it feel as though I am doing “nothing”?

Because in a way you are! When the body is in a state of physical effortlessness, the breath begins to slow down  and we let go of “Doing”. This is when the state of “Being” moves into the foreground and it is within that “being” state that the healing and powerful effects become apparent. This is where your True Self- your authentic voice resides.

What is Sankalpa?

Sankalpa Is your heartfelt intention.

San= an idea that is formed in the heart

Kalpa= “This is the rule I will follow above all other rules”

In Yoga Nidra we work with Sankalpa (intention or resolution) We enter and close the Yoga Nidra practice with our sankalpa. This is considered the “seed” of growth in the area of your life that is calling for attention, This may be in the realm of your state of health, relationship, career or  spiritual practice. You welcome sankalpa into the foreground of your conscious mind and from that place of intention where you are in the relaxed “being” state, this intention is embedded in the subconscious  mind. Neuroscience and mindfulness research has proven that the subconscious mind does not know the difference between what is true or not true- it just follows the orders of the conscious mind.

The ancient teachings of the  Upanishads state “You are your deepest desire” [sankalpa]. 
We don’t hold Sankalpa as a future possibility, but instead plant the seed in a present tense statement as an existing reality. For example :

Instead of- I hope to heal,(quit smoking, find love, find work, etc) we would use the sankalpa “I am whole, healed and healthy( I have everything I need- time, love, finances.etc.)

Other examples might be:

  • I am energetic
  • I am the embodiment of inner peace
  • I receive and accept help when I need it.
  • I am successful in all that I undertake
  • I am financially free
  • i am loving and loved

Sankalpa’s are individual personal intentions and are typically worked with one at a time over 3-12 months.

(Sheila Cullen holds workshops to help you create your individual heartfelt sankalpa)

What are the overall benefits of Yoga Nidra?

There are many benefits to this wonderful and seemingly magical but very accessible practice.

Yoga Nidra cultivates:

  • Deep relaxation in body and mind (which decreases stress, increases immunity, healing for chronic illness, improved memory and focus)
  • Clarification and manifestation of your deepest purpose
  • Alleviation of insomnia
  • Resolution of personal and interpersonal problems
  • Neutralization and alleviation of anxiety, fear, anger, depression

“As is your desire so is your intention. As is your intention so is your will. As is your will so is your deed. As is your deed so is your destiny.”

Share Seven Seeds Studio!
Filed Under: General
Comments Off on Seven Seeds and Yoga Nidra

Comments are closed.