About Suí Practices
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is a paradox, it is yogic sleep and yet it is awakening. It is the most relaxed state of awareness, an experience of timelessness, and can be a portal to deep sleep.
Yoga Nidra is an ancient yogic practice. There are several traditional approaches to Yoga Nidra, each with it’s own specific structure. Some traditions use sankalpa, which is similar to an intention, others do not. Most approaches to Yoga Nidra tend to use broadly similar structuring. Suí Yoga Nidra draws creatively from a variety of traditional and contemporary approaches, making it a subtle, natural blend of profound relaxation, and connection with inner wisdom. Suí Yoga Nidra offers simple, effortless, rich practices.
How does it work?
You are guided effortlessly through a series of subtle steps using the natural inbuilt stages of sleep to access deep relaxation, conscious sleep, or deep sleep. In other words you have everything you need, you just need to be given a little direction, then you can find our own way. Yoga Nidra has been referred to as an adaptogenic meditative practice, in other words your body and mind adapts the practice to suit your needs e.g. if you need to snooze, you will snooze, if you need to give the mind a rest, you will feel it settle, if you need to connect with your own deep wisdom, you can. Everyone’s experience is different and each time you practice, you will have a different experience.
Yoga nidra, for me, is the path, the means, and the realization of True Nature and our interconnectedness with all of life. Many consider yoga nidra a technique. I don’t. At its heart it is the exquisite embodiment of who we are meant to be and opens us to true authenticity, spontaneity, vulnerability, intimacy, and the realization of our true Self. It reveals how we are each an expression of the totality of life, and that we are intimately connected with every other expression of life…’
Preparation for Yoga Nidra practice:
“The physical posture in yoga nidra should be so comfortable that you forget the existence of the body so that it can almost be regarded as merely as ‘shell’ or ‘husk’ of the mind.” (Satyananda Saraswati 2004).
NB To practice Sui Yoga Nidra is essential to be snug, well supported and completely comfortable. Derval suggests using a small pillow under the neck, maybe a support under the knees to allow the back to relax, a warm comfortable surface to lie on and cosy blankets.
Before the practice:
It is important to give yourself a few moments to get your nidra ‘nest’ (mat, blankets, cushions etc.) ready, so that you don’t feel rushed.
After the practice:
It is essential to take a few minutes after listening to tracks to give yourself time and space to emerge from the internal, and to re-engage with the external.
It is important to move slowly with awareness, to really take your time, and to support your lower back, as you move from lying down to standing.
After practicing yoga nidra it is really important to 'ground' yourself. There are many simple ways to do this before you re-enter an everyday state of consciousness and re-engage with the outside world. The most effective way is connecting with the senses, but especially the sense of taste and smell. Eating a piece of dark chocolate, a date or some crystalized ginger works well.
Using Yoga Nidra for sleep
“Sleep is the best meditation” The Dalai Lama
Yoga Nidra can be used as a portal to deep nourishing sleep. What the Dalai Lama is referring to in the quote above, of course is restful nourishing sleep. The type of sleep that you wake up feeling refreshed from. Not the restless sleep that many of us experience, that very common, unsatisfactory sleep experience, which leaves us feeling tired in the mornings, instead of energised.
When you practice Yoga Nidra in bed at night, it methodically relaxes body and mind, therefore creating the right conditions for sleep to come. Repetition of a bedtime practice creates an association in mind and body with falling asleep, which means that the practice becomes even more effective.
What is Mindfulness?
"Focus of attention in the present moment, the only one you can really live in, is… at the heart of the art of doing anything well. Focus means not dwelling on the past, either on mistakes or glories; it means not being so caught up in the future, either its fears or its dreams, that my full attention is taken from the present."
Timothy Gallway, The inner game of tennis.
Mindfulness is the awareness that arises when we pay attention, on purpose with curiosity, acceptance and kindness. It can be described as ‘living in our lives’ instead of ‘in our heads’.
How often do we drive or walk from A to B and not remember a single thing about the journey? We are operating in a state of distraction, running on ‘autopilot’. Many of us live in our heads, in the past or in the future, (worrying, ruminating, awfulizing) and as a result miss out on our lives.
Mindfulness is the common sense approach to living in the modern world. It is something that we can weave into daily life in order to feel more aware, content, and balanced. It helps us to recognise unhelpful habits, and to acknowledge what is useful and not useful. It provides a solid foundation to live from, steadiness, wisdom and clarity. It helps us to see things as they really are, rather than through the veil of thinking.
Mindfulness practice is just that…practice. It is not practice makes perfect, there is no goal or striving, there is just moment to moment awareness. It is about bringing the mind back to the present, back home to the body, the breath or the five senses, when it wanders off. It is the nature of the mind to wander, mindfulness practice is acknowledging the wandering, with curiosity and acceptance, and then bringing the mind home again. Once we are in the present we are free from the suffering that goes on in the mind. We are literally ‘getting out of our heads’ and into our bodies, showing up for our lives.
While mindfulness practice is central to Buddhist tradition, evidence of it may be seen in many religious traditions. In the modern world mindfulness is used as a stand-alone, secular practice.
What is Breathwork?
The use of breathing practices to create different emotional states, to release old habits, to reduce stress, to enhance focus, to relax and much more.
For example you can learn to change your heart rhythm pattern to create balance in your physiology. This is called coherence; a scientifically measurable state characterized by increased order and harmony in our mind, emotions and body. Coherent breathing balances the Aotonomic Nervous system.
Why practice Yoga Nidra?
For deep relaxation
To counteract the stress response
To support and enhance physical and psychological wellbeing
For personal fulfilment through the powerful use of intention and connecting with the wisdom of the heart
For restful and deep sleep (getting to sleep and getting back to sleep)
As a cat nap (stopping, in order to keep going)
To create the habit of mindful awareness
To support you in connecting with your true-self
To provide creative space
To create the powerful habit of letting go
Why practice mindfulness?
It can improve attention and focus
It can support efficient and effect work practices
It can enhance emotional intelligence
It can help build resilience
It can help counteract the stress response
It can help create balance in busy lives, and minds
It can enhance communication skills with self, and others
It can encourage kindness and compassion to self, and others
It can be woven into daily life, to help create a sense of contentment
It can support restful sleep
Why practice breathwork?
Breathing and emotions are bi-directional - when you change your pattern of breathing you change your emotional state. It enhances all other practices.
When should I practice?
Any time is a good time as long as you are not driving or operating machinery.
Short sitting tracks like a Slice of Time are ideal for daily use.
If you are willing to get up a few minutes earlier than usual in the morning, or if your home life can facilitate that, it is a great time to practice. As the saying goes ‘Start the day before the day starts you.’ When you start your day with a grounding practice, a solid space, you are more present, focused and productive. It actually becomes a fresh start.
If you have a few minutes during lunch break, maybe you can sit in your car, sit on a toilet even, seek out a quiet(ish) space and practice. It is good to practice when conditions are not perfect, it creates the habit of taking mindful moments throughout the day as opposed to just when you do your formal sitting practice. A sitting practice during the day is like recharging your battery. You will feel refreshed, and ready to go again.
A sitting practice in the evening can help you to leave work at work. It can help you to clear out some of the mind clutter from the day, and to fully ‘arrive’ in your home space.
Yoga Nidra practice
Ideally Yoga Nidra is practised lying down, and usually takes a little longer than sitting practice. Practices vary in duration, but twenty minutes seems to be the optimal time to invest in a Yoga Nidra practice.
Yoga Nidra may be practised first thing in the morning as a way to start the day feeling well rested and refreshed. If you use an intention, or simply tune into your heart’s wisdom during the practice, it gives focus to your day and means that you operate from solid ground.
Note: For daytime practice, it is recommended that you lie on a warm mat or rug, on the floor. For practices that invite sleep, it is recommended that you practice in bed, then you can drift off peacefully at any stage during, or after the track.
Depending on the nature of your work, and where you work, if it is possible to take twenty minutes during the day to lie down, or sit in a comfortable chair and practice, it can offer total rest to body and mind. As the saying goes….life is not a marathon, it’s a series of sprints…so it is good to rest and renew in between the sprints. Your day will flow effortlessly, and you will be less stressed as a result.
The evening is a beautiful time to practice Yoga Nidra. When you come home from work, a short practice will offer you the opportunity to let go of everything that has happened during the day, to really rest body, mind and spirit, and to begin again, from a fresh perspective. It is the perfect way to seperate work life from home life.
Bedtime is an ideal time to practice. If you feel you are wound up going to bed, if you are worried about something, or if you would just like to get to sleep easily, Yoga Nidra is the perfect practice. Any Yoga Nidra track may be used, but keep in mind that most tracks encourage you to wake up at the end of the practice which may not be ideal at bedtime. The track on A Slice of Time called Golden Sleep, is designed specifically for bedtime. Going to sleep as you listen to Yoga Nidra offers the gift of restful nourishing sleep, and helps create or re-create the blissful habit of deep sleep.
“Sleep is the best meditation”
The Dalai Lama
When is the ideal time to start practising?
If you think you are too busy to start practising now, then NOW is definitely the time to start!
If you need a break from compulsive repetitive thinking, then NOW is the time!
If you feel there aren’t enough hours in the day, then NOW is the time!
If you would like to be more comfortable in your own skin, then NOW is the time!
If you would like to unlock your creativity, then NOW is the time!
If you have started and stopped other meditation techniques, then NOW is the time!
If you need some genuine rest, then NOW is definitely the time!