Before I practiced yoga nidra, I very anxious. It’s really hard for me sometimes to relax and to trust myself. I always want the guidance from other – whether it’s a friend, an older person, a wiser person, a guru, a therapist – an ‘authority’. “I don’t really trust myself. I don’t know what to do. I want advice from other people,” but after practicing Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra, I realized that “This body, and my wisdom, are all right here. It’s inside. It’s always been here, within me!”
My constitution is vata – meaning air and ether elements. So it’s really hard for me to be still and stay still unless I’m completely floored by exhaustion. When I practice Divine Sleep, the most amazing thing is I don’t have to do anything! I just lie down and let my mind relax – then my body relaxes, and this opens into trusting my inner voice, trusting the guide, and trusting the loving heart of the universe. It works instantly – and it’s fun.
It’s a journey – and it’s relaxing. And it’s where I turn when all else fails. When I can’t go to yoga class, when it’s so boisterous outside in the city, and inside my mind, I can just press the button, and I hear the voice. I hear, “We’re going to go on a journey…” and it’s always a journey that brings me back home to myself.
Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra has been my saving grace! It was so amazing to be fully relaxed – and not asleep. I didn’t know that I had so much wisdom within myself. I think those two things — being relaxed while awake — and awareness of my wisdom, as I pass through all these wonderful, beautiful images and symbols, have been the most powerful for me. During the guided imagery, so many of my own images are evoked and inspired.
I had been living at Kripalu as a volunteer and practicing yoga nidra with Jennifer there. Then, even after I moved to New York City, it felt like those yoga nidra journeys feel were still within me! And I have access to that place of deeper wisdom and knowing all the time. Anytime I need to find the pathway inward again I have Jennifer’s CDs downloaded onto my phone, so I can instantly practice. It always brings me back in touch with my own insight and divinity. I often feel “I want to have this session with Jennifer today. I want to be refreshed.”
With my regular Divine Sleep practice, I feel the difference in my body. It’s a very obvious change for me because when I’m centered, collected, grounded, and feel whole by my inner wisdom, everything else in my life is also aligned.
Now I’m definitely more gentle and compassionate. I feel gentleness radiating from my bliss-body. When I give myself gentleness and loving kindness, I’m able to naturally extend that to others. I feel compassion flowing now.
Professionally I am an actor, and my last play was with twelve actors. We worked together every day intensively practicing vocal and physical theater exercises. I found that the most crucial component to acting, or to giving a performance, is to relax. When I relax my body, then its possible for the energy and creativity to flow naturally and I can play!
I was pleased to be able to share relaxation techniques from yoga and yoga nidra with my colleagues as a warm-up or a cool down which tremendously helped us to bond and to relax. Being able to be easy in the body and notice the breath – and let the world fall away — my colleagues found that amazing.
A quality that I’ve cultivated is the ability to drop everything and just sit wherever I am, and be still for as long as I want. That’s really amazing! And something I wasn’t able to do before. I wasn’t able to trust. I didn’t feel safe in the world. I didn’t feel safe at all, and Divine Sleep is almost like this magic pill that helps me to feel safe, and I can get there any time I need to. It centers me. It’s the most accessible practice. Silent meditation is still hard for me to do on my own – but yoga nidra is perfect because it’s guided. It’s a journey, and it’s beautiful one.
The ‘heart’s longing intention’ part of Divine Sleep is powerful because as I state it in the present tense, it is actually already happening at that moment! I go back to my intention throughout my day, and then each moment — I am healed. I am whole in this moment and the moments after that forever. My heart’s longing previously was to ‘be healed’, and it really worked in only a few months. I wanted to be healed, and now I feel so healed.