Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation - WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY....


The 5 Ws of Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation

Ok, so you're either curious about Yoga Nidra, or you've tried a few times, but want to understand it a bit more....I've got you covered!

In this post, I'll highlight the basics of Yoga Nidra.....the 5 Ws if you will.....who, what, where, when and why....  

Who
Anyone can practice Yoga Nidra. No experience is necessary.  My daughters even practice, so it's great for kids.  Not to mention my dog Coconut loves to snuggle up to me when I practice during the day. It's a great place to start if you've never practiced meditation or relaxation techniques before because it's so EASY to do. 

What
Yoga Nidra is a guided meditation and type of Yoga that can be referred to as Yogic sleep. The purpose is to be guided so you can experience many levels of relaxation. After practicing for a while, you will notice that you float between being conscious and asleep. Yoga Nidra is also helpful to release emotions and focus on something you desire.

Where
There are different ways to practice Yoga Nidra. First of all, make sure you're somewhere quiet to reduce distractions....

Traditionally it's practiced lying down in a supported position.  But if you prefer, you can practice sitting up straight in a seated position. Here are some tips on how you can support yourself to be super comfortable:

  • When you lie flat on your back, it can cause discomfort in your lower back, so it's important to place something under your knees like a bolster, rolled up towel, blanket or pillow. 
  • I also like to place yoga blocks or a smaller pillow under my feet if I'm lying on my yoga mat on the floor with my knees supported.
  • If you need to place something under your head, just use a very thin pillow. You want to ensure your chin is slightly tucked down towards your chest.
  • Lie down with your arms by your side and palms facing up.
  • Your feet are just a bit more than hip width distance apart and your toes should be facing outwards.
  • I definitely recommend an eye pillow, eye mask or something to cover your eyes to block out the light.  Also having something like an eye pillow has a physiological effect on the body and can help you to relax even more.
  • It's important to be warm during practice. Sometimes when our bodies relax, our body temperature can go down.  Make sure you have a blanket to cover yourself so you are warm.
  • You could also practice lying on your side. Just make sure your head and top knee are supported.
When
I'm a huge advocate of practicing whenever you are able to fit it into your schedule. It helps to have a routine so that you can practice daily. 

If you don't already have a regular practice, I suggest listening at different times of the day to figure out what suits you best. Some people find it energizing and refreshing, so they prefer the mornings, others find it soothing and calming, so they prefer night time to get them ready for sleep.  Others need a break during the day, so it's great to do at your lunch hour to give your body and mind time to unwind.

Once you find a time that works for you, I do recommend practicing daily because you will start to see many benefits after developing a regular practice. 

When I first started out, I did it first thing in the morning. I actually did it lying in my bed before I got up. Many people will tell you not to meditate in bed because when you're in bed, your body knows it's for sleeping.  But at that point in my life, that's the only time I could do it, so I say whatever helps you start practicing is best.  Then later, you can change when and where you practice to suit your routine.  Just start any way you can.

Why
Why practice Yoga Nidra anyway? Well, it helps to trigger your relaxation response so you can give your body and mind time to unwind, be in the present moment and let go of the other stressors in your life. 

I used to think meditation was a waste of time. I didn't understand how "relaxing" and doing "nothing" could actually help you to feel better and make changes in your life. Well, now I know better.  When we meditate and give our bodies and mind the time it needs to break free from all of the noise of our regular lives, it can help us to see the bigger picture. New mindsets, ideas and beliefs can emerge when we focus on the present moment (not regretting the past and worrying about the future).

Ok so now you have a pretty good understanding of what Yoga Nidra is all about.....

If you don't already have access to my FREE Yoga Nidra guided meditation for Relaxation, click HERE to get access right away.  

I also offer virtual classes and courses.  Click below to see my current schedule.


I hope you love practicing Yoga Nidra as much as I do! 

Namaste,

xo Bonnie

ENJOY THE PRESENT MOMENT BECAUSE IT’S THE ONLY ONE THAT REALLY MATTERS!



Sometimes I wish I was my dog.....
She seems to know how to truly be in the present moment. Like this morning, I was practicing yoga, and guess who showed up on my mat again??  Coconut. She was completely relaxed and didn’t seem to have any other cares in the world.

Then, later on Steve and I decided to go in the hot tub.  Although I was enjoying the sunshine and trying to relax on a Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t help but think of all the work I still had waiting for me inside. I was so annoyed with myself. It’s like I couldn’t wait to get out of the hot tub to go and do work!!  Why do we ruin perfectly great moments thinking about the future? 

Then I thought to myself, I rarely go in the hot tub and it’s beautiful out today and I don’t want to waste this opportunity.  So I closed my eyes and fully appreciated being in that moment. I’m so happy I did because it felt amazing. I was so grateful that I stopped the negative voice that kept telling me to go back inside and I actually gave myself permission to relax and enjoy my time.

When you take the time to appreciate and notice the moment it seems more real and can put things into perspective.

We spend so much time thinking about the past and worrying about the future. Hopefully this is a reminder to take a few minutes today to appreciate and notice the moment you’re in now.


xo, Bonnie

By the way...if you liked this post, click the link below to get access to my FREE Yoga Nidra Guided meditation for relaxation. 



Fresh Tomato and Vegetable Pasta Sauce in Just 15 Minutes!


Cherry Tomato and Vegetable Pasta Sauce You Can Whip up in Flash 
I LOVE pasta! I joke that I should have been born Italian because I really haven’t met a pasta that I didn’t like....In my fantasy world, pasta would be considered one of the major food groups.

Because I work from home, I don’t often prepare my lunches ahead of time (although I really should and remind myself of this almost every day). When I’m working, and lunch time rolls around, I usually stand in my pantry, starving at this point, and pray that the lunch fairies whip me up a delicious and healthy meal! Well, of course that doesn’t happen, so sometimes I resort to cooking pasta and adding a jar of premade tomato sauce (confession time....I love Costco’s White Linen pasta sauce when I’m hangry and in a hurry to make a quick meal).

But, whenever possible this girl prefers to cook from scratch so I like to have quick recipes to make especially during those times when the hunger meter is tipping the breaking point.

I really love this recipe for a few reasons:
  • It’s super quick to put together.
  • It’s a great way to use up vegetables that you have most likely forgotten about in the back of your fridge and are turning kinda wrinkly (you know what I mean).....
  • You can tailor it however you want. If you don’t like mushrooms, don’t add them. If you like spinach, add spinach....you get the idea. Basically add whatever vegetables you have on hand.
  • The base is olive oil, sautéed onions, garlic and cherry tomatoes. Whatever else you decide to add is really up to you.
This, my friend, is not a fussy recipe. Make it your own and you’ll be happy because you know exactly what’s in it and it cooks up in the same amount of time it takes to boil and cook your pasta. Win-win! 👏🏼

This sauce recipe makes enough for two servings of pasta.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes washed and cut in half
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms sliced
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed or finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A few leaves of fresh basil, or a pinch of dried basil 🌿 
  • Optional - Crushed red pepper flakes (or if you’re Portuguese like me, I guarantee you have a jar of “pimenta” in your fridge.  Go ahead and add some of that to your sauce. I know you will because we put that in everything we make!)

Instructions
  • Begin boiling water for pasta and cook desired pasta according to directions on box.
  • Add olive oil to a large sauté pan, over medium heat.
  • Add onions, peppers and mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes until onions become translucent. 
  • Make sure to stir regularly to ensure the veggies aren’t burning.
  • Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes or pimenta, if using, and stir to combine.
  • Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have broken down and sauce thickens.
  • When pasta is finished cooking, add to sauce and stir to combine.
  • Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy! 
  • Bon appetit!
This is a great option for quick lunch and dinner ideas because it’s loaded with vegetables! I like to use lentil pastas for my dishes because it’s gluten free and full of fibre and protein!

Next time you’re praying for your own lunch fairies to deliver you a meal, know that you can whip this one up in a flash!  Enjoy. 😋

xo, Bonnie

By the way...if you need a little relaxation in your life, click the link below to get access to my FREE Yoga Nidra Guided meditation for relaxation. 




Cream of Broccoli Soup (Without the Cream)!


Dairy Free "Cream" of Broccoli Soup Recipe
There's no doubt about it, I LOVE SOUP!!!!  I love it so much, it was the first course at my wedding. I could eat it every-single-day! Nothing tops a warm bowl of soup at lunchtime for this girl. 

There are so many reasons for my love of soup. Perhaps it's because you make it once, and can eat it for a few days. You can load it with healthy ingredients and it's easy to heat up once it's made (that's my kinda lunch). Because of all the different recipes out there, trust me, you'll never get sick of soup!

One of my favourites is cream of broccoli soup. But, my tummy isn't a fan of dairy, so I make this pot of velvety goodness with cashews instead of cream and nutritional yeast instead of cheese. Even if you're not vegan, I promise, you won't miss the cream or the cheese in this version of broccoli soup and it takes under 30 minutes to make.


Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 large carrots peeled and diced
  • 4 stalks of celery diced
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 sprig of thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 6 cups of vegetable stock (store bought or homemade)
  • 4-5 cups of broccoli florets chopped into bite sized pieces (about one head/bunch of broccoli you would typically buy at the grocery store)
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (this makes up for the cheesy flavour in most broccoli soups)
  • 1 cup of raw cashews soaked in two cups of water for three hours (or I cup of cashews boiled with two cups of water for 5 minutes)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
  • Over medium heat, add coconut oil to a large pot or dutch oven
  • Add diced onions, carrots and celery to the pot stirring occasionally until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes)
  • Add minced garlic and stir for about 30 seconds - 1 minute ensuring not to burn garlic
  • Add sprig of thyme (or dried thyme) and 6 cups of vegetable broth, cover with lid and bring to a boil
  • Once broth starts boiling, turn down and simmer for about 8-10 minutes until carrots and celery begin to soften
  • Add broccoli florets and simmer for another 8-10 minutes
  • While soup is simmering, drain and rinse soaked cashews and blend with 1 cup of water in a high speed blender until no lumps remain (NOTE: if you haven't pre-soaked the cashews, place them in a pot with 2 cups of water and boil for 5 minutes.  Then drain and rinse the cashews and blend with one cup of water in a high speed blender until no lumps remain.
  • Once broccoli and vegetables have softened add pureed cashews, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste
  • Mix all ingredients together and remove sprig of thyme
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as desired
  • Serve warm
If soup is too thick, add more water or broth. If soup is too thin, simply continuing simmering until desired liquid evaporates.

This soup keeps well in the fridge for a few days. When reheating soup, if it's too thick, add more water or broth to desired consistency.

Now go enjoy your soup already!



xo, Bonnie

By the way...if you liked this post, click the link below to get access to my FREE Yoga Nidra Guided meditation for relaxation. 




Looking for New Ways to Relax? Then Yoga Nidra May Be the Answer You've Been Searching For!

Looking for New Ways to Relax? Then Yoga Nidra May Be the Answer You've Been Searching For!
What is Yoga Nidra?

When you hear the word Yoga, you generally think of balancing on one foot, or being in a pose that sounds like an animal such as downward facing dog, pigeon or eagle. I used to think the same way. I practiced yoga for almost 17 years and never heard of Yoga Nidra until I took Yoga teaching training over four years ago. I was shocked and enlightened (pardon the pun) to discover this form of Yoga that is so refreshing and relaxing and not so main stream.

So what is it anyway? At it's basic level, it's a guided meditation.  It's a type of Yoga that can be referred to as Yogic Sleep. Yes, I said sleep!! I know, it sounds like a dream.....practicing Yoga and sleeping.....What could be better than that? Well, the goal is not to fall asleep, but if that happens it's ok, it just means your body really needs to rest and subconsciously, you'll still hear everything even though you may not remember. There's no wrong way to do it. Literally all you need to do is lie down (or sit in a comfy position), listen and be guided. 

After learning how to lead Yoga Nidra, I instantly knew this would be my teaching focus in order to introduce this healing and deeply relaxing practice to other people.
 
Because most of us live in a constant state of stress, this can negatively impact our emotional and physical health. What you may not realize is that it's vital to take time to still the body and mind. Imagine lying down for 30 minutes, being guided on an inner journey through many stages of relaxation and waking up feeling fresh, grateful and relaxed. 

Practicing Yoga Nidra can have an impact on your emotional and physical health because it triggers your relaxation response. And that's important because it calms the body and mind giving you time to rest, digest and rejuvenate. And the more you do it, the easier it becomes to focus and relax even when you're off the mat!

How this practice can help you on and off the mat.

Creating a peaceful place
On the mat - During the meditation, you will imagine a peaceful place that surrounds you with feelings of comfort, love, joy and peace.
Off the mat - Once you've seen your peaceful place in your meditation, you can visualize being in this peaceful place any time during the day. Imagine that you're; in an uncomfortable situation, afraid of having to do something, having troubles falling asleep or worried about something. Just know that you can visualize your peaceful place any time you need to feel this sense of peace and comfort.

Creating an affirmation
On the mat - While being guided, you have an opportunity to go on a journey of self discovery and notice what your heart truly longs for.  This can be anything that comes up for you such as: having more time for yourself, being healthier, having the financial freedom to do the things you love - you get the idea. From here, you'll create an affirmation based on this desire. You will use this affirmation as the focus of your practice. And you can continue using this affirmation in your regular practice until it becomes real for you.
Off the mat - Once you discover and create an affirmation, I recommend writing it down (so you don't forget it) and incorporating it in your daily routine. I write mine on a piece of paper and tape it to the bathroom mirror so I can say them first thing in the morning and at night before I go to bed.

Visualization
I love to incorporate moments of visualization in my Yoga Nidra practice. 
On the mat - While being guided, you will have the opportunity to visualize what your life would be like when your affirmation comes true. Just seeing yourself in these moments triggers many positive emotions that you will experience during the meditation. You may experience emotions such as; gratitude, joy, love, and a zest for life. 
Off the mat - You can do more of the things that trigger positive emotions in your daily life.  For example, if you felt immense gratitude in your visualization, then you can feel that emotion in the present moment by being grateful for something that you have now. If you felt joy during the meditation, you can do more things in your life that bring you joy (whatever that means for you). When we truly desire something, it's because we want to feel a certain way when we have it. So, you can invoke those feelings in your daily life which will then bring you into alignment with what you desire.

If you've never tried Yoga Nidra before, you don't know what you're missing! You deserve to give yourself much needed time to relax, rejuvenate and let go of all the stressors you deal with on a daily basis. Your body and mind will thank you!

Interested in practicing Yoga Nidra with me? Click the button below for my virtual classes. Remember, there's nothing else to do but listen, relax and be guided!

You an also click HERE to get access to my FREE Yoga Nidra Guided meditation for relaxation.  This is a 20 minute meditation that's perfect for beginners, or even those who practice Yoga Nidra already.

Namaste.

xo, Bonnie



 
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