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



Breathe with Essential Oils

Breathe with Essential Oils
We as humans spend way too much time in our sympathetic nervous system (your fight, flight or freeze state). We are stressed, anxious and overwhelmed with everyday tasks.  A simple way to help activate its counterpart (the parasympathetic nervous system) is to breathe slowly. Breathing slowly is extremely beneficial on it’s own and I encourage you to do this several times a day, but when you couple this with essential oils, you have a master plan that may help you release happy hormones like serotonin and dopamine and calm your nervous system in a flash. 

The seat of our emotions lies in the limbic system (our emotional brain).  When you inhale essential oils, it takes only seconds to reach our limbic system and can have an instant calming effect.  Sounds crazy, but it’s super powerful and totally amazing (yes, I grew up in the 80s)!

So make besties with your parasympathetic nervous system and get those happy and calming vibes flowing! Ok, so exactly how do I do this Bonnie?? I thought you’d never ask...  

Here are a couple of techniques for breathing with essential oils.....

🌸 Find a quiet spot.....and if the only quiet spot you have is your car, or the bathroom, I’m not judging you....
🌸 Grab your favourite calming essential oil(s). See examples below for tips on which calming oils to use.
🌸 Now you have a choice here.....pick which one you are most comfortable with:

  • 🌸 Place a drop of essential oil on the palm of your hand and rub your hands together for a few seconds to disperse the oil. Bring your palms in front of your nose.  Close your eyes (if you’re comfortable) and inhale and exhale slowly.
  • OR
  • 🌸 Open the bottle of essential oil and bring the open bottle in front of your nose.  Close your eyes (if you’re comfortable) and inhale and exhale slowly.
🌸 Keep breathing for at least a minute or two.
🌸 Notice what happens. You may begin to feel more relaxed, have some inspiration or new mindsets rolling in and you may even notice tension or tightness in your body begin to subside. 
🌸 You should hopefully start to feel better....you’re welcome 💕

Another great tip for using essential oils aromatically, is by diffusing them.  This is an easy way to infuse the room with calming oils. And since you’re already breathing (thanks to our autonomic nervous system that puts breathing on auto pilot), you can benefit from this for hours!  Of course, you can mindfully take deep breaths in the room where you are diffusing your oils as well.

Below are just a few suggested calming essential oils to use for these breathing practices: 

Frankincense, Lavender, Northern Lights Black Spruce, Stress Away, Peace and Calming, Cedarwood, Sandalwood.

One thing to keep in mind when using essential oils is to ensure you are using 100% pure essential oils from a trusted source.  I cannot stress this enough. Our brains are super sensitive and since you are breathing in these oils and the scents go into the olfactory part of your brain, you do not want to be breathing in chemicals, synthetics or toxins that are often found in many essential oil brands.  

If you are interested in learning more about 100% pure and quality essential oils, contact me for more information. 

Now go grab your oil(s) and make friends with your parasympathetic nervous system already.  Enjoy the calm and serenity from this breathing practice.

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. 



Noticing Your Breath

Noticing Your Breath
Did you know that you take roughly 720 - 960 breaths every hour?  And how many breaths do you actually notice?  Probably not many, if any at all.  

Our bodies know exactly what to do to keep us alive. Our hearts beat, we digest food and we breathe all day long, but don’t even do it consciously.  Sometimes we get emotionally disconnected from our bodies and we just need to get grounded and be back in the present moment.  Or we need to take a break from whatever it is that is triggering us or causing us emotional discomfort. 

You have the power to change how you feel in the moment. The easiest way to get present and in alignment with who we truly are is to take a break and breathe deeply.  

When we do this, we activate our parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest state) which induces feelings of calm and relaxation. And who doesn’t need more of that???

Here’s how.......you can do this with your eyes open or closed.  

🌸 Get still
🌸 Inhale through your nose for a count of five
🌸 Pause for a count of five
🌸 Exhale through your nose for a count of five 

If five is too intense, try three counts or less.  Whatever is comfortable.  

The key here is to notice your breath, be in the present moment and connect back with your body.  Also notice anything that is coming up for you while you do this practice.  You may notice some new insights or mindsets bubbling up.  

So if you followed with me, how do you feel now?  Better right? 

And when you add essential oils to your breath work, it takes it to a whole new level.  More on this in my next blog ;)

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.