I want to share with you a powerful Yoga Nidra practice to open ourselves to our deepest desires and create a space within for them to blossom. It’s both a technique and a technology to access our highest state of consciousness while our body is in full surrender.
It can be seen as a practice of awareness and of letting go. As the muscles relax with intentional and effortless breath, we come into a state known as the hypnagogic state. This is when our body and our brain are malleable and deeply relaxed. When we’re in this state we have direct access to our subconscious. The reason we want to access this, is because it is where our limiting beliefs are stored. We may not know what these beliefs are, or how they got there—however—these negative beliefs often hold us back from receiving what we desire in life.
This practice enables you to access this state and replace it with intentional beliefs. I liken it to gardening; first you need to dig the soil before planting any seeds. Yoga Nidra works to make the soil fertile, by opening us to this state of consciousness before we plant a positive statement. This is known as a sankalpa, which is a Sanskrit word, meaning an intention formed by the heart and mind.
To get there we’ll go through a little bit of self-discovery process first. You’ll need a notebook and a pen to create your sankalpa, and for the second part of the practice, you will need a private space where you can deep dive inwards. You can do this on your bed, or somewhere soft and cosy, that is quiet and free from distraction.
I like to create and set an intentional space, by picking a few flowers, lighting a candle, and burning some palo santo or sage before I begin.
One | Sankalpa Or Intention Statement
A sankalpa is a positive affirmation or statement based on the premise that you already are who you need to be to fulfill your greatest purpose in life.
To create your sankalpa—or your intention statement—you’ll need a pen and paper to journal your desires to then shape your statement.
A few examples would be:
- “I’m happy, I’m fearless, and in my power”
- “I met my financial goal and increased my income by more than 50%”
- “I have a loving partner; together we share and support each other and each other’s lives.”
It is important to write your sankalpa as if it has already happened.
For example: “I met my financial goal and increased my income.”
Two | Yoga Nidra Practice
This is a gentle and loving practice to soften and surrender into the hypnagogic state, to be able to access to your subconscious.
Start by getting cosy somewhere that you can be undisturbed. Take off any tight clothing, make sure you have turned your gadgets and devices off, and cover yourself with a blanket and cover your eyes too.
As we drop in, slightly separate your legs so they’re about hips distance apart, with your arms by your side. Palms are face up; fingers are soft like flower petals.
Take a few deep, even, continuous breaths and release any tension in the body, allowing yourself to melt into the floor beneath you. Visualize your body lying on the floor and see it relaxing completely. Relax your shoulders, down your back. Soften all the muscles of your face and jaw, and even relax your brain.
As you start to soften, allow yourself to open gently with grace, and with ease open, to your senses and your sensory perception. Notice the sounds in the room, any tastes in your mouth, and take in any aromas through your nose. Feel the ambient air temperature on your skin and then relax your eyes; even more as you turn your vision inwards.
It’s time to travel deep inside to somewhere you haven’t visited in a while. Feel your body releasing into the earth. Inhale deeply and let go entirely when you breathe out. On each exhale your body is becoming more relaxed, and even more heavy. Begin to observe your body and your breath.
Notice the rise and fall of your breath. Soften your belly as you relax your chest and feel your whole body breathe. Feel your toes breathe, feel your fingers breathe, and notice any disturbance in your breath. The body and your breath are now smooth and subtle.
The next time you breathe in, notice how the ground beneath you is holding and cradling your body. As you breathe out, surrender to the feeling of your body expiring all air. Start to count your exhales counting down backwards from 11 all the way to zero.
Each time you count down a number, you let go of a layer of tension, so that when you get to zero the mind and the body are totally free.
Observe how your mind responds to the even, rhythmic, continuous breathing and allow your breath to become effortless.
Feel your body completely relax and let go, and while staying totally relaxed, let’s bring your attention throughout your body. Start by being aware of your eyes, of the inner ear, of the crown of your head. Notice your cheeks and cheekbones, beware of the jaw, your neck and feel the hollowness of your throat.
Feel both your shoulders from the inside, both upper arms forearms and both palms. Be aware of your heart beating. Be aware of both lungs and the abdominal organs. The pelvis; the legs; your thighs; your calves; the tops of your feet and the soles of the feet.
Focus on an effortless awareness of your entire body as you start to move inwards. Notice that sounds have become totally distant as you transition from the outer world to your inner world. Transition from matter to awareness; from somebody to everybody; from something to everything—and be aware of the field of infinite possibility that lays before you.
Let your mind start to develop a sense of gratitude. Be grateful for all the circumstances, all the moments, and every decision that’s led you to this moment in time.
Continue to breathe at a natural pace that is effortless and let your attention turn inwards, deep inside your heart. Can you hear its truest longing?
Stay focused on your heart and recall your sankalpa—or your intention statement—of what you’re ready to call forward in yourself, and in your life.
Repeat this intention and prayer three times, stating these desires as if it has already happened.
Visualize this like a seed being planted in the garden and see and feel your desire being fulfilled. It’s time to live in the frequency of this affirmation. The more effortlessly you relax into this way of being, the more easily you create this reality.
As you feel the earth holding your body stay with the surrender. Teach your body what it’s like to BE in this reality. Feel this reality, feel yourself, and respond to this new way of being.
How do you live your life? What are your thoughts? How do you feel? What are your actions?
Stay with the effortlessness of your breathing and feel your body floating in water as you feel the natural waves of your flowing breath. Surrender to divine guidance allowing whatever that is happening to unfold in the perfect timing, in the perfect way.
Let go of all efforts and trust the unknown as you let go deeper, and deeper. Feel the earth holding you and supporting you.
And now it’s time to enter the portal of self-love. Place one hand on your heart and send your whole body love. Bless your body and your life; bless your whole self and feel your body responding to unconditional love and acceptance.
Feel the fire of your worthiness shining brightly, illuminating everything that you do. Shining light on every choice you make. Open your heart and give thanks for this love.
Continue to rest in this field of gratitude as a magnet for fulfilling your heart’s longing and slowly repeat your sankalpa one more time.
Give thanks for this vision as if it’s already happened.
The practice of Yoga Nidra is now complete, and so when you’re read you can start to wake. Very slowly, roll to your right side and just rest until you’re ready to sit up and open your eyes to your new reality.
Wellness thrives within me. Quite literally, in my bones and from my soul. Born into a yogic community in California and three decades later, yoga remains the foundation of my life. It’s my joy to share this ancient wisdom with you.
Teaching yoga and meditation has taken me across the globe and filled my life with enriching experiences. I travelled with Fleetwood Mac as a part of their wellness coaching family, I trained and rehabilitated a variety of professional athletes, had the honor of leading private wellness retreats for Oprah Winfrey and teach workshops and trainings on 5 of our continents.
One of my greatest passions is hosting retreats and spiritual adventures around the globe. At home, you’ll find me either on the sandy shores of Venice Beach or the lush Island of Maui.