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Sutra 1.10: Nidra

When I was younger in yoga, I had no time for meditation or yoga nidra or savasana. I couldn't understand why I would pay money or drive all that way to the studio to just lie still for an hour. In Sutra 1.10, Pantanjali explains why this part of our practice is so important, and something I've grown to appreciate over time. "1.10 Dreamless sleep (nidra) is the subtle thought pattern which has as its object an inertia, blankness, absence, or negation of the other though patterns (vrittis). (abhava pratyaya alambana vritti nidra)". This refers to the practice of yoga nidra.

According to Pantanjali, we don't naturally know the proper techniques for sleep (just like we don't know the techniques for breathing, meditation, or controlling our thoughts). This is why so many of us wake up feeling unrested and tired, or wake up regularly through the night, or have a hard time falling asleep. Sleep disruptions are often a key aspect of many mental health concerns and illnesses.

How to rest is something we must learn. And if we learn the proper technique for sleep, then we can bring more rest to our body. This is why, according to Pantanjali, we practice Yoga Nidra.

Yoga Nidra is a progressive concious sleep technique that guides participants on a journey through the koshas or layers of the self. During this practice we're fully awake and aware that we are sleeping. I've heard it said yoga nidra is equivalent to four hours of sleep. In yoga nidra, you get complete rest.

During nidra, your mind comes to a standstill. You allow your nervous system to fully rest, and in that rested state can have insights and ephiphanies that change your choices and actions for the better. Ephipanies you'd never have if you were constantly in that keyed up, stress response, phase.

If you haven't tried yoga nidra...try it! It's the yin and the yang, the power yoga and he slow. The flow and let go.

This is yoga.

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