I am Yoga
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Yoga Nidra & Meditation
What is This Style of Yoga Called?
We call this approach to Yoga "Breath Based Hatha Yoga", as we emphasise linking the breath with the poses. One reason for this is that attention to the breath calms the mind and helps to promote the relaxed alertness necessary for a complete experience of Yoga. Conscious breathing in the poses enhances their energetic and physical purification effects. Yogic breathing facilitates a profound beneficial shift in the functioning of our nervous and endocrine systems. It is a gateway to deep meditation.
Classes last an hour (two evening classes) or 45 minutes (two morning classes) with the final 15-20 minutes being devoted to yogic breathwork ("Pranayama"), guided deep relaxation (Yoga Nidra) and meditation.
More About Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra means yogic sleep. It is the art of cultivating deep conscious rest, where the body is physiologically resting more deeply than in deep sleep. In Yoga Nidra the mind remains aware but beyond the waking state of consciousness. Access to the state of Yoga Nidra releases impressions from past experiences, including traumas and deep stresses and allows our body/mind to come back to balance. Just as sleep enables the body to rejuvenate and the mind to process and integrate past experiences, Yoga Nidra does this in a more impactful and complete way because of the deeper rest afforded by the practice to both body and mind. There are many benefits of Yoga Nidra including improved sleep, relief from PTSD, anxiety, and depression, normalisation of blood pressure and enhanced pain management. There are other benefits which are better experienced than talked about.
Yoga Nidra in the Yoga understanding of practices is not considered meditation, but rather “Pratyahara” or sense withdrawal. However many of the beneficial effects of meditation are common to Yoga Nidra and it is easier for many to lie down than to sit still in seated meditation.
A brief Yoga Nidra is offered at the end of all the Yoga classes (see below for timings) and there is an extended experience of Yoga Nidra offered in a standalone half hour session on Thursday evenings at 6pm as a part of the online package.
More About Meditation
Meditation is not concentration- it is de-concentration, a complete letting go of all effort. The ability to concentrate is an outcome of meditation rather than a means to meditation. Just as you don’t need to be mindful or vigilant to fall asleep, similarly, to enter the state of meditation no effort is needed. In a way, meditation is “falling awake”. It is similar to sleep, but a trace of awareness is present in meditation and the rest in meditation is deeper
Meditation is an innate ability which all of us possess. We just need some simple but methodical guidance to allow the mind to turn within and come back to its source. Effortful approaches to meditation which involve concentration and vigilance have value and certainly develop particular parts of the brain as well as training the mind in useful ways. However, to give the mind and body the deep rest and freedom from striving which we all need, and to release deep impressions from the past, an approach based on the natural ability of the mind to reach a place of stillness will be more productive for most people.
The yoga postures and yogic breathwork (pranayama) offered in the classes lead to effortless deep meditation
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