Completing my Teacher Training in Yoga Nidra & Restorative Yoga | JuggleMum background img
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Completing my Teacher Training in Yoga Nidra & Restorative Yoga

Written by
Nidra Nadine

Yoga has been a practice that has helped me in my life for more than a decade now.

First I just liked how I felt when I left a yoga class, then over time I combined yoga with other forms of exercise involving cardio and strength to build up physical fitness and strength in my body. Over time I created habits with my exercise, so much so that these days I cannot leave too long a gap between my exercise and rest days otherwise I feel sluggish and low in my physicality and my mood. Movement is now as essential to me as breathing.

At the start of this year I deepened my yoga practice by travelling to Costa Rica to complete my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training which was both enlightening and also solidified that which I’d already learned by attending yoga classes. Unlocking the theory and philosophy of yoga and being able to discuss and explore it with fellow yogis was a breath of fresh air. It made me more excited to experience yoga with people who were new to the practice. To share what had helped me so much in my own life. I very much believe in yoga as a therapeutic tool.

I’ve recently taken this knowledge and depth of understanding of yoga to another level with a specialist intensive Yoga Teacher Training course in Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra. These lesser known forms of yoga are more meditative, and about accessing stillness in a world where we are always on the go. Of course any form of yoga has meditative qualities. Matching the breath with the movement as we move between asanas brings a mindful aspect to your physical practice. Yoga makes us feel so great because it unifies the body and mind. Yoga = union. The modalities of Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra expand this union by taking the practice to subtler layers within the body. It’s like brain training to ultimately make us flow through life easier.

YTT Nidra yogis

During mindful meditation you are training yourself to notice thoughts and patterns as they come in. Notice and not judge and then release them. You do this over and over again, allowing each thought to be then disappear as you sit in your practice. It’s not easy. Thoughts do come, the mind never stays clear for long. But you have to notice and allow the thoughts to ‘be’, then leave. Not holding on. The longer you sit, the more physical discomfort you may feel. The practice is to be with that discomfort. Notice it, allow it to be then release it. Gradually you will notice yourself reacting differently in your daily life. You create more space between a thought and an action. You give yourself time to react in a more reasoned way, rather than instinctual reaction driven by emotion. The benefit of this personal growth is that life starts to feel easier. It flows better, because you are not in battle with yourself and fuelling your mind with worse case scenarios that aren’t there and reacting to those. You are acting from a place of calm, it’s being supportive to yourself.

Nadine Hill Nidra Nadine

In Restorative Yoga we are allowing our bodies to fully relax into supported Savasana poses. If you have ever done a yoga class of postures and stretches then laid down for 5 or 10 minutes at the end in Savasana, you’ll know how lovely that Savasana feels, when you stop and allow your movements and thoughts to integrate. You allow for a rest, a pause. Now imagine a whole class of Savasana poses! This is Restorative Yoga. You allow your body and brain dedicated time for deep rest. This is different from just slouching on a sofa and watching TV. This is rest with intention. Rest that will refresh you due to the techniques we use in the class. Rest that soothes your nervous system, allowing you to access your parasympathetic nervous systemm, your ‘Rest & Digest’ mode. Turning off your sympathetic nervous system, your ‘Fight or Flight’ reaction. Restorative yoga can help you access sleep better, lower your blood pressure, allow deeper breathing, ease physical pain, reduce fatigue and enhance your motor skills and cognitive abilities outside of the class.

Yoga Nidra has overlaps between the two. It is a guided meditation that you do lying down but whereas mindfulness meditation is about focus, Nidra is about surrender. The term Yoga Nidra stands for ‘yogic sleep’. It is a practice that journeys through different brain states in a structured and conscious way. So you may start with an active mind, wide awake and alert (Beta brain waves) and during the practice move to a Theta brain state (deep relaxation, memory processing, enhanced creativity) and to a Delta brain state (deep meditation, no dreaming, healing and regeneration, tissue repair, enhances concentration, motor performance and mood). During Yoga Nidra our mind moves around between modes, it is a continuum of states. Nidra is an adaptogenic practice, it adapts to suit the need of the individual engaging in it. Within a class one person may fall into sleep whereas another who is hoping to improve their productivity may feel refreshed and ready when they come out of a Nidra session. It can be used as a tool for transformation as well as deep repair.

I found this training fascinating and it confirmed things that I’d learned outside of the training, as well as giving me the techniques to use with clients for accessing these states of arousal. Having grown up in a household affected with brain injury and brain damage I have experienced and observed first hand what that means in terms of relating to and functioning with the outside world and the impact an impaired brain has on leading a fulfilling life. To be able to actively take control of your brain and your mindset rather than reacting to what life throws is incredibly empowering and a skill that we all have available to us if we make the time to devote to regular mindfulness practices.

I love yoga and would encourage anyone to go to a class. I often get asked by students in my own classes if they need any special yoga mat, and I reassure them you can pick one up from anywhere and they don’t have to be expensive. There is a great selection of yoga mats on Amazon.

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