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Seiko
03-22-2021, 06:04 PM
Hello,

I wonder if anyone has experience of Yoga Nidra? I do Ashtanga Yoga for exercise and flexibility (temporarily taking a rest from it while my broken ribs heal) but my yoga teacher says she is training to instruct in Nidra.

Yoga Nidra appears to be a type of guided meditation/visualization. I am loathe to engage in visualization with her as I normally would only take meditation instruction from a zen priest.

The information I have found on Yoga Nidra is quite contradictory so it is difficult to form a clear picture. It appears to be a system of examining the five sadhanas in order to achieve an altered consciousness, in which case it may not be advisable to mix this practice with shikantaza.

Some sources compare it to a self induced trance, others say the subject is fully conscious throughout. I am concerned about the comparisons with hypnosis and trance states because in the past an OBC Soto Zen priest warned me of the dangers of falling into trance.

Please beware - this is not an invitation to post all sorts of wild and vivid stories, and please don't say anything that could get us into legal trouble. There may well be some very nice, calm and friendly practitioners of Yoga Nidra, just because I know nothing about it, doesn't automatically make it a bad thing.

I am confident to continue putting zazen first and just feel like this could be muddying the waters.

I am genuinely feeling uneasy about Yoga Nidra so I would value the opinions of anyone in this Sangha who knows this practice. My instinct is to continue with the Ashtanga Yoga for physical health and give the Yoga Nidra a miss. Am I right?

Thank you
In Gassho
Seiko
stlah

Kokuu
03-22-2021, 06:16 PM
Hi Seiko

I have used it and find it just to be a method of inducing relaxation. Maybe I haven't understood all of the intricacies but I don't really think of it as a meditation practice like we would use in Buddhism but rather a guided relaxation. It doesn't affect my Zazen practice in any way that I have noticed.

I tend to think of it like the state we naturally enter before falling asleep and no more harmful than that.

Others may know better or think differently.

Gassho
Kokuu
-sattoday/lah-

Juki
03-22-2021, 11:15 PM
I'm a Yoga teacher and longtime practitioner. I both teach and take Yoga Nidra sessions. Any visualization is really just a way to help relax you. You're asked to visualize several things (trees, clouds, etc.), but the teacher says the list of things so quickly that you don't have time to fixate on anything. There is no trance or trancelike state. As Kokuu said, it's just relaxation. Yoga Nidra literally means "yogic sleep," and most students use it as a 20 to 30 minute nap (even though you're not supposed to fall asleep).

Gassho,
Juki

sat today and lah

Apologize for going long

Guish
03-23-2021, 02:42 AM
Hello,

I wonder if anyone has experience of Yoga Nidra? I do Ashtanga Yoga for exercise and flexibility (temporarily taking a rest from it while my broken ribs heal) but my yoga teacher says she is training to instruct in Nidra.

Yoga Nidra appears to be a type of guided meditation/visualization. I am loathe to engage in visualization with her as I normally would only take meditation instruction from a zen priest.

The information I have found on Yoga Nidra is quite contradictory so it is difficult to form a clear picture. It appears to be a system of examining the five sadhanas in order to achieve an altered consciousness, in which case it may not be advisable to mix this practice with shikantaza.

Some sources compare it to a self induced trance, others say the subject is fully conscious throughout. I am concerned about the comparisons with hypnosis and trance states because in the past an OBC Soto Zen priest warned me of the dangers of falling into trance.

Please beware - this is not an invitation to post all sorts of wild and vivid stories, and please don't say anything that could get us into legal trouble. There may well be some very nice, calm and friendly practitioners of Yoga Nidra, just because I know nothing about it, doesn't automatically make it a bad thing.

I am confident to continue putting zazen first and just feel like this could be muddying the waters.

I am genuinely feeling uneasy about Yoga Nidra so I would value the opinions of anyone in this Sangha who knows this practice. My instinct is to continue with the Ashtanga Yoga for physical health and give the Yoga Nidra a miss. Am I right?

Thank you
In Gassho
Seiko
stlahHi,

It all depends on the context the teacher puts you in. It can just be relaxation as stated above or the teacher can really guide you to places you may not want to be. For ex, the teacher may guide you to memories of your childhood where you were hurt, help you accept it and release it.

The are also some effects which people may not like. When you are in deep rest, there may be body jerks which are actually stress accumulated in different parts of the body. However, if the intent is good, it never causes harm.

Gassho,
Sat today,
Geerish.



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Seiko
03-23-2021, 07:33 AM
I'm a Yoga teacher and longtime practitioner. I both teach and take Yoga Nidra sessions. Any visualization is really just a way to help relax you. You're asked to visualize several things (trees, clouds, etc.), but the teacher says the list of things so quickly that you don't have time to fixate on anything. There is no trance or trancelike state. As Kokuu said, it's just relaxation. Yoga Nidra literally means "yogic sleep," and most students use it as a 20 to 30 minute nap (even though you're not supposed to fall asleep).

Gassho,
Juki

sat today and lah

Apologize for going long

Hi Juki,
The Yoga classes I have taken are feeling more and more influenced by Hinduism. The person teaching Nidra to my teacher is a Vedic practitioner.

I would be happier with yoga classes that lean more towards Buddhism. Not sure how to find them. Do you know of an umberella organisation who could help me locate teachers in UK or online?

Thank you
In Gassho
Seiko
stlah

Seiko
03-23-2021, 07:55 AM
It all depends on the context the teacher puts you in.


Hi,
Firstly, apologies, I am not sure what to call you? Guish or Geerish?

From the web pages my teacher referred me to, the direction looks increasingly religious.

She talks about actively pushing thoughts away, forcefully emptying the mind, and using concentration on breathing to rid the mind of unwanted chatter. Then fully immersing yourself in the instruction from the teacher, the visualisation. The object is to reach a higher level of consciousness.

In Gassho
Seiko
stlah

Guish
03-23-2021, 08:26 AM
Hi,
Firstly, apologies, I am not sure what to call you? Guish or Geerish?

From the web pages my teacher referred me to, the direction looks increasingly religious.

She talks about actively pushing thoughts away, forcefully emptying the mind, and using concentration on breathing to rid the mind of unwanted chatter. Then fully immersing yourself in the instruction from the teacher, the visualisation. The object is to reach a higher level of consciousness.

In Gassho
Seiko
stlahSeiko,

My real name is Geerish. The way you are describing it to me is very doubtful. Yoga nidra consists of tensing and relaxing each part of your body first. After this, you can work on specific themes when your mind is on Alpha or Beta wave. Themes like goal setting, loving kindness etc...
As an MBSR practitioner, I call it body scanning. It doesn't need to be religious. I'd suggest you stay away from it. I have been in groups where they see yoga nidra as a mystical phenomenon as well. That's not the purpose.

Gassho,
Sat today,
Guish(Geerish).

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Jundo
03-23-2021, 12:59 PM
My opinion is ...

... that I have no opinion. I know nothing about this.

I mean, usually I am happy to opine on things I know nothing about, :p but in this case ... I really know nothing. [confused]

Of course, we keep any goal oriented practices and Shikantaza in their own realms. When sitting Zazen, there is only Zazen. At other times, before or after Zazen, one may dabble in various things if they resonate.

Gassho, J

ST+aj

Shoka
03-23-2021, 03:51 PM
Hi,
Firstly, apologies, I am not sure what to call you? Guish or Geerish?

From the web pages my teacher referred me to, the direction looks increasingly religious.

She talks about actively pushing thoughts away, forcefully emptying the mind, and using concentration on breathing to rid the mind of unwanted chatter. Then fully immersing yourself in the instruction from the teacher, the visualisation. The object is to reach a higher level of consciousness.

In Gassho
Seiko
stlah

Seiko,

I think as with many things in Yoga it really depends on the teacher and how they determine to use the practice. When I was teaching I always used it as a relaxation method, to get people to relax their bodies fully. But I'm sure other teachers are using it combination with visualization practices that are all the rage right now. For some people those work and for some they don't.

If you are using Yoga as a physical practice only, then there might not be much to grain by adding yoga nidra especially if there isn't much physical practice associated with it. If the principles of Yoga as a spiritual practice are calling to you, then perhaps give it a try. But just as you would with searching for a teacher of anything use good common sense to feel the person out, check their credentials and walk away if something doesn't ring true.

For my personal practice, I don't find nidra helpful as I'm better at just being there when I'm at home. But when I'm in a class and it is done at the end to really make you relax during shavasana it can make 10 mins feel like I was resting for hours.

Gassho,
Shoka
(she/her)
sattoday

Juki
03-23-2021, 05:51 PM
Hi Juki,
The Yoga classes I have taken are feeling more and more influenced by Hinduism. The person teaching Nidra to my teacher is a Vedic practitioner.

I would be happier with yoga classes that lean more towards Buddhism. Not sure how to find them. Do you know of an umberella organisation who could help me locate teachers in UK or online?

Thank you
In Gassho
Seiko
stlah

There is an international credentialing body called Yoga Alliance that has a website which allows you to search for teachers by city. I would start there. I would also suggest seeking a teacher and studio that leans more toward a western inclusive and secular approach to Yoga - one where teachers are free to express their own style.

Gassho,
Juki
sat today and lah

Natahl
03-24-2021, 03:47 AM
Hello,

I’m also a yoga teacher, and I agree (as mentioned above) there are many approaches now practiced.

My thoughts as a novice Buddhist who teaches yoga nidra are that the two are not fundamentally incompatible. A great deal depends upon the goals and nuances of the yogi/ni leading the practice. In the yoga lineage I am a part of, it is about deep relaxation, and using a routine to release physical and mental tension.

After that is accomplished, one can simply allow the mind and body deep, replenishing rest. There need not be visualisation, but some do use it. For me, from my perspective, I felt it was possible to guide the mind to sit with a certain teaching or concept, but not to “visualise” anything per se.

What I am rather inexpertly recommending is to connect with a yoga nidra teacher who is part of a genuine lineage. Speak to them about what you do and do not aim to practice. From there, I think you will know if you have found something of benefit.

Gassho,
Natahl


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JimInBC
03-24-2021, 04:02 AM
I am genuinely feeling uneasy about Yoga Nidra so I would value the opinions of anyone in this Sangha who knows this practice. My instinct is to continue with the Ashtanga Yoga for physical health and give the Yoga Nidra a miss. Am I right?
Hi Seiko,

My apologies if I missed the explanation in the thread, but why would you do Yoga Nidra? You are feeling uneasy about it. And at no point do I see you express any reasons you want to do it. So why would you? I know your teacher is studying it. But why would you start to do it if it isn't something that interests you? Is it that your teacher will make it part of all the Ashtanga classes and you won't be able to avoid it without finding a new yoga studio?

Thank you for clarifying.

Gassho, Jim
ST/LaH



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Seiko
03-24-2021, 11:31 AM
Is it that your teacher will make it part of all the Ashtanga classes and you won't be able to avoid it without finding a new yoga studio?


Hi Jim, yes, exactly that.
In Gassho
Seiko
stlah

Seiko
03-24-2021, 11:32 AM
What I am rather inexpertly recommending is to connect with a yoga nidra teacher who is part of a genuine lineage. Speak to them about what you do and do not aim to practice. From there, I think you will know if you have found something of benefit.


Thank you.

In Gassho
Seiko
stlah

Seiko
03-24-2021, 11:36 AM
There is an international credentialing body called Yoga Alliance that has a website which allows you to search for teachers by city. I would start there.

Thank you

In Gassho
Seiko
stlsh

Seiko
03-24-2021, 11:44 AM
Seiko,

I think as with many things in Yoga it really depends on the teacher and how they determine to use the practice. When I was teaching I always used it as a relaxation method, to get people to relax their bodies fully. But I'm sure other teachers are using it combination with visualization practices that are all the rage right now. For some people those work and for some they don't.

If you are using Yoga as a physical practice only, then there might not be much to grain by adding yoga nidra especially if there isn't much physical practice associated with it. If the principles of Yoga as a spiritual practice are calling to you, then perhaps give it a try. But just as you would with searching for a teacher of anything use good common sense to feel the person out, check their credentials and walk away if something doesn't ring true.

For my personal practice, I don't find nidra helpful as I'm better at just being there when I'm at home. But when I'm in a class and it is done at the end to really make you relax during shavasana it can make 10 mins feel like I was resting for hours.

Gassho,
Shoka
(she/her)
sattoday

Thank you.
In Gassho
Seiko
stlah

Seiko
03-24-2021, 12:03 PM
Of course, we keep any goal oriented practices and Shikantaza in their own realms. When sitting Zazen, there is only Zazen. At other times, before or after Zazen, one may dabble in various things if they resonate.


Well, everyone replying here has helped me immensely. UK has been in lockdown after lockdown over the last 12 months and taking almost 8 hours of yoga classes in zoom each week, has been a huge help to my physical and mental health. The yoga teacher is a friend who lives in the same town as me. All this makes me feel a strong loyalty towards the teacher. My inner argument was whether I would be being disloyal or ungrateful if I sought another teacher.

All the kind replies to my original post have enabled me to realise that if her classes develop in a way that does not benefit me, choosing to move on, is the right thing to do.

In Gassho
Seiko
stlah