Magic Map to Manifesting with Yoga Nidra
Are you working hard to create and manifest your ideal body, relationship and life of your dreams? What if I told you that there is a magic map for manifesting that is not only available for you to use anytime, but is also one of the most powerful and accessible forms of yoga. It is called yoga nidra. Chances are you’re interested; however, you may be thinking: “how come I haven’t heard about this before” or “what is this yoga nidra all about anyway?”
Maybe you’re already accustomed to manifesting and co-creating your reality, but this amazing manifesting tool still eludes you. Certainly, we have all heard about using positive affirmations, vision boards and setting intentions as practicable means for consciously manifesting money, love, health, abundance or whatever it is you want to bring into fruition. These are all great modalities, and I have personally used each of them in the past with some success, but the level of success that I’ve achieved through yoga nidra is unprecedented and incomparable to anything I have used before. I’m very results-driven and the practice of yoga nidra meditation definitely did not fall short of my expectations, in fact, it was quite the opposite experience.
Yoga nidra – which literally means yogic sleep – takes us beyond our limiting beliefs and conditionings, so that we can live a contented life that is free of conflict, anxiety, fear, dissatisfaction and suffering. During the practice of yoga nidra, we also work with sankalpa, and the resolves or intentions which are born from the heart. This is the stage of the practice where you set your sankalpa – your intention. Through sankalpa, anything that you want to work on or work with can be realized and resolved.
During the practice, we relax the body and mind enough to drop down into a lower brain wave pattern, such as Alpha or even Theta. This is where the manifesting magic happens.
Working with sankalpa is not only useful for clearing out old past wounds, but will also help you to manifest and create your future. My own life began to improve on so many levels after starting this practice. Not only did I lose thirty pounds, but I also emotionally improved my relationships.
I made a commitment to practicing yoga nidra every night before bed, and have done so for the last few years. It’s been said that all can fail you in life except for the resolve made during sankalpa — it’s really that powerful. I do all of my manifesting by setting my sankalpa during yoga nidra practice.
Yoga nidra works holistically on the level of our whole being, not just with our physical body, which also allows the practice to offer a broad range of healing benefits. Accordingly to yoga philosophy, we are more than just our physical bodies. We are multi-dimensional beings, made-up of many different interactive levels. These levels are referred to as sheaths or koshas. Like peeling the layer off an onion – starting from the outside and working your way into to the core – the koshas proceed from the outer to inner layer in greater levels of subtlety.
With this map we work from the outside-in — just like with the eight limbs or steps for practicing yoga.
We work from the outer most layer to the deepest inner knowing of who and what we are.
The First Five Koshas Explained:
1. Annamaya kosha
This is the physical body, and it is the most familiar aspect of our being. We start here by setting our intention. As we acknowledge our motivations we become aware of distractions, which otherwise might disturb our attention. Then we affirm our desire that no matter what, we remain attentive and motivated. This is the sheath of physical awareness; the physical body is welcomed into awareness as a vibrant and tactile sensation. Physical sensations are recognized as messengers – or pointers – to deeper underlying perceptions, and the body is realized to be an expanse of non-localized radiance.
2. Pranamaya kosha
This is the energy body, and it is your awareness of breath and energy. The breath is the most physical expression of prana – which is closely related to the breath. Here, your thought-created guidance system falls away, and physical well-being and joy start to arise. Every perception is recognized to be in perpetual motion; everything is constantly changing (parinâma).
3. Manamaya kosha
This is the mental-emotional body, and it manifests itself in our reliance on subtle thought (sarvichara). Often, we draw our attention to feeling imperfect (râga), rather than saying to ourselves: ‘I am perfect as I am’ (pûrñatvam-vairagya). Work to recognize your feelings and emotions as messengers. They are available to send us messages anytime we quiet and tune into them. Physical well-being, joy and equanimity are present now. The changing energy exposes the subtle world of feeling and emotions, which are comprised of polarities of opposites: warm versus cool, tense versus relaxed, joy versus sadness, fear versus courage. As opposites are received, they are recognized as messengers underlying unity and reveal profound levels of understanding.
4. Vijnanamaya kosha
This is the wisdom body and is otherwise known as the “sheath of intellect.” It is the fourth kosha and is considered part of the subtle body. Vijnana means knowing, and this sheath denotes the higher mind — the faculty of wisdom which lies underneath the processing, thinking and reactive mind. The revelation of a [deeper underlying strata of being nirodha parinâma samyama, and the relinquishment of subtle thought (nirvichâra), can now occur.
5. Anandamaya kosha
This is the bliss body and is known as the kosha of joy, bliss and love. Ananda means bliss – not bliss in the sense of emotions (such as pleasure or desire), but bliss in the sense of a long drawn-out, unbounded experience of reality. The ancients viewed the experience of the bliss body as an experience of the deepest level of our being: an unbounded, blissful state. As attention is liberated from being bound to emotions, positive thoughts – which allow for pleasure, joy, bliss and love – naturally arise. Joy, bliss and love are causeless, and saturate the body.
With the practice of yoga nidra, we learn to live a life of absolute and unconditioned freedom. The five senses and mind function as before: projecting separation. But now, that separation (dvaita) is realized to arise in non-separation (advaita). The world rises, but the mind no longer believes in its inherent solidness and permanence. The world exists but has no underlying reality. This is where real change can begin and the manifesting magic plays out.
I would recommend starting with a short 22-27 minute yoga nidra practice daily, and work your way up to a full 44-60 minute practice (which can be done at any time of the day or night).
I have found that setting my intentions, during my nightly practice of yoga nidra, has increased my manifesting abilities tremendously – so much so that I have to be very careful and conscious about what I want to create or manifest because I know that it usually happens quite quickly.
Stay working with one sunkalpa until you see it manifest in your life. I’m interested in knowing how your experience with yoga nidra plays out. If you’re using it as a manifesting tool, and it’s working for you, please comment below. All comments are most welcome.
What is Restorative Yoga?
About the same time Staples office supply store debuted their “Easy Button” in 2005, I unexpectedly discovered an easy button on my yoga mat.
If you haven’t seen the Staples commercial or you missed their massive Superbowl ad campaign, let me describe it to you: In the TV commercial, a new father is trying to change his twin infant’s diapers, a child in school is stuck unable to answer a teacher’s question and a cowboy is losing control of a bucking bronco. In the midst of all these scenarios, a bright red, round “Easy” Button appears. All the user has to do is hit the button and all their problems are instantly solved. The commercial closes with the announcer saying “Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an Easy Button for your life? Well now there’s one for your business.”
You might not be wrestling a bucking bronco, but who among us hasn’t found ourselves in situations where we wish a fairy godmother or a big fat happy Easy Button would magically appear and fix all our problems?
In the start of 2005, I’d been practicing yoga for over 5 years.
In fact I’m not quite sure you could call it ‘practice’- I did yoga back then about as regularly as I watered my sad looking cactus plant.
But I was fond of trying out different yoga studios, a habit I thought of as “taking yoga field trips.”
One cold January day I sauntered into a yoga studio in Colorado Springs, prepared for a heated power yoga class. But ten minutes into the class, we were still reclined on rolled up blankets, and I was annoyed as hell that we weren’t sweating our asses off. I was expecting to be moving rapidly through postures, getting some yoga done. My obvious irritation didn’t escape the steady gaze of the instructor. As she guided us into another restorative pose her eyes met mine and she said, “For those of you who are new, you may be wondering, what is restorative yoga?”
My urge to twiddle my thumbs and tap my toes began to subside as we were guided to silently count our inhales to a count of 4 or 6, and match that same silent number on the exhale. This practice is called Samavritti, the Sanskrit word that translates to mean equal fluctuations. This simple act of using my mind to connect and direct my breath created a calm sensation unlike any I’d ever experienced. Samavritti quickly became my big red “Easy Button” both on and off the mat.
Credit for developing restorative yoga poses goes to B.K.S. Iyengar, author of Light on Yoga, considered one of the yogic bibles and required reading for virtually every Yoga Teacher Training.
Iyengar creatively explored ways to utilize blankets, yoga blocks, chairs, and bolsters to aid people’s recovery from injuries and ailments.
His early days of nearly eight decades of teaching experience showed him how students overexerting in a yoga pose can cause pain or injury. His path to utilizing support and modifying the shape and length of time held in yoga poses as tools to reduce stress and restore health became the foundation of what we now call restorative yoga. He noted the tremendous benefits of restorative yoga on the thousands of students he worked with. B.K.S. Iyengar debunked the common misperception that restorative yoga is for lazy folk, saying, “Relaxation doesn’t mean yoga is a soft option. It’s a disciplined subject – a casual attempt only gains casual results.”
Benefits of Restorative Yoga
For those with more faith in science than in magic, we can look to our neurological and hormonal systems for the effects of living over stimulated and stressful lifestyles. When stress registers in the mind, it responds by giving a shout out to the adrenal glands, located above the kidneys. The adrenals react by secreting adrenaline and noradrenaline hormones. These are the hormonal weaponry and aircraft that prepare the autonomic nervous system as the body prepares for fight or flight response to stressful stimuli.
Like an overactive army, adrenal glands continue to pump stress hormones for hours after you swerved to miss the teenage texter who suddenly drifted into your lane. And they’ll continue for a long time, months after you’ve been served with divorce papers, weeks after you recover from a bad fall. The point is, as Judith Lasater Ph.D. simply states, “stress can make you sick.” Dr. Lasater’s research is often referenced in detailing the benefits of restorative yoga. Here are five ways restorative yoga can become your Easy Button:
Use Restorative Yoga to Support You in the Midst of Your Stressful Life
When we feel supported, we are more inclined to relax and release long held tension. You know that ‘Ahhh’ sound you sigh when your ass hits the sofa on Friday evening after an arduous week? Yeah, that one. Restorative yoga can give you that feeling even if it’s Tuesday.
Restorative Yoga can benefit and strengthen your spine
Well-balanced restorative sequences tend to the health of our spines through gentle movements of forward bending, back bending and twists. There is a Latin saying, “Mens sane in corpore sana” meaning: A healthy mind in a healthy body. The same is true of a healthy spine lending to a healthy mind. Anyone who’s experienced pain or spinal injury knows all too well that pain can take up residence in the mind.
Restorative Yoga can Change Your Relationship to Gravity
The majority of our waking hours are spent standing and sitting; postures which cause the accumulation of blood and lymph in our lower bodies. By elevating the legs in up the wall pose for example, inflammation is alleviated. In addition the function of the heart is enhanced in inverted restorative postures. Perhaps the yogic equivalent of flipping a U-Turn, research has shown that inverted poses adjust hormone levels, blood pressure and brain activity.
Restorative Yoga Stimulates and Soothes Your Internal Organs
Just think of it as a vacation to Fiji for your innards. The combination of forward bending mildly constricts the abdomen, and when followed by reopening the abdominals with a backbend, serves in the detoxifying movement of blood and exchange of oxygen. Gentle twists stimulate the digestive tract, tending to the absorption of nutrients on the right side, the ascending colon; aiding in the process of elimination on the left side, the descending colon, and laterally with the transverse colon.
Restorative Yoga Can Balance Your Energy
The Gravity Guru, Sir Isaac Newton, is credited with the discovery that, “what comes up, must come down”. The practices of restorative yga rest on this knowledge, balancing out the upward flow of energy, called ‘Prana’, with the downward flow of energy, called ‘Apana’. Pranic energy moves from above the diaphragm to regulate heart rate and respiration. The Apanic energy moves from below the diaphragm to direct the organs in the abdominal region. James Brown also held this yogic truth as depicted in his lyrics, “you gotta get up to get down”.
Restorative Yoga as Medicine
When I first saw the Easy Button commercial I didn’t think it related to my life at all. After all, I’m not diapering twins or performing surgery or taming wild horses. But the truth is that stress, anxiety and worry are common experiences for most of us on a daily basis. The American Institute of Stress (now there’s a bummer of a business name!) says that 3 out of 4 of all doctor’s visits are for stress-related ailments and that stress is the basic cause of up to 60% of all human ailments and disease. Stress actually shrinks the grey matter in your brain and costs our society over $300 billion every year in health costs and loss of productivity.
Every individual experiences it differently, but for yoga practitioners the beneficial practices of restorative yoga can be serious medicine in the fight against stress and worry.
So next time your boss decides to cancel your vacation or your toddler flushes the Legos or your teenager swipes your credit card and heads to the mall, hit the Easy Button and give your body and mind a break. You will be roping those wild horses again in no time.