Free Yoga Nidra Practice for Veterans, First Responders and Family Members 

 

Every Wednesday 8:00pm - 8:30pm:

      May 6, 2020 08:00 PM
        May 13, 2020 08:00 PM
        May 20, 2020 08:00 PM
        May 27, 2020 08:00 PM
        Jun 3, 2020 08:00 PM
        Jun 10, 2020 08:00 PM
        Jun 17, 2020 08:00 PM
        Jun 24, 2020 08:00 PM
        Jul 1, 2020 08:00 PM
        Jul 8, 2020 08:00 PM
        Jul 15, 2020 08:00 PM
        Jul 22, 2020 08:00 PM
        Jul 29, 2020 08:00 PM
        Aug 5, 2020 08:00 PM
        Aug 12, 2020 08:00 PM
        Aug 19, 2020 08:00 PM
        Aug 26, 2020 08:00 PM


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Yoga Nidra is an ancient yoga practice developed as a series of mindful meditation techniques structured in such a way to bring our brainwaves from beta in the awake state, to alpha and theta as we begin to fall asleep, and deeper into low theta and delta beyond dream and deep sleep, into the subconscious and unconscious where both brain and body naturally reach their highest restorative state.  By combining mindfulness-based techniques with the modern understanding of our autonomic nervous system, we are able to utilize the practice of Yoga Nidra to develop a more resilient brain and better manage our life stressors as they manifest in both our personal and professional lives. 

 

ALL levels: Yoga Nidra is accessible to everyone regardless of age, physical shape or fitness level. All you need to do is finding a comfortable position either on your back, on your side or seated with back support and listen to the instructor's voice.

Props that may be helpful but are not 100% necessary for a more relaxed practice are: yoga mat, blanket, wearing loose or comfortable clothes (sweats are great), socks, and anything you may need to keep yourself warm and cozy as your body temperature may drop during Yoga Nidra.

Easy Yoga Sequence for Body Relaxation

Please, consult your own physician before engaging in any physical activity

In moments of stress and uncertainty, we are so overridden by our thoughts that we often forget that we have a body. Through breath and movement we are able to relax our body, limbs, muscles, our internal organs, and to send the message back to the brain that it’s ok to remain calm and not on alert.

Note on breathing: hold each pose for 8-12 breaths (each breath is comprised of one full inhalation and one complete exhalation). Initially, breathe naturally, softly just noticing your natural breathing pattern. As you hold each pose, without forcing or effort, slowly begin to practice releasing the breath by lengthening and further softening your exhalations, until your exhalations are longer than your inhalations (practice inhaling for 1 count and exhaling for 2 counts, keeping that 1 : 2 ratio and moving on to inhaling for 2 counts and exhaling for 4 counts until you are able to inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 8 counts). Lengthening your exhalations activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System responsible for our rest and digest functions, naturally allowing the body to relax and release tension, holding, and tightness.

 

Standing Forward Fold

Stretch your legs, release tension in your neck, allow your spine to unwind from a long day, and to begin to energetically turn inward as you move toward slumber.

  • Stand with your feet as wide as your hips or wider. 

  • Bend your knees and slowly roll down and fold your upper body over your legs.

  • Keep a generous bend in your knees and allow your upper body, torso, arms, and head to hang heavy fully giving in to the field of gravity.

  • Shake out your head and hair, relax your jaw and even release the tongue from the roof of the mouth.

  • Sway your torso gently side-to-side and forward and back to feel all parts of your feet on the ground.

  • Stay folded and experiment with different arm variations for 8 – 12 breaths. Then bend your knees and come down to the floor.

Hero’s Pose

  • Starting in a comfortable seated pose with your glutes resting on your heels with the tops of your feet on the floor, hero’s pose brings a gentle stretching action to your knees and ankles.

  • This pose allows lubricating fluid to flood these areas, which protects them against injury, gets rid of any cracking sounds or minor discomfort you may be feeling here, and helps them feel more loose, warm, and comfortable—without any motion required.

  • Take this opportunity to lengthen the spine upward with each inhalation and open the chest as you find a calming breathing pattern. Use your deep, even breaths to slow down your heart rate and allow the body to soften and release.

  • Notice the expansion of your chest, ribcage, and abdomen which each inhalation. Notice the softening contraction and falling of your chest, ribcage, and abdomen which each exhalation. Inhale as if your body id inhaling and exhale as if your body is exhaling.

Cat | Cow

  • From Hero’s pose, roll forward onto your hands and knees. Before beginning any movement, bring your awareness to the lower belly in the space between your belly button and the pubic bone. Gently lift the navel up towards your spine by gently contracting your lower abdominals feeling both internal organs and lower back supported and relaxed.

  • Inhale into Cow pose by bringing the crown of the head and the tailbone up toward the ceiling, gently hollowing out the lower back. Gently bring the spine back to a neutral position before shifting into a Cat shape.

  • For Cat pose, pull your navel up towards your spine, exhale as you tilt the crown of the head and the tailbone down to the ground, arching your spine into a C-curve and pulling shoulder blades apart.

  • Flow between these two poses as long as you’d like, moving with the pattern of your inhalations and exhalations and feeling like you’re putting space between every vertebra and loosening up your spine.

  • Repeat this cat|cow gentle flow for 8-12 breaths by following your natural breathing pattern. As you inhale visualize your breath as a bright light traveling from the root at the base of the spine to the crown at the top of the head. As you exhale, visualize your breath traveling down from the crown on the top of the head to the root at the base of the spine. When you’re done, come back to a neutral spine in tabletop.

Child’s Pose

  • From tabletop, sink your hips back to your heels and settle your chest between your thighs. Your big toes are touching one another and your knees are as far apart as they need to be to help you settle comfortably and be able to breathe deeply.

  • With your forehead resting on the ground or a blanket, walk your fingertips out in front of you, stretching through the arms. If it feels more comfortable, you can also rest your arms gently by your side.You can also gently roll your forehead from side to side on the ground to give yourself a mini forehead massage.

  • Slowly shift back into a table top shape.

 

Figure Four Against the Wall

 

  • From table top bring your knees onto the mat onto a seated position, then shift the hips to one side and have a seat on the mat.

  • Transitioning over onto your back, position yourself so your tailbone is pointing at the base of a wall (or another flat, tall surface). Place your glutes about a foot away from the base of the wall.

  • Place the bottom of one foot on the wall and, while keeping your tailbone in contact with the ground, flex the opposite foot and gently place your ankle on top of the opposite thigh. Keep your top foot flexed throughout the pose, with the toes pulling back toward the shin, to protect the knee joint from injury.

  • For added intensity, place your tailbone closer to the wall and/or gently press the top knee open to the side with your fingertips. This deep hip stretch is a low-impact alternative to poses such as Pigeon, but it still gives you the benefits of releasing any tension from the hips and lower back.

  • Hip stretches are essential to feeling comfortable and relaxed before sleep. When you’re ready, switch legs.

Legs up the Wall

  • From your figure four stretch, unfold your legs straight up the wall. If you can, bring your tailbone closer to the base of the wall, perhaps even to the point where your glutes are touching the wall. This pose can be a great gentle hamstring stretch.

  • It also helps drain lymph and lactic acid from the legs, which helps prevent injury and decrease the symptoms of fatigue and soreness if you spend a lot of time on your feet. Let the looseness that you brought into your lower back with the figure four stretch help you feel more comfortable in this pose.

Supine Spinal twist

  • Transitioning to face away from the wall, bring both knees into your chest and gently rock side to side. When you’re ready, bring your arms out into a ‘T’ with your hands in line with your shoulders and let your knees fall over to one side.

  • You can keep both knees bent, straighten the top leg, or choose to straighten both legs. If you’re not feeling as much of the twist as you’d like, it may be helpful to adjust your tailbone, bringing your glutes further over to the middle of your mat so that your back is in one straight line down the center of your mat area—this may intensify the stretch in the lower back.

  • If you’d like a neck stretch, take the eye gaze to the side opposite your knees. Take this pose on both sides.

Happy Baby

  • Bringing both knees back into your chest, grasp your two big toes with the index and middle finger. Then pull the heels up to the ceiling, keeping the tailbone down on the ground.

  • Your knees should be pulling into your underarm area, and you can rock back and forth to gently massage the spine. This is a great pose for relieving abdominal discomfort and is a perfect final spinal relaxation pose.

Reclining Goddess Pose

  • From Happy Baby pose release the feet down to the mat. Bring the soles of the feet to touch one another and let the knees fall open, pulling the heels as close or as far away from the pelvis as is comfortable. Arms lay comfortably by your side, palms facing up.

  • This pose brings a gentle stretch into the pelvis, low abdomen, and inner thighs. Pull your shoulder blades underneath you, putting space between the tops of your shoulders and your earlobes.

  • Place both hands or one hand on the lower belly and experience the sensation of the rising and falling of your abdomen as you inhale and exhale naturally and effortlessly.

  • Allow yourself to feel your breath as you bring it down into your lower belly and to the very bottom of your lungs. Let your breath come deeply and evenly, relax your face, and close your eyes if it’s comfortable for you.

Savasana

  • From reclining goddess pose, simply release your feet down to the corners of your mat or your bed, letting the toes fall open to the sides.

  • Release your hands so that palms are facing up and the backs of the hands are resting on the mat/bed a few inches away from the hips. Simply let your eyes close and let your mind be still and free of tension, worries, anxiety, while letting your breath come naturally and allowing your body to simply let go and do nothing.

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