We all hear the buzzword of ‘stress’. It’s worth noting that ‘stress’ can span a few different areas of our being. Psychologically, physical and emotional stress. Yet one thing is certain is that stress, when experienced, imprints on all three modes of being I’ve referred to here.
But for the sake of this workshop let’s define stress in this way:
Stress occurs when an individual perceives that the demands made upon them is more than what is within their capabilities.
In this way, we can see that stress is subjective, precisely because everyone’s capabilities vary. Moreover, a person’s capabilities are usually much greater than they are even aware of.
In this workshop we will look at using the two techniques of Pranayama (using the breath) and Yoga Nidra to open up our latent capabilities and importantly to experience deeper aspects of ourselves.
This is the notion that all Yogic practices ultimately point toward.
Looking at breath - Yoga works on the premise that with every disturbance in our mind comes a directly correlated and consequential disturbance in breath.
On average we use less than 20% of our lung capacity. Is it any wonder that we tend to have an equally hyper, cagey sense in mind?
When we are not executing full abdominal breathing we are not only depriving ourselves of oxygen and of space but we dispossess ourselves of force. Life-giving force.
Pranayama does not refer solely to ’breath’ but hints to us that the breath is only the first step toward working with prana. So what is prana? Well, prana which is the energy that arouses movement of the lungs, the force that stimulates that heart into beating and the fabric that both holds and invigorates ALL action that we observe within and without.
When we breathe consciously, using the pranayama techniques, we increase both our energy levels and levels of awareness.
As we explore different techniques to do just this we will move into Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra is performed lying down in Savasana where-by you are guided through a sequential series of mental exercises.
This will allow us to explore within this realm of ‘heightened awareness’.
One of the key tenets of Yoga - pratyahara (the moving away from the five senses) is practiced here as we become more cognizant about what is happening within rather than the movement of the outside world of which we are constantly engaged (even distracted by) through the five senses.
Pranayama will allow us to physically liberate energy and cultivate awareness. Here in Nidra we will use our mind, rather than our breath, to mentally liberate subtler layers of tension and stagnation around specific parts of the body.
If some of these concepts sound alien to you, maybe even too esoteric, don’t worry. Let’s remember that this workshop is designed for you to experience these sensations, not believe them or theorize about what they mean from the words on this page.
Both the exercises we will do together through Pranayama techniques and the Yoga Nidra will at the most foundational level give you a sense of ease, a release of any tension and an enjoyment of deeper states of relaxation.
Whilst the Yogis have expressed the wonders of the tools for millenia, we here in the West are catching up. Yoga Nidra is now commonly used in the clinical treatment of PTSD and breathing techniques are utilized everywhere from athletes enhancing their performance to the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
If you have any questions please feel free to reach out.