Live Your Authentic Life With Intention and Purpose
Today is day 83 of my yoga or meditation daily practice. On December 31, 2009, I set the intention to practice yoga on a daily basis. I am one of those people who jump in full speed ahead. My lower back started to ache on day 26. Rather then throw in the towel, I decided to add meditation into the practice, which is something I’ve wanted to do for years but never did. So my practice includes daily meditation or yoga.
At the end of February, I began a Yoga Nidra class. Each Thursday night, Michael, a Zen Buddhist monk, leads us in a one-hour practice of deep relaxation using our senses while we are awake. Michael guides us through the practice of moving through our body while activating all of our senses.
“You are now walking on ice and feel the cold on your feet,” Michael said. “Now you are standing in the desert and the sand is very hot. Your forehead is sweating and your feet are very hot. You will not fall asleep in this practice. Now the lower part of your body is very cold and the top half of your body is very hot. You will not fall asleep in this practice.”
After what seemed like 10 minutes but was really 40-plus minutes, Michael said to think of an intention we wanted to focus on in our eight-week class. This is a key part of how this practice can change your life. When we are in a deep state of relaxation (alpha brain waves), and we consciously set an intention while we are in this deeply relaxed yet awake state, we activate our brain (front cortices) to motivate us to act on this intention. This is the ‘Secret’ that the people who wrote The Secret left out! Michael said last week, setting intentions as part of a Yoga Nidra practice really works! I can tell you absolutely my intentions have been manifested for each intention I’ve set in this alpha brain state.
Yoga Nidra leads to major changes within your mind and body. The practice teaches us how to investigate our beliefs that define our personal identity and labels everything as separate from us. Yoga Nidra helps us examine and let go of our conditioning that is the basis of our reality. It can free of us issues that block our way to our True Nature.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra can be traced back to ancient teachings of yoga and Trantra, (Sanskrit – tan – consciousness extending everywhere). The techniques of this practice help us overcome the mind’s ability to divide True Nature into separate parts.
“Yoga Nidra is said to dissolve obstacles that stand in the way of our leading an authentic life of purpose and meaning, and awaken us into living an enlightened life of self-realization as our True Nature,” said Richard Miller, PhD, author of Yoga Nidra, The Meditative Heart of Yoga. Miller notes that Gandhi practiced Yoga Nidra between his speaking engagements.
Miller says our True Nature is peace, equanimity, compassionate love, authentic and spontaneous action and discriminative wisdom. Byron Katie says that our True Nature is peace, joy and love. If we are not in those states, it’s our thoughts that are causing the negative emotions (anxiety, depression, frustration, anger). This is our body’s way of getting our attention and asking ‘What are you thinking!”
Miller notes these benefits of Yoga Nidra:
- The deep relaxation of this practice can help release chronic stress, lead to restful sleep, and a profound way to resolve many of your life issues.
- You experience your ‘core of peace’ – your true nature – peace that is your birthright.
- Miller says to invite emotions and memories into your ‘guest house’ for tea and conversation.
- Yoga Nidra is the deepest and most profound state of meditation.
- The practice sensitizes you to recognize your inner light of clarity. Even during difficult times in your life, your True Nature helps you live through anxiety, tension and conflict without losing your deep peace and equanimity.
- Yoga Nidra teaches you how to live in the present moment so that you access your native intelligence and inborn ability to respond appropriately to every situation.
- Yoga Nidra is called The Sleep of the Yogi and it’s a play on words. We are ‘asleep’ to our True Nature through all states of consciousness (waking, dreaming and deep sleep) while the Yogi is awake to his True Nature through all states of consciousness.
What am I noticing about my Intentional Practice of Yoga, Meditation and Yoga Nidra
The biggest shift I’m seeing is that I am on a rampage of orderliness. I notice I can’t stand piles and clutter anymore in my office or my home. I’ve been working with a fabulous Los Angeles personal organizer. Shifts are happening internally and externally.
I’m discovering that each of these practices is a small window of inner peace where I experience the present moment. It is an exquisite practice of being in my True Nature no matter what happens in my life. I can be more centered when life happens.
I’m more conscious and awake to my thinking. When I feel bad, I immediately ask “What are you thinking?” Then I can shift my thought or do The Work of Byron Katie to question my thoughts.
I’m having more consistent synchronicities now more then ever before. Meditation and intention setting in Yoga Nidra has led me to become more intuitive. Even my husband has seen some synchronicities happen!
Focusing on intentions daily has helped make my intentions stick.
Although I have forgotten to meditate or listen to Yoga Nidra CDs for two days in March, at the end of three months of practice to date, this is becoming a habit that is going to last. This is perhaps the first time in my life that intention setting has stuck. This practice is confirming that setting an intention and activating parts of my brain that help intentions stick and then activating all my senses to feel as if I have the thing I want (what I am intending) is the way.
What are you finding about your personal practices or intention setting?
Yoga Nidra Resources
- Rapid Journey (CD) meditation / Yogi Amrit Desai
- Yoga Nidra The Meditative Heart of Yoga / Richard Miller, PhD