Amrit Yoga Institute, Salt Springs, FL: Today I head back into the forest for a 5 day yoga meditation retreat. The practice is called Yoga Nidra and literally means yogic sleep. It is just the mind eraser I need.
Let me be clear, it doesn’t take all my tasks and problems away. Rather, it allows me to view them from a different perspective; a relaxed responsive place, not a reactive on-the-edge-of-a-tantrum kind of place.
Life has become very busy of late, throwing me into that mental chatter loop where the to-do list has become as important as the items on it.
At first all this activity is kind of exciting.
My mind, like a child freed from the corner, wants to run, play, figure things out, reason and think. Problems are its playground. Everything is a sign, a signal, a symbol. What does 11:11 mean? Two dragonflies just passed before me, that must mean something. I lost my shoe and found it in the most unlikely place, what is that trying to tell me?
But left to its own devices it will devour itself. It will consume language, arithmetic and science. But that won’t be enough. It will spiral into politics and news and gossip. It will want more. And more.
I go about my business appearing calm while the frenzy continues to zap and bubble beneath the surface. Thoughts ping and bounce around my brain looking for validation and companionship. If I have to I’ll create another thought just so the first one doesn’t get lonely. Before long there’s a whole party going on, the place is a mess and my parents will be home any minute.
Enter Yoga Nidra
Just thinking those two words puts the brakes on for me. The very act of driving into the forest begins to calm me. The thought of lying down, in that sacred, beautiful place causes a mental swoon. It – the relaxation, the letting go – begins before I even arrive.
When it’s time to leave 5 days later I will emerge a cleansed vehicle. Detailed and shiny. Inside and out. I will attract the attention of those who want what I’ve got. They’ll want to know my secret. It’s no secret. It’s a reveal. Sloughing off of dead thought cells; wiping the mental smudges from the lens through which I view everything, so that, not only can I see clearly but others can now clearly see me – not my stressed out, burnt-around the edges ego.
I know this because I’ve done it before. I will do it again. This is something I can continue at home, a practice I can commit to. And when I do, I hold on to this peace, I remain in this state. But life gets busy and the parents go out of town again. If I catch it in time, I can turn it around. Get back to the practice before those renegade thoughts band together.
Still, it’s nice to know I have the enchanted forest just a short drive away. But perhaps it’s even more empowering to know I can do this. I invited all the thoughts, I can ask them to leave. And if they’re particularly stubborn,I’ll let Yoga Nidra do that for me.