Saturday, October 22, 2011
Join professional photographer and biologist Gregory Sweeney and LauraNidra Yoga on a Yoga Safari in the wild bushveld of South Africa!!
Guests will stay in a Bona Ntaba Tree House Lodge on a wildlife reserve among free roaming zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, and plains game. Twice daily activities are a discovery of lions, elephants, rhino, cheetah, and antelope as your guide takes you into the wilds on game drives, into Kruger National Park, on a canyon boat ride, or a wildlife rehabilitation center. Encounters are up close and at a relaxed pace, with your expert guide sharing their knowledge and stories. Many surprises are in-store during your stay.
Early afternoon Yoga and Yoga Nidra practice will bring balance and open your mind to the wild spirit of this special place. No yoga experience is required - classes will be geared to all levels of fitness.
$3,800 (shared) - $4,400 (single)
Retreat is limited to 8 guest to ensure a personal experience.
Learn more and reserve your space at: www.yogasafariafrica.com.
Transfers to/from Johannesburg airport (JNB - Tambo airport), 8 nights & 9 days lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner served at the lodge, coffee & tea, safari activities and daily yoga sessions, admission to parks and reserves, transportation to safari activities, professional wildlife guide and yoga instruction.
Yoga Nidra: The Art of Relaxation
Yoga Nidra is a means of contacting the source of self-knowledge & inspiration that lies within each person. It is a technique of ‘self-induced dreaming’ in which the treasure house of your own consciousness is systematically illumined, explored & utilized to enrich your daily life ~ Swami Satyananda Saraswati ~
What is Yoga Nidra?
The word yoga stems from the Sanskrit root “yuj,” which means to harness or yoke. Yoga is the practice of harnessing one’s energies and directing them in an intentional way through asana (postures), pranayama (breathwork), and/or dhyana (meditation). Yoga is union – the practice of bringing consciousness to all parts of your life thereby making it whole. Yoga is more than the action of awakening; it is a description of one’s True Nature and its inherent qualities of light, love, wisdom and truth.
Nidra is the Sanskrit word for sleep. Yoga Nidra is conscious sleep, a play on words implying that most individuals are ‘asleep’ to their True Nature. Yoga Nidra is often translated as conscious relaxation, because although the practitioner achieves a deep state of relaxation that approximates sleep, they remain awake and aware. Yoga Nidra is a transformative practice that is equivalent to 4 hours of regular, unconscious sleep. It is a systematic method of complete relaxation, not only for the physical body, but also for the deeper emotional and mental layers of the being; it works at the root of stresses, allowing the release of subconscious tensions and tendencies that inhibit us from living to our fullest potential. Through Yoga Nidra a new and total experience of yourself and life blossoms allowing areas of your being that have been forgotten or left unnoticed to be reintegrated and restored
Yoga Nidra is appropriate for anyone who is over-worked, sleep-deprived, stressed-out or simply craves more relaxation and stillness in their life. This practice may also bring relief to those struggling with anxiety, depression, insomnia, chronic pain or emotional trauma and/or transition. No previous yoga or meditation experience is required.
Your Brain On Yoga Nidra
Relaxation is a state. It is best achieved using a technique that triggers it. Many people believe that all they need to do to relax is sit in a chair, put their feet up, and close their eyes, yet, blood pressure readings and electroencephalographs show that true relaxation has not been achieved. During genuine relaxation the blood pressure is normalized and the brain relaxes. The organs and senses of the body are rested in a way that sleep seldom provides. Yoga Nidra provides a scientific method of systematic relaxation for the entire body-mind.
Yoga Nidra occurs at this threshold of the waking and dreaming states of consciousness. Between these states lies a distinct band of awareness that psychologists have termed the “hypnagogic state.” This state is characterized by alpha brain waves. Though the hypnagogic state rarely lasts more than a few minutes, it is extremely important in the rejuvenation that sleep provides. In this state a deep and progressive release of muscular and postural tensions occurs throughout the physical body. Yoga Nidra is an extension of the hypnagogic state. During the practice of Yoga Nidra, periodic bursts of alpha waves are interspersed between alternating periods of beta wave (wakeful state) and theta wave (dream state) predominance. By remaining aware and alert in the alpha wave, state a profound experience of total relaxation is gained. This experience is not only far more beneficial than conventional sleep, it is the doorway to higher states of consciousness.
Through Yoga Nidra one experiences the potentials and abilities that already exist in the body- mind. These dimensions of your being do not need to be created; we simply restore an awareness of what has always been present, albeit hidden, just beneath the surface. Yoga Nidra integrates the psyche and restores the sense of harmony that is our True Nature.
What is involved in a Yoga Nidra session?
1-Hour Session: A 1-hour session begins with gentle movement with breath sequences that prepare the body for a 30 - 40 minute Yoga Nidra practice. Yoga Nidra is traditionally practiced in relaxation pose (i.e. savasana – lying on the back) but can also be practiced in other restorative poses or from the seated position. While resting the client will be lead through progressive states of relaxation, self-inquiry and meditation while remaining alert. Physical sensation, breath awareness and images become tools in clearing away obstacles that prevent us from feeling physically and psychologically relaxed and receptive. Obstacles include beliefs, misperceptions, thoughts and other residues in our body-mind from past experiences. These residues are messengers calling us back to prior life circumstances so that we may resolve what has been left incomplete. Yoga Nidra can be used to achieve deep relaxation throughout the body and mind, eliminate stress, solve personal problems, resolve trauma and overcome powerful emotions such as fear, anger and depression. When we recognize these messengers and dis-identify with them we can engage authentic action rather than continue reactive patterns that no longer serve us. With consistent practice clients develop the ability to stay focused for extended periods of time and experience a greater sense of joy and presence.
1.5-Hour Session: A 1.5-hour session will begin with a 45-minute yoga class tailored to the needs and goals of the individual client. Many find yoga and/or general exercise tremendously beneficial in their ability to settle-in and receive the Yoga Nidra practice. No previous yoga experience is required. This yoga class is followed by a 40 – 50 minutes Yoga Nidra practice.
Introductory Offer: $55, 1.5-Hour initial consultation & first session ($100 value).
1-Hour Session = $75
1.5-Hour Session = $100
Package of 5: 1-Hr Sessions = $325 I 1.5-Hr Sessions = $425
Elevate Wellness Center
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Friday, June 10, 2011
This morning I took a class at my new home studio, Mountain Yoga. The teacher encouraged us to move through the transitions between postures with awareness and intention in order to liberate the body/mind from the dullness of habit and momentum. She offered this theme as a metaphor for life's constantly changing set of circumstances. Having recently relocated from Seattle, WA to South Lake Tahoe,CA, I met this metaphor with curiosity and willingness.
This major life/work transition has been an opportunity to strip away the many filters through which I see the world and to examine the various external influences through which I find relevance, purpose and meaning in life. This self-reflexivity, in conjunction with the total absence of routine inherent in a change of scenery, resulted in a loss of momentum accompanied, and perhaps fed, by a nagging sense of grief and loss surrounding my move. This genuine longing is not tainted with regret or resent yet, inertia has a certain gravity and I found myself grappling with existential questions like, "Who am I?" and "What is my purpose?"
In times like this, I am grateful for the Yoga practice and philosophy. Through this morning's practice of mindful transitions, I was reminded of the unchanging truth, light and wisdom of the Self. My faith renewed, a deep sense of knowing spontaneously usurped the wheel of suffering and I was able to ask myself the question, "What does the Seer see?" This question is the cornerstone of the Yoga tradition. When the Seer sees clearly one realizes that much of what we think we know is actually mired with misperception, fantasy, opinion, ignorance and projection. This is not a judgement, it is merely how humans are hardwired. Practice, active surrender and a heavy dose of recognition that there is actually very little that we can control is one way to re-wire the system. Non-attachment is often confused with apathy. On the contrary, when properly understood and cultivated, it is the ability to plan and set goals free of the chains of expectation. Simple, but not easy, it has the ring of a nightmare in which I stand naked, vulnerable and scared in the front of a grade school classroom of old. But, the invaluable rewards provide tools that skillfully enable one to negotiate life's ripples, waves and tsunamis.
Ultimately this is why I practice: to see each moment clearly, to be with what is just as it is, and to be comfortable with the discomfort of not knowing. I recognized that a great many of my students, peers and mentors over the years have come to yoga in a period of transition. Others, have weathered still more challenging situations with grace through dedicated practice. Yoga is the perfect microcosm, the ideal research platform and the richest soil in which to nurture and develop the truths that will eventually blend seamlessly into the space beyond the mat.