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Manduka Medium Vertical #2 - EU

Entries in Yoga Nidra (15)

Wednesday
Apr162014

Transformation Without Trying: Yoga Nidra

A few months ago, a friend asked me if there was a yoga that would help her insomnia and stress. Without hesitation, I suggested she try Yoga Nidra, a meditative practice also known as Yogic Sleep, in which you remain in Savasana while a teacher guides you through a series of awareness exercises. Given how knotted up my friend felt, I thought a passive practice would be a good first step toward bringing her some release.

In Yoga Nidra, you do two things: first, you choose a Sankalpa, a present-tense affirmation of desire or intention; and second, you allow yourself be led on an introspective dig. The Sankalpa is repeated (quietly, to yourself) at the beginning of the session as a way to invite this desire into your awareness. Throughout Yoga Nidra, this Sankalpa travels through the successive, subtle layers of your being (Koshas,) impregnating each layer with this wish. Your Sankalpa is repeated again toward the end of the session, a time during which you are optimally relaxed, and the gates of your perception are wide open.

“Your body knows what to do to attain, and maintain, perfect health and equilibrium. All you need to do is [turn] on the healing switch.”

Are you freaking out about the Sankalpa part? Don’t freak out! A Sankalpa doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be a declaration as simple as “I am healthy” or “I am peaceful.” The one thing your Sankalpa does need to be, though, is true, so spend some time contemplating your most heartfelt wish. You’ll see that it will surface quite naturally.

Anyway, during Yoga Nidra, your body remains prone and your eyes closed, while your mind keeps busy with little assignments given by the teacher: one minute you might bring your attention to your physical body, the next you might imagine a galloping horse; you might count your inhales and exhales, then visualize what you would look like from alternative vantage points… Through body scans, visualizations, pranayama, sense-memory cues, and tuning your hearing to the sounds around you, you delve deeper and deeper into your own topology.

As you lie there in a twilight state between awake and sleep, Yoga Nidra acts like a geological survey, delving into your nervous system, recharging Ojas (remember that?), loosening and smoothing stress, and bringing you a deep sense of relaxation. You emerge from the session refreshed and lucid, like you’ve had the best, most rejuvenating nap of your life. As Yoga Nidra teacher Jennifer Reis says, “Your body knows what to do to attain, and maintain, perfect health and equilibrium. All you need to do is [turn] on the healing switch.”

Yoga Nidra is the button that can activate the body’s own ability to repair and regenerate, from crust (Annamaya kosha) to core (Anandamaya kosha.) How cool is it that you hold the key? And that it can take as little as 20 minutes?

Many yoga teachers close their classes with a bit of Yoga Nidra during savasana, to help students deepen their relaxation after a dynamic practice. If you would like the full Yoga Nidra experience, check out the recommendations below:

Where to practice Yoga Nidra in Paris:
Espace Nataraja 
Satyanandashram Centre Culturel de Yoga (I sent my friend to Nivedita’s Wednesday evening class which is excellent!)
Yoga & Co 
Yoga & Meditation Paris (Yoga Nidra is included as part of each 2.5 hour class)  

Practice Yoga Nidra at home with CDs + MP3s:
• Pratiques de Yoga Nidra avec Micheline Flak  
Yoga Nidra : A l’approche du sommeil avec Kiran Vyas 
Relax Into Greatness with Rod Stryker 
Deep Relaxation: Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra with Jennifer Reis  

Practice Yoga Nidra FOR FREE:
Yoga Nidra avec Christian Möllenhoff 
Yoga Nidra: Healing Chakra Chorus with Jennifer Reis 
A search on YouTube for Yoga Nidra will return a ton of results, so don’t worry if the first one you click doesn’t work for you. There are many options!

Monday
Feb242014

Do Yoga in Paris

ATELIERS/YOGA WORKSHOPS IN PARIS
26 Feb Les Chakras avec Amina 
28 Feb-3 Mar Dynamic Yoga with Godrey Devereux 
1 Mar Yoga avec Muriel 
1 Mar Donation Saturdays (formerly Guerilla Yogi) with Marc (Donation) 
1 Mar Yoga Spécial Dos avec Diane 
1 Mar Yoga et Méditation avec Alexis 
1 Mar Postures Arrières avec Maryam 
1-2 Mar Weekend Yoga avec Juing 
2 Mar Initiation au Yoga avec Nadège 
2 Mar Le Pont au-delà d’Avignon (1e/2e Série) avec Laurence  
2 Mar Vinyasa Yoga avec Misuzu 
2 Mar Yoga Nidra et Plantes: l’Art de se Régénérer avec Stéphane 
2 Mar Ashtanga Yoga avec Suzy (débutant/débutant avancé) 
2 Mar Voyage à Travers les Chakras avec Francine Kushwant Kaur 
2 Mar Yoga sur Mesure avec Marie 
2 Mar Atelier Respiration Initiatique avec Sam 
2 Mar À Coeur Ouvert avec Sandra 
2 Mar Prana Flow—l’Énergie du Cercle avec Laurence 
2 Mar Bikram Yoga Master Class 
2 Mar Introduction à la Méditation 
2 Mar Hatha Yoga avec Misuzu 
2 Mar Yoga + Mantra with Silke 

AUTRES COURS + EVENEMENTS/OTHER CLASSES + EVENTS IN PARIS
26 Feb Yoga for the People at Jamini Design (12€) 
28 Feb Vinyasa at Lolë Paris (FREE! GRATUIT !) 
1 Mar Cours d’Essai au Centre Sivananda Paris (FREE! GRATUIT !) 
2 Mar Hatha Yoga at Wanderlust with Lolë Paris (FREE! GRATUIT !)
2 Mar Community Class at Centre de Yoga du Marais (10€) 

RETRAITES YOGA/YOGA RETREATS IN FRANCE
28 Feb-2 Mar Yoga Festival Val d’Isère 
13-19 April Flourishing Yoga Creativity in Normandie 
25-27 April Weekend in Normandie  

Friday
Feb212014

Nourish Your Soul, Replenish Your Ojas

The last few weeks have been as stressful as they have been sweet, and as many times as I’ve wanted to flop on the floor and have a tantrum, I’ve been reminded of how grateful I am to be here, doing this, stretching my body, breathing in and breathing out. 

Revitalizing and rebuilding vital energy reserves (Ojas) during those moments of pressure does not have to take a lot of time or effort. A simple way to increase Ojas is to add certain foods to your diet. When I am feeling depleted, I bring out the ghee (clarified butter), dates and raisins, seeds and soaked, peeled almonds. These ingredients make their way onto my tartines, into my stews and soups. One of the principles I appreciate about Ayurveda (the sister science to yoga) is its emphasis on quality -- not just on the quality of the foods, but also on the experience of enjoying them. How you eat your meals is just as important as what you eat.

(By the way, I don’t know if a pastel de nata is Ayurvedically correct, or if it builds ojas, but I savored the Portuguese tartelette slowly, and it cheered me up. The one above came from Pastelaria Belem. Hey, I sprinkled cinnamon on it. Does that count, ayurvedically?)

Meditation is another ingredient for healthy levels of Ojas. Again, this is easy to accomplish if you focus on quality, not quantity. Just try three to five minutes! If you can only do one minute, do one! Some meditation is always better than no meditation.

An Ojas-building yoga practice will nourish you inside and out. Rather than focus on strenuous sequences, relax into supported poses and forward bends. Try Yoga Nidra, which will guide you to physical and mental replenishment. If you don’t have time to attend a proper class, search for one online. Just click around until you find a Yoga Nidra session led by someone with a voice you like (this is very, very important. You will not be able to surrender to Yoga Nidra if the teacher’s voice annoys you. Trust me.)

Monday
Jan272014

Yoga + Paris = ♥

ATELIERS/YOGA WORKSHOPS IN PARIS
29 Jan Les Chakras avec Amina 
29 Jan Renforcer son Immunité avec le Yoga avec Edith 
31 Jan “Yoga Sutra”: Atelier de Yoga Iyengar 
1 Feb Vinyasa Yoga avec Laurence 
1 Feb Donation Saturdays (formerly Guerilla Yogi) with Marc (Donation) 
1 Feb Yoga Nidra avec Bénédicte 
1 Feb Une Pratique de Yoga Globale avec Delphine 
1 Feb Le Yoga du Son avec Philippe 
2 Feb Vinyasa Yoga avec Misuzu 
2 Feb Creating a Personal Vinyasa Flow Practice (Relax) with Isabelle 
2 Feb Gestion du Stress avec Elayne 
2 Feb Parents/Enfants avec Mélanie (Acroyoga)  
2 Feb Consolider Ses Bases avec Laëtitia  
2 Feb Les 3 Gunas: Atelier de Yoga Dynamique + Récupération Profonde avec Alexandra 
2 Feb Initiation Kundalini Yoga et Gong avec Caroline 
2 Feb Hatha Yoga avec Céline  
2 Feb “Setsubun et Chandeleur: Entre Hiver et Printemps” avec Noriko 
2 Feb Hatha Yoga avec Misuzu 
2 Feb Initiation au Yoga avec Elayne 
2 Feb Urdhva Dhanurasana avec Myrto  

AUTRES COURS + EVENEMENTS/OTHER CLASSES + EVENTS IN PARIS
10 Jan-10 Feb “Cours Découverte”/Discovery” class at Espace Yoga Bastille (10€)
1 Feb Ashtanga Yoga Paris Fête Ses 10 Ans/AYP 10-Year Anniversary Party  
1 Feb Portes Ouvertes/Open House at Centre Sivananda Paris (FREE! GRATUIT !) 
2 Feb Yoga at Wanderlust with Lolë Paris (FREE! GRATUIT !)
5 Feb Yoga for the People at Jamini Design (12€) 
15 Feb-6 Apr Yoga au Musée Guimet (12€) 

RETRAITES YOGA/YOGA RETREATS IN FRANCE
7-9 Feb, 2014 European Yogi Nomads: Annecy  
12-16 Feb, 2014 Caravan of Consciousness in Alsace  
14-16 Feb, 2014 Winter Yoga + Writing in Normandie 
20-23 Feb, 2014 Yoga, Spa, Ski + Deluxe Relaxation in Alsace  
25-27 Feb, 2014 Weekend in Normandie  
28 Feb-2 Mar Yoga Festival Val d’Isère 

Monday
Jan062014

Jumpstart 2014 with Yoga in Paris

Photo: Weléla Mar Kindred

ATELIERS/YOGA WORKSHOPS IN PARIS
11 Jan Post-Holiday Detox Flow with Claire 
11 Jan Intro to Yoga with Naomi 
11 Jan Full Spectrum Yoga Workshop with Delphine 
11 Jan Yoga x Dance with Weléla 
11 Jan Vinyasa Yoga with Benoît 
11 Jan Yoga, Sound Bath and Live Music with Laurence 
11 Jan Tout Ça Pour Ça (Yoga, Music, Green Smoothie) with Mika 
11 Jan Donation Saturdays (formerly Guerilla Yogi) with Anne (Donation)
11-12 Jan Weekend Yoga Workshop with Christian (Basic level) 
12 Jan “Work in Progress” Ashtanga Workshop 
12 Jan Yin Yoga with Sandrine 
12 Jan Sun Salutation Workshop with Elayne 
12 Jan Iyengar with Annie (1 of 2 sessions focused on the perineum)
12 Jan Meditation with Nadège 
12 Jan Pranayama + Méditation avec Céline 
12 Jan Breathing Workshop/Pranayama with Dominique   
12 Jan Post-Holiday Detox Yoga with Nadège 
12 Jan Yoga Nidra with Elayne  

EVENTS + OTHER CLASSES IN PARIS
6 Jan Découvrir la MLC: Méthode de Libération des Cuirasses (Séance découverte) 
9 Jan Hatha Yoga with Lolë Paris (FREE! GRATUIT !) 
10 Jan-10 Feb “Discovery” class / Cours “Découverte” at Espace Yoga Bastille (10€)
11 Jan Yoga with Himayoga’s Teacher Training Graduates (FREE! GRATUIT !)
11 Jan Cours d’essai/Trial class at Centre Sivananda (FREE! GRATUIT !)
12 Jan Yoga at Wanderlust with Lolë Paris (FREE! GRATUIT !)

FORMATIONS/TEACHER TRAININGS IN PARIS
11 Jan-29 June 200-Hour Teacher Training with Michelle Jacobi (Yoga Alliance certified) 
**More upcoming trainings listed here!**

RETRAITES YOGA/YOGA RETREATS IN FRANCE
18-19 Jan, 2014 Experience Iyengar Yoga in Cassis 
19-25 Jan, 2014 New Year’s Ashtanga Yoga Detox in Biarritz 
7-9 Feb, 2014 European Yogi Nomads: Annecy  
12-16 Feb, 2014 Caravan of Consciousness in Alsace  
14-16 Feb, 2014 Winter Yoga + Writing in Normandie