A few weeks ago I took a Yoga Nidra class, something I haven't had the opportunity to do in a long time. If you are not familiar with Yoga Nidra it is a wonderful practice that aims to restore and rejuvenate the body and mind through deep guided relaxation. Otherwise known as yogic sleep this practice brings you into a deep concsious sleep, while actually awake. It is in this in between place that transformation takes place.
What occupied my thoughts following the class was not the overwhelming sense of peace and ease that I felt, but rather the reintroduction to the practice of sankalpa.
Sankalpa is a chosen resolution or intention you set during Yoga Nidra in order to bring about positive change in your life. You repeat your sankalpa three times at the beginning and at the end of practice. One source I found stated "its effect is to awaken the willpower within by uniting the conscious awareness with the unconscious forces lying dormant." By setting your sankalpa during a Yoga Nidra practice you plant a deep rooted seed in your unconscious that is then fed by your consciousness to flourish and grow.
So how do you find your sankalpa?
To find your sankalpa, you'll want to identify areas in your life that you'd like to change; for starters, bad habits. You can start off with something as simple as "I will eat smaller portions" but as you practice with this, the intention will change as you dig away at the layers of why you are overeating to begin with. So your sankalpa may end up evolving into "I will live my life with acceptance and love for who I am."
You can work with Sankalpa beyond the Yoga Nidra practice using it as your intention each time you step on the mat. I've recently found myself repeating my sankalpa whenever I'm in a negative situation. With New Year's Intentions right around the corner, I suggest taking time this month to meditate and refine your sankalpa to carry you throughout 2011 and beyond! I certainly aim to study and learn more about the powerful practice of Yoga Nidra and sankalpa myself.
What are your experiences, if any, with Yoga Nidra?