So you want to get in touch with yourself, you want to access a sense of freedom, peace, joy, and fulfillment in your life, but perhaps you’re a little nervous about turning inside because you don’t know what repressed memories and ideas you’ll find lurking in the shadows of your subconscious. Guess what! You are not alone. Healing can be a scary and difficult road, but Embodied Mind is here to help guide you through the dark.
Here’s the trouble with trauma… we all have it and so few of us are ever taught how to move beyond it. It doesn’t matter how luxurious or privileged your life is. The simple experience of birth alone is a traumatic experience, and that’s only just the beginning! Thankfully, there are ways of confronting and moving beyond trauma safely, with little to no risk of re-traumatization. It takes time, yes, of course, but with practice it can become as easy and effortless as breathing. This is one of the beautiful gifts of Yoga Nidra, yogic sleep!
The first step in preparing yourself to deal with old trauma is to start practicing nonreaction and witness awareness. This can be done in many ways, but I can only speak from my own experience and what has worked for me. I am a student and practitioner in the Satyananda method of Yoga Nidra and Tantra, and I am happy to share the perspective and techniques I’ve learned through my study.
Every experience we have leaves an impression on us, and these impressions, or samskaras, have the power to influence our future decisions whether we are aware of their influence or not. This is what we mean in Yoga when we talk about the problem of karma. Past experiences color our perceptions of ourselves and our reality, and keep us from seeing things as they truly are. The more emotionally charged an experience was, the deeper that memory is carved into the depths of our consciousness and the more power it has to affect our future thoughts and behavior. All of our attachments and aversions can be traced back to a root experience from which our present moment patterns were born. In the casual layer of consciousness, burried deep beneath the surface churning of the mind we find vijnanamaya kosha, the storehouse for all of our latent impressions, or samskaras.
With Yoga Nidra, we move through and beyond this layer or mind to uncover and release any samskaras that may be affecting our waking lives without our knowledge. The veils of separation between you and I grow really thin here, making it possible to soften the grooves ingrained in both our own mind and in the collective field of consciousness as a whole.
Unlike typical meditation, no skill or experience is necessary to practice Nidra because the listener is systematically guided into this layer of being, and to the pure stillness that resides beyond the mind.
Just for a moment, imagine that there is no individual mind, no ego. Imagine the vast array of human experiences and memories laid out before you: the good, the bad, the joyous and horrendous, everything uncovered, everything made clear. The key is to remain fully present with all thoughts and experiences that arise in this space, including the ones you would normally reject or hide from. Remember that you are not these experiences, thoughts or feelings. Know that you are the one observing and that you are in full control of how these experiences are perceived and released.
Observe your mental patterning with detached, witness awareness as you allow your attention to rest in Chidakasha, the seat of the soul, as you boldly venture into the darkness found behind closed eyes, where intimacy with the self is fully accessed and realized. Notice the spontaneous unfolding of light as it emanates from your own brain, your pineal glad. This is the third eye center, Ajna Chakra. When this energy center is awoken, we are able to experience and witness all of life and reality without becoming disturbed by the ever-changing currents of nature and mind.
The ability to experience life without becoming disturbed by it comes with the awakening of Ajna Chakra, the third eye center. My (and our, if you so chose) practices for the next month will focus on unlocking the power of inner vision and nonreactive presence. Once the inner eye is open and clear, we can begin to view the inner workings of body, mind, heart, and soul without risk or fear. After one month of focused attention on the Ajna Chakra, we will systematically move through the lower five chakras in order to release long held tensions, traumas, and other psychosomatic holding patterns with ease.
Join me for practice in person this Wednesday, April 18th and again May 2nd at Cloud Nine Float Center. We will gather and practice from 8-9:30am, and yes, pre-registration is required.
If you are unable to join in person but want to get in on the practice, a recorded version of the class will be available as well. Please reach out to sign up for either option!