Breathe In, Bliss OutJill Miller
Year Released: 2009
- Audio Workout
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Iím reviewing this after doing it about a dozen times.
General workout breakdown: This approximately 20-min. CD contains yoga nidra practice intended as a relaxation meditation. This is a great introduction to the practice of ďyogic sleep,Ē during which you remain conscious while going into a very relaxed state Ė youíre actually not supposed to fall asleep, but you may sleep much better afterwards!
You begin with getting comfortable lying supine, in a corpse-like position, which is where youíll stay for the entire practice. Jill allows you ample opportunities to get all of the fidgets out. Next comes the crafting of a sanculpa, a form of intention. Jill provides some examples and explains how to turn negative ones into positive ones before giving you a few moments to create your own. Jill then has you count backwards with the yogic complete breath, or deep abdominal-thoracic breathing. Rotation of Awareness follows, during which Jill asks you to bring awareness to different parts of your body. This is not a progressive muscle relaxation but rather an exercise in directing your consciousness to a particular point when it is mentioned. After that comes the Realm of Conscious Awareness, where images, sounds, etc., play themselves out on a projection screen behind your closed eyes. Jill explains that this is what flickers across your subconscious mind during the day, only now youíre conscious of that. This portion ends with your sanculpa appearing on that screen. Jill ends by slowing bringing you back to your body in your space, allowing you to come out of your deeply relaxed state at a pace that keeps you relaxed but will allow you to resume your day after a few minutes. (Ideally you wouldnít then rush out to operate heavy machinery, for example, because you may still be in kind of an altered state!)
Level: Iíd recommend this to anyone, really. This is not a physically challenging practice at all; the only possible caveat would be if you canít lie on your back for that amount of time (pregnant women, for example, may want to find an alternative position). Although it helps to have some experience with sitting quietly in a more meditative state, this could be a great way to introduce yourself to that sort of challenge. Iíve been practicing yoga for over seven years now, but Iím fairly new to yoga nidra and currently donít have a meditation practice. I feel like I get a lot out of both this CD and this type of practice. Iíve been spending more time in restorative and therapeutic yoga styles over the past few years while battling some health issues plus trying to combat stress, so Iím delighted to add this tool to my collection.
Production: clear sound.
Equipment: perhaps a mat or a blanket, if youíre on the floor; Jill also says you can do this on a bed or sofa. Jill recommends resting your calves on some pillows (or blankets or a bolster) and tucking something under your head, like a blanket or a flat pillow (a towel would work, too). Youíll want to dress comfortably and perhaps also warmly for this one (like putting on a pair of socks), as your body temperature may drop a bit from lying quietly for so long. Oh, and make sure youíre in a quiet space, without disturbances. Turn off that phone, lock out the other people and/or animals in your household, close the windows onto that busy street, etc., and perhaps also dim the lights.
Space Requirements: enough space to lie down comfortably with your feet and arms a little apart.
CD Notes: no chapters.
Comments: Iíve only tried a few other yoga nidra practices, including Shiva Reaís abbreviated segment on Drops of Nectar (CD) and Betsey Downingís Yoga Nidra: Moving into the Garden of Your Heart (MP3), which is longer and more thorough plus contains a progressive muscle relaxation segment. Keeping in mind my limited knowledge, I feel that Jillís CD makes an accessible introduction to those curious about this technique. As a result, as much as I love Jill and enjoy this practice, I can foresee the day when this will feel too elementary for regular use, although the length would ensure that Iíd still reach for it on those days when I want to do something like this but donít have forty minutes to an hour. Iím definitely interested now in exploring other yoga nidra practices out there, too. Jill speaks calmly and in a very natural manner; you feel like sheís right there, giving you a private session. Her language is, as always, plain and straightforward, without any fancy words or flowery metaphors. Her directions are clear; even though the practice itself is simple, I still had no problems following it from the first time through. I feel her tone is just right for this type of practice, recognizing also that you may be new to doing something like this, so sheís positive and encouraging without being patronizing or perky.