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Can't relax

gingerkaya2010-07-04 12:50:48 +0000 #1
hi i've just started a yoga class after qualifying last year and at the end of the class i finish with a 15minute yoga nidra, one person informed me that they really struggle to relax and their sankalpa cant happen, i suggested to just try and watch the abdominal breathing if they found their mind wandering and to try a resolve that is simple and attainable, have you any other ideas
justwannabe2010-07-04 12:59:37 +0000 #2
sometimes we cant relzx because we do not let go of not being able to relax. Instead we may fight with ourselves and create a self fulfilling prophecy. My suggestion would be to tell them to just accept their current level of relaxation/non relaxation. I used to worry about not being able to relax myself. Now if I move or scratch an itch I dont mentally tell myself "you should not have done that, you are supposed to be relaxing," etc...

Hope that makes some sense. My best to you

I am love, I am joy, I am letting go of what is not needed.

I am Neil
InnerAthlete2010-07-04 13:03:33 +0000 #3
Hello Ginger.

Am I to understand you are teaching the class in question?

If that is so then I'd first advise you connect with your teacher or peers to get feedback and insight in relationship with the lineage in which you were trained.

That having been said, Yoga Nidra is Yogic Sleep. It is not simple relaxation but a much deeper state of being. Therefore Yoga Nidra can not be facilitated in 15 minutes. It is nearly impossible, even for very seasoned senior teachers to take students to that depth in that span of time.

Are you using the term Sankalpa to mean the intention or resolve of the student? If not please define your usage so I may speak to it directly. There is no mandate for an intention on the part of the student either in Savasana or Yoga Nidra. Though again you may be trained in a way that embraces another philosophy and that is why it makes sense to check with your teacher.

Finally, what is the purpose of abdominal breathing in Yoga Nidra? I realize other schools teach differing principles. However the home of the breath is in the lungs and the breath should therefore move between the diaphragm and the collar bones (unless there is a specific purpose for doing otherwise). Additionally the belly is a hydraulic system while the lungs are a pneumatic one and they should not be called upon to do the job of the other - unless of course there's a specific purpose in doing so. Air is moved by a pneumatic system while fluid is moved by a hydraulic one.
justwannabe2010-07-04 13:13:33 +0000 #4

Originally Posted by InnerAthlete

. However the home of the breath is in the lungs and the breath should therefore move between the diaphragm and the collar bones (unless there is a specific purpose for doing otherwise). .

someitmes I let it frustrate me as different sources have different answers, and I am not implying you are right or wrong and one source superior to the other. For instance I am sure you have based your statement on what you consider sound teachers. Then there are other teachings like yogi bhajan (titled as master of kundalini) who says we have 3 breathing diaphrams, near base of spine, regular diaphram as you mentioned, and a diaphram in the throat. So applying this teaching when I brearh I feel something near the base of spine lower to accomodate the downward moving of my "middle" diaphragm. swami rama wrote the science of breath and in it he has one do expercises with a weight on the stomach to practice lifting this and strengthen the abbs. Any clarity you can offer for what to me seems two different views? Maybe it is my misunderstanding that makes the views seem so far apart, cause God knows I dont know everything

thanks brother

i am love, i am peace, i am joy, i am neil
gingerkaya2010-07-04 13:30:07 +0000 #5
hi and thanks for the advice, I have a beginners class so am only doing a short relaxation to start with as I believe it can be quite difficult to do a 30 -40 minute relaxation in a 0ne and a half hour class with complete beginners. What I have been calling yoga nidra is a rotation of conciosness through the whole body starting with the right hand thumb, this is taken from Swami Satyananda Saraswati book Yoga Nidra, I am aware that to get into a deeper state of being this will take time and practice but this is only the second class he has come to. By sankalpa I mean a resolve which is part of yoga nidra as I understand it. I have now written a handout on making a resolve with some examples so it may be easier to understand.

When I asked him to observe the abdominal breath , I have been taught to watch the movement of the breath in the abdomen as it rises and falls as a way to relax and when my mind wanders to bring it back to the breath. I have been focussing on the abdominal breath in the class taken from the book 'Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha' the bihar school of yoga, I know this is diaphrgmatic breathing but I understand it is observed in the navel centre. I quote from the book 'Abdominal breathing is the most natural and efficient way to breathe. Due to tension, poor posture restrictive clothing and lack of training howevwer it is often forgotten. once this technique again becomes a part of daily life and correct breathing is restored, there will be a great improvement in the state of physical and mental wellbeing'

i am going to see my teacher tonight so will dicuss more thanks this has raised lots of questions in my head.
InnerAthlete2010-07-04 13:20:12 +0000 #6

Originally Posted by justwannabe

Any clarity you can offer for what to me seems two different views? Maybe it is my misunderstanding that makes the views seem so far apart, cause God knows I dont know everything

thanks brotherl

I believe Neil that I've provided a sound rationale for the philosophy I'm both practicing and teaching.

It is not a matter of right and wrong, though there are surely some right and wrongs in yoga. If the breathing work you mention, from two sources neither of whom you've had study or contact with, works for you in your body and in your life then by all means continue it.

There are other diaphragms in the body, both physical and subtle. That is absolutely so. Their use and purpose is another matter. While there is benefit for the student to be able to breathe into a muscle, extremity, or joint, that is not what we are discussing when we are discussing what moves as the energy of the breath comes in to it appropriate place.

As I said in each of my statements above, "unless there is a specific reason for it" to go elsewhere.

While my practice began in an Ashram in the Kundalini practice it is not one that serves my svadharma and therefore I cannot speak to that which Yogi Bajan has put forth.

And one addition please for Ginger here:

I am not suggesting the belly be still. It does, in fact move (or rise and fall) as part of the nature of breath. I am suggesting that is a by-product of the breath in the pneumatic system. The lungs are where they are for an evolutionary reason even though abdominal breathing does have effect (is not without value). It would not be a way I would instruct beginners or raw beginners. But again I understand other DO and I welcome yoga's diversity in this regard (and others)
justwannabe2010-07-04 13:57:21 +0000 #7
thank you for your reply and insight IA, I appreciate your time brother

i am love, i am joy, i am peace

i am neil



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