Yoga Nidra Script Inspired by Nature

yoga nidra script inspired by nature

Hello Beauty!

I’m happy you’re here. If you’ve been on retreat with me before, you know how much reverence I have for the natural world. Today I would like to share with you a yoga nidra script inspired by nature and one of my regular retreat destinations. It’s also one of the yoga nidra scripts that my yoga teacher training students learn in their yoga nidra module.

This short yoga nidra script will take approximately 20-25 minutes and its format is inspired by the teachings of the Bihar School in India and it follows an inward journey through the koshas, from annamaya kosha to anandamaya kosha.

Yoga nidra has so many benefits… from relieving stress to improving sleep and accessing that bliss state, ananda. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of yoga nidra, check out this blog post here.

A Few Tips For Teaching and Practicing Yoga Nidra

Remember that when you’re preparing your yoga nidra script, you want your language to be simple and precise. When you’re reading or reciting your script, avoid too much inflection in your voice. Speak clearly, with an even volume and tempo.

Yoga nidra is a wonderful and fertile space for working with a sankalpa. Formulate your sankalpa as a positive “I am” statement. If one doesn’t come to mind, I encourage you to use the sankalpa, “I am the witness”. You may just discover that your sankalpa was hidden within this whole time.

If you are facilitating yoga nidra, make sure that you are seated upright in a position that you can be still in. Make sure that you are comfortable. If you are distracted by discomfort in your body, that distracted energy will carry over to your students.

If you are practicing yoga nidra, make sure that you are comfortable. Use a pillow or folded blanket under your head and a cushion or bolster underneath your knees will help release your lower back. The body temperature does drop while yoga nidra, so drape a blanket over your body. You want to be as still as possible, so make sure that you’re as comfortable as possible.

yoga-nidra-yogic-sleep

Yoga Nidra Script Inspired by Nature Written by Autumn Adams

We will practice yoga nidra in Savasana, lying on your back. Please take a moment to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Use any props you have available to support your body.

Before we begin, bring into your mind’s eye your sankalpa, your “I am” statement. Repeat it quietly and internally to yourself three times. [PAUSE]

Preliminary Relaxation

As you settle into Savasana, bring your awareness to the spaces between your body and the earth beneath you. Invite your body to soften and rest. As you begin to surrender into relaxation, notice the spaces between your body and the earth beneath you becoming smaller and smaller. Your body relaxed, lying on the floor.

We will begin a rotation of awareness. All you have to do is allow your awareness to follow my voice as I guide you from point to point within your body.

Option #1: An Abbreviated Rotation of Awareness — Perfect for when you’re short on time

Right heel. Left heel. Right calf. Left calf. Right knee. Left knee. Right thigh. Left thigh. Right hip. Left hip. Both hips together. Lower back. Middle back. Upper back. Back of right hand. Back of left hand. Right wrist. Left wrist. Right forearm. Left forearm. Right elbow. Left elbow. Right upper arm. Left upper arm. Right shoulder. Left shoulder. Both shoulders together. Neck. Back of head. All points of contact with the earth. [PAUSE]

Option #2: Long Form Rotation of Awareness

Move your awareness to your mouth. Become aware of your tongue. Lower jaw. Lower row of teeth. Upper row of teeth. Gums. Upper lip. Lower lip. Space between your lips. Both cheeks. Right ear. Left ear. Forehead. Both temples. Top of the head. Back of the head. Tip of the nose. Right nostril. Left nostril. Right eyelid. Left eyelid. Right eye. Left eye. Right eyebrow. Left eyebrow. Space between the eyebrows. Now go to the right hand. The right hand thumb. Second finger. Third finger. Fourth finger. Little finger. Palm of the hand. Back of the hand. Wrist. Forearm. Elbow. Upper arm. Shoulder. Right armpit. Ribs. Waist. Hip. Right thigh. Knee. Calf. Ankle. Heel. Sole of the foot. Top of the foot. Right big toe. Second toe. Third toe. Fourth toe. Little toe. Go to the left hand. The left hand thumb. Second finger. Third finger. Fourth finger. Little finger. Palm of the hand. Back of the hand. Wrist. Forearm. Elbow. Upper arm. Shoulder. Left armpit. Ribs. Waist. Hip. Left thigh. Knee. Calf. Ankle. Heel. Sole of the foot. Top of the foot. Left big toe. Second toe. Third toe. Fourth toe. Little toe. Groin. Right buttock. Left buttock. Lower back. Mid-back. Upper back. Right shoulder blade. Left shoulder blade. Back of the neck. Back of the head. Right inner ear. Left inner ear. Roof of the mouth. Throat. Right collar bone. Left collar bone. Right chest. Left chest. Middle chest. Upper abdomen. Navel. Lower abdomen. Groin. Whole spine. The whole head. Right arm. Left arm. Both arms together. The whole right leg. The whole left leg. Both legs together. Whole front body. Whole back body. Be aware of the whole body. [PAUSE]

Breath Awareness

Now bring your awareness to your breath. Follow the gentle tide of your breath without altering it. Now, envision your breath as a golden light flowing up and down your spinal column. With your inhale, the golden light flows from the tailbone to the crown of the head. And with your exhale, it flows from the crown of the head back down to the tailbone. A cosmic tide of prana. Stay with your breath as it flows up and down your spinal column, golden, vibrant, radiant. [PAUSE]

Opposite Sensations

Now bring awareness to the sensation of heat. Your right leg warm. Your left leg warm. Both arms warm. Torso warm. The whole body becoming hot. [PAUSE]

All at once, your body becomes cold. Legs cold. Arms cold. Torso cold. The entire body cold. [PAUSE] Now let that go. [SHORT PAUSE]

Guided Imagery Journey

Imagine that you are standing outside in nature
You feel your bare feet on the earth
You’re standing in an open meadow surrounded by a lush forest
You tip your face upward to feel the warmth of the sun
Smell the wildflowers in the air
In the distance you see a path leading into the forest
You walk toward the path and step into the forest
Once inside the forest, your eyes adjust to the shade of the trees
The path continues in front of you and winds easily up the hillside
Sunlight shines through the trees, birds sing in the distance
You continue on the path as it climbs steadily uphill
Near the top of the hill you see a small opening in the side of the mountain
This opening is a cave
You feel drawn to the cave and walk toward it
Within the cave you see a single lit candle
You realize you’ve stumbled into a sacred temple
You sit down upon the earth
A sense of calm washes over you, you feel at peace with all that is
You need nothing from the outside world, you gaze into the candle flame
You drop into deep meditation
In the middle of the flame you see the purest golden seed, untouched by the flame
On the surface of the seed, see your sankalpa inscribed.
Gaze into the flame once again
The seed is no longer in the flame
The seed is now in your heart
Repeat your sankalpa 3 times, quietly, internally and with meaning.
[PAUSE FOR FIVE MINUTES]

The practice of yoga nidra is now complete.

Gently guide your awareness back to your physical body, lying on the earth. Become aware of your breath. Your body slowly breathing in and out. Without opening your eyes, become aware of your surroundings. The earth beneath you. As your awareness comes back, invite your breath to deepen. When you feel ready, stretch your arms long overhead, extend your legs long, point your toes and take a full-body stretch. Slowly roll over into the fetal position on your right side. A posture that resembles a newborn child or fertile seed, a posture that symbolizes new beginnings. Take a moment here. When you’re ready, gently press up to a comfortable seat.

So many of you have asked for a recording to practice with, so I’ve just recorded this yoga nidra script and put it up on YouTube. Here it is. Enjoy!

25 minute yoga nidra practice inspired by nature

Please feel free to reach out with questions. Happy healing!

Love and Light,

Autumn

Permissions for live in-person classes only: This script is copyrighted Ambuja Yoga© 2019, all rights reserved. You may use this script to guide live in-person classes or events only. Descriptions and advertising for any live in-person class using this script in whole or in part must include one of the following attributions: script ©Ambuja Yoga used by permission, or modified from script ©Ambuja Yoga used by permission.

This use does not convey the right to borrow from this script or to reproduce it in any way. No part of this script may be reproduced, distributed, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, digital copying, print, audio or video recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

yoga nidra script for rest and relaxation

Other Resources for Yoga Nidra

A Mudra for Love: Abhaya Hridaya

I haven’t been writing much recently. Primarily because I’ve been weighed down by the collective pain and sadness of living in this time of Covid, systemic racism and injustice, and a struggling economy. I’ve simply grown weary. My natural reaction is to run away, to hide, to escape, but I’m making the conscious decision to sit with the pain, the trauma and the fear.

As I sit, I am reminded by the words of a fellow yoga teacher, wise beyond her years, to “love for love’s sake.” And so today, I sit, I use my tools, and I choose to love for love’s sake. Here I will share one of my favorite mudras, the shape of it is stunning, but even more importantly, it is a mudra for a fearless heart and a mudra for love in all its forms.

If you’re just beginning a mudra practice, make sure to check out all the mudras on my website (there are tons). The Chopra website also has a great roundup of beginner mudras.

mudra for love, abhaya hridaya, mudra for fearless love

What Does Abhaya Hridaya Mudra Mean?

  • Abhaya: without fear
  • Hridaya: spiritual heart
  • Mudra: seal

If you look at the roots of hridaya, the meaning goes even deeper. Hri “to give”, da “to take”, ya “balance” and can be translated as “that which gives and takes in perfect balance”. A perfect balance of giving and receiving, of mutual balance, respect, and reciprocity. Have we forgotten how to love through the uncomfortable and the ugly. Let’s relearn love and put love into action.

How to Practice Abhaya Hridaya, A Mudra for Love

With your wrists crossed, bring the backs of your hands to touch in front of your heart space. Interlace your pinky, ring and middle fingers. Then bring the tips of your index finger and thumb to touch and create a circle shape.

Benefits of Abhaya Hridaya Mudra

This mudra helps work with the third and fourth chakras, Manipura and Anahata, respectively. The list of benefits of this mudra goes on and on. It helps us

  • release stress
  • love fearlessly through the uncomfortable and messy
  • cultivate the courage to stand up for what is right
  • heal from past trauma and balance strong emotions, so we can see clearly
  • embrace our inner truth
  • bring clarity to our values
  • invite love into all parts of our being
  • see the unity and interconnection of all beings
hand mudra for fearless love, love mudra, abhaya hridaya mudra

A Meditation to Practice With This Mudra For Love

I would like to share a meditation based on a meditation practice from my book, The Little Book of Mudra Meditations. I simply call it the Fearless Love Meditation. It is loosely based on Metta meditation or loving-kindness meditation.

To begin, find a comfortable space to sit quietly. Make sure that it is a space you feel safe and supported in, whether that’s your patio, your bedroom, or perhaps your bathroom. I like to practice this meditation in an upright seat, but feel free to practice it lying down or in any other posture that feels nurturing (and non-distracting).

Once you find your meditation posture, soften your gaze or close down your eyes and take a few cleansing, clearing breaths by breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. With each exhale breath, see if you can let go of any worry or stress from your day.

Bring your hands into Abhaya Hridaya Mudra. If at any point your shoulders, arms or hands feel fatigued, release the mudra and come back into it when you feel ready.

Opening to love

Now, “imagine someone who radiates love, who loves you unconditionally, sitting right in front of you. This person could be a parent, friend, child, pet, teacher, or guru” or god/deity. “Now imagine a bright white light flowing from their heart to your heart. This radiant light fills your heart with unconditional love. Your heart is filled with love that knows no bounds. Release any resistance to receiving this love. You are worthy of love.”

“Feel a weight lifted off your shoulders.” Feel unconditional love pour into every cell of your being. Feel tension release from your face — your brows, your jaw, your tongue. Now bring your awareness to the luminous cavern of your heart space and feel your heart soften as it is bathed in luminous, radiant love.

We cannot pour from an empty cup, fearless love begins with loving yourself first and the inner knowing that you are worthy of love, so again release any resistance you may be holding on to.

Abundant love for all

With your eyes still closed, hold the vision of another in front of you, this person again could be a loved one, a person who challenges you, a group of people, there is no limit. Hold their image steady in your awareness.

Now see the luminous light of fearless love flowing from your heart space right into theirs. As the cavern of their heart space fills with this radiant white light, witness stress, worry and fear release from their face, their neck, their shoulders. See their shoulders soften as the weight of sorrow, anger, and fear is lifted. Witness the space of their heart soften. Listen quietly as peace fills every fiber of their being. Witness them soften into love.

Hold the images of these light, love-filled beings in your heart space. Practice for as long as you would like. When you’re ready, open your eyes and begin the mindful transition out of your meditation practice.

This post meditative space is fertile ground for journaling and putting love into action.

abhaya hridaya mudra for fearless love

What Is The Meaning Of Om?

om mantra meaning

If you’ve attended a yoga class or visited a Hindu or Buddhist temple you have likely heard the mantra OM or AUM being chanted. The Om mantra is the most sacred mantra in both Hinduism and Buddhism. In addition, Om is also said to be the primordial sound of the Universe. The Om mantra is the most elemental of vibrations and is considered the sound of the void.

According to Patanjali, Om, the original sound, is a direct expression of isvara or God. Therefore, when we chant Om it provides a direct link to the Divine and divine knowledge. Om connects us to the Divine in vibrational form and makes our prayers and mantras more effective by increasing pranic energy.

Where did the Om mantra originate?

Om, an ancient Sanskrit letter, first appeared in the Vedas between 1500 and 1200 BCE. The main teaching on Om from the Vedas, Upanishads and Yoga Sutras is to experience non-dual awareness.

How do you pronounce Om?

The common pronunciation of Om is to pronounce the mantra with the same “o” sound as in “home”. But there are actually three sounds that make up the mantra: A-U-M or “aaah”, “oooh”, “mmm”. The sound of OM/AUM begins at the back of the throat with the “aaah” sound and ends at the lips with the “mmm” sound. When chanting the mantra OM, it fills the entire mouth from back to front, which represents the entire Universe. Similarly, when chanting Om, one can feel its vibration deep within the body. At the end of chanting AUM there is a pause or a moment of silence. This pause represents the state known as Turiya, or Infinite Consciousness.

What does the Om symbol mean?

If you look at the symbol for OM you will see three curves, one semicircle, and a dot at the top. In addition, each portion of the symbol contains not only the sounds of the mantra but deeper symbolism and meaning.

  • The large bottom curve symbolizes the waking state, A.
  • The middle curve signifies the dream state, U.
  • The upper curve denotes the state of deep sleep, M.
  • The dot signifies the fourth state of consciousness, Turiya.
  • The semi-circle at the top represents Maya or illusion. Therefore, it is the illusion of Maya that is an obstacle to accessing our highest self.

The three sounds of the om mantra represent the various trinities:

  • Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva (creator, preserver, destroyer)
  • The past, present, and future
  • The waking, dreaming, and dreamless states
  • Heaven, earth, and underworld

In David Frawley’s book, Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound, he says:

“Om is the prime mantra of the Higher Self, or Atman. It attunes us with our true nature. It is the sound of the creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe, who is also the inner guru and prime teacher. It reflects both the manifest and un-manifest Brahman, sustaining the vibration of being, life, and consciousness in all worlds and all creatures.”

The mantra Om is directly linked to the sixth and seventh chakras, Ajna and Sahasrara respectively.

Sound and vibration are powerful tools for healing and transformation. Exploring the mantra OM, and the power of sound can remind us to treat our words and thoughts as sacred, creative, and divine. What we think and say, we manifest.

Nikola Tesla said, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

om mantra meaning

How Mindfulness Can Help With Mood Disorders

new yoga teacher tips

Mindfulness is a much used method of relaxation and it can help you with a lot of different issues.

Some people have a little bit of a misconception about mindfulness and about meditation in general.

People often try to meditate in order to help deal with things like anxiety and depression and find it to be an ineffective treatment.

In some cases, it is ineffective and it’s never going to cure your condition completely. However, a lot of people just don’t actually know how to properly practice mindfulness.

It’s not about sitting down in a quiet room, closing your eyes and taking deep breaths. It’s something that takes a lot of effort and a lot of concentration.

True meditation has a history of reducing the symptoms of certain mood disorders when you master it. There are a few different ways to meditate, the most effective for this is mindfulness, although any type of meditation practice can help reduce stress, improve learning and memory, and improve emotional regulation.

Practicing mindfulness can help you a lot in dealing with some of the most debilitating mood disorders. Here are a couple that you can use it for:

1. Bipolar Disorder

As we’ve already said, it’s not going to cure your bipolar disorder completely, but it can help give you some relief from the symptoms.

Oftentimes, people who suffer from bipolar disorder will find it complicated if they are feeling stressed.

The disorder causes extreme highs and lows in the mood of those who suffer from it and when you’re stressed, these highs and lows can fluctuate much more aggressively and unpredictably.

And then people are likely to get even more stressed as a consequence of feeling the effects of bipolar disorder.

Practicing mindfulness will help you to stabilize your mood. When you’re practicing, the goal is to focus on how you are feeling at that very moment and be completely aware of all sensations.

Doing this will allow you to develop an awareness of anything that could potentially be causing your stress and how you are feeling in that moment.

By having this awareness, you can disengage from these thoughts and feelings and allow yourself to relax more easily.

This will help with the stress problem but it will also give you an understanding of your mood imbalance which will allow you to feel more at ease with your feelings.

Again, this won’t cure this or any of the mood disorders we’ll be discussing but it should help you feel better.

2. Anxiety

Anxiety is not always a mood disorder. Many people just suffer from some form of anxiety in their lives but there is something called General Anxiety Disorder, or GAD.

This is one of the more common mood disorders and there are a lot of sufferers around the world, but it’s also one of the easier ones to deal with.

Mindfulness can treat regular sufferers of anxiety, but it can also be used as a treatment for the effects of GAD too.

Anxiety is yet another problem that happens as a consequence of stress. Stress is something that people should be more familiar with because it causes many mental issues.

The stress of anxiety, in particular, is caused by unproductive worries which people assign too much power too.

Thoughts that wouldn’t normally be a cause for concern for most people but that the anxiety sufferer makes too big of a deal out of in their own mind.

The thing about mindfulness though, is that it will give you a chance to really focus on these thoughts and put them into perspective in your mind.

You can make it clear to yourself why you are thinking these thoughts and why they are irrational.

You will have to train your brain to think differently and the only way to do that is to put an active focus on actually thinking.

After practicing mindfulness for a while, you’ll begin to recognize these thoughts in your day-to-day life and deal with them as you would while meditating.

effects of yoga on the respiratory system mindfulness

3. Depression

Much like anxiety and bipolar disorder, depression is an issue that can be severely complicated by stress.

In the case of serious, clinical depression, you should probably seek professional help which will potentially result in prescribed medication, but mindfulness is helpful for side effects.

Some of these side effects of depression are things like forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, insomnia and a general distortion of thinking.

Practicing mindfulness will stabilize all of these specific symptoms by allowing you to understand the thoughts that are contributing to them.

Your depression will not disappear by practicing mindfulness, but you can prevent it from infiltrating your life in other ways.

Depression can completely take over your livelihood if you allow it to. Mindfulness ensures that you maintain a relaxed outlook and balance of your thoughts.

Conclusion

So to sum up, many of these mood disorders are amplified by stress and some of them are even caused by it.

As we’ve said repeatedly, meditation won’t fix your mood disorders, but by eliminating stress it can help you control how the disorders affect you.

Demystifying Meditation: Nine Different Meditation Practices

There are many, many different types of meditation practices. When you google “types of meditation” the results can be pretty overwhelming, especially when you’re not sure what you’re looking for or what you like. This is a paired down list of popular meditation practices. The most popular type of meditation in recent history is mindfulness meditation with it’s many health benefits and abundant research.

Nine Meditation Types For Beginners

Mindfulness Meditation

Since mindfulness meditation is the most popular meditation practice today I’ve put it in the number one spot. You’ve probably heard of it before, but may not know what it is or how it is different from other meditation practices. Mindfulness meditation is simply paying attention to the present moment and being aware of all the sensations, thoughts, etc. that arise without judgement or attachment. Here is a cool video from Jon Kabat Zinn about how a mindfulness meditation practice lights up different parts of the brain and here is a link to get you started with a mindfulness practice.

2. Transcendental Meditationmeditation types beginners

Transcendental meditation doesn’t seem to be as popular today as it was in the past, but there is still a substantial community worldwide. Transcendental meditation (TM) was made popular by the Beatles who learned the technique from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It has it’s roots in religion and involves mantra (sound) repetition for 15-20 minutes twice daily. Transcendental meditation teachers are required to undergo a certified training before they can teach and share the practice and students are initiated into the practice.

Much research has been done on the technique, but the research has been poorly conducted and unfortunately is of little scientific value. But honestly, any form of meditation is likely to create positive changes in your life, so why not try TM.

3. One of my favorite meditation practices: Mantra or Japa

Similar to Transcendental Meditation, mantra and japa meditation involve the repetition of a mantra, sound or divine name. This type of meditation practice is often practiced with a mala. A mala is a necklace, similar to a rosary, with 108 beads on it. The mantra is repeated 108 times either softly spoken or internally repeated. This type of ancient meditation practice is used in many different religious traditions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. You could even say it is similar to praying with a rosary.

homemade-mala-diy

A handmade green sandalwood meditation mala.

4. Guided Meditation: Chakras, Third Eye, Breath, Journey & More

Guided meditations are wonderful for those who need a bit more guidance and whose minds tend to wander off. Guided meditations can focus on visuals, energetics, sounds, the breath, emotional states and much more. There are many apps you can use on your phone or ipad. Choose your length of practice, the teacher, the focus and get started.

yoga-chakras

5. Trataka Meditation (also spelled tratak)

Trataka is a form of meditation where one focuses the eyes on one point. Very commonly trataka is performed while gazing at a candle flame. Eventually you may want to close the eyes. When the eyes are closed envision the candle flame in all of it’s detail. Hold this vision of the flame as long as you can and when it dissipates you may end your meditation practice. Slowly open your eyes. Don’t look directly at the flame again right after your meditation. You may need eye drops if the eyes feel dry or strained.

6. Focused Attention- Zazen, Breath, Mantra, etc.

In focused attention meditation the mind is focused on one thing; that one thing could be the breath, sensation in the body, a mantra, an object, etc. The attention is held on this one thing. As thoughts come up, and they will, the mind’s focus is guided back to it’s original point of focus.

7. Metta- Loving Kindness

Metta, or loving kindness, meditation is a practice of sending love to oneself, a good friend, a neutral person, a difficult person, all four of them equally and then eventually to the entire universe. This exercise is excellent for cultivating compassion. Here is a Loving Kindness Meditation with Jack Kornfield.

loving-kindness-meditation

Loving kindness meditation is kind of like a hug for the soul.

8. Vipassana

Vipassana often begins with awareness on the breath and then moves to a practice that includes noting external stimuli without becoming attached to the source of the stimuli. An example could be if you hear a motorcycle drive by label it “hearing”, not motorcycle or if you notice a sour taste in your mouth instead of labeling it sour note it as “taste”. Noting the sense that recognized the external stimuli. It is very common to attend vipassana retreats where one has the opportunity to delve deep into a meditation practice.

9. Yoga Nidra

I hesitate to include yoga nidra on this list because I don’t necessarily consider it a meditation practice. Yoga nidra is “yogic sleep” and it is a way to access the unconscious and subconscious mind. It is a guided practice, similar to that of a guided meditation. Yoga nidra induces a state of deep relaxation and yoga nidra has a multitude of benefits. If you’re wondering what yoga nidra is or what it is like, I have a yoga nidra script inspired by the natural world here.

relaxation-meditation-yoga-nidra

Not sure where to start? Google your local community and see what’s available. You might be surprised to find local meditation groups and meditation teachers that would be more than happy to take you under their wing. Another option is to go on a yoga and meditation retreat. On retreat you’ll often practie a few different meditation practices and you’ll have an opportunity to talk to others and share experiences.

Good luck on your meditation practice. Feel free to shoot me a private message if you have any questions via our contact form.

Love and Light,

Autumn