This is the 2nd Instalment in the blog series, Yoga and The Art of Change - for the full story, first read this one…
Within the Practice of Yoga Nidra we have some potent tools to support us in the journey to create meaningful and lasting change. Yoga Nidra takes us into a Turiya state, in many ways this is a timeless state, where the memories of the past and the obligations of the future do not exist - there is only This. This experience is deeply relaxing, so much of our existential anxiety is bound up in our perceptions of time.
When we achieve this resting or hypnagogic state (very similar to the experience of hypnosis) our mind is far more receptive to suggestion.
With the practice of Sankalpa a resolve that supports the change we would like to make in our lives - we frame it as a short clear statement, as though it is already true, for example if I wanted to decrease stress I might create a Sankalpa that says “Peace is my true nature”. I would support this sankalpa by practicing yoga nidra often and repeating it regularly.
Sankalpa and Yoga Nidra are a potent combination of two supporting yogic techniques. Sankalpa is the seed and yoga nidra is the water that will support that seed to grow.
What happens when the Sankalpa is embedded in the subconscious mind, is that is begins to influence our conscious choices, often without us even noticing that it’s happening. (Yoga Magic right here folks!)
Example: say I want to no longer smoke ciggies, to experience complete health, I have made my Sankalpa that ‘I have radiant health.’ News Flash: Radiantly healthy peeps don’t generally smoke ciggies. So rather than make my Sankalpa ‘I don’t smoke ciggies’ - a negative - I’ve made it about the positive outcome: ‘I am radiant and well.’
So I’ve been practicing my Yoga Nidra regularly and embedding the Sankalpa nice and deep. Next time I’m feeling like a ciggie, rather than wrangling with the justification/guilt complex in the conscious mind, the little angels voice from my subconscious will chime in and remind me, ‘I have radiant health.’ And guess what? Radiantly healthy people don’t smoke ciggies…
And if it doesn’t work that time, if i do have that cigarette, rather than slipping into the guilt/remorse saga, I just accept that it has happened, and gently go back to my practice, my Yoga Nidra sadhana, and keep watering that Sankalpa until it is absolutely, emphatically and undeniably true.
Growing a Garden
Growing a garden is the same as changing karma. We plant the seed, water the seed, and as our plant begins to grow we offer it care and attention, continuing to give it water and love.
But mostly we give it time. Despite us giving it the best treatment and conditions favourable for growth, a plant can only grow as fast as a plant can grow.
Real change takes time, to make lasting, meaningful change we need to allow time. As the plant grows strong, it becomes more resilient to drought and weeds, it will still need care, but less intensive and not as often.
Make peace with our past, accept the truth of the present, and make a clear positive intention for the future.