My first experience with Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra: or “yogic sleep” is a sleep-like state which yogis report to experience during their meditations. Yoga nidra . . . is among the deepest possible states of relaxation while still maintaining full consciousness.

I was entranced. Every scene she word-painted grew more vivid, lustrous, vibrant. You are in a desert, the hot sun boiling you, sweat trickling down your spine, the sand rough against your feet . . . You are in a field, toes curling into the damp grass, inhaling freshly mowed green and lilac wildflowers.

You are at the ocean. You taste the salt, sense the seagulls flapping, breathe the wind. 

I was not alone.

I didn’t see anyone; I didn’t even turn my head. But I felt his energy. We were laughing. I rested my head against his shoulder. We watched the waves together.

You are on a mountaintop. Overlooking the valley from where you have come. 

NO. No. I wanted the ocean. I tried to smell the salt.

I was alone on the mountaintop.

Little did Sree, the facilitator of this yoga nidra, know that my sankalpa, the mantra I had been focusing on, chanting inwardly, was:


I trust the valley. I trust the valley. I trust the valley.

I can see the mountaintop in the distance. I know that the valley is the only path to the mountaintop. I must be here to get to there.

But, to feel the presence of someone else, someone I love, at the ocean, and then to have to leave so quickly jarred me. I trust the valley; I trust the valley. 

If you’ve never experienced yoga nidra, it is a deep meditation similar to a dream state, but while you are awake. The facilitator will provide a narration to follow which will help guide you deeper and deeper into this meditative trance and lead you to a richer, fuller dream state.

In other words, you have experiences that feel like dreams, but when you “come back to earth,” you feel as though they really happened. (Or, you know they really happened.)

So, this was my first experience: I was at the ocean–with someone I love, unexpectedly–and then, I was on the mountaintop. Alone.

I’m not here to convince you that I really was at the ocean, that he really was there with me, that I really did teleport to a mountain.

What I am here to say, is that every lesson of late, every experience in my day-to-day realm or in the meditative trance, every sign from the universe is reinforcing that the mountain is where I need to be right now.

Sree, our teacher, did not know my sankalpa. She did not know I had been chanting, “I trust the valley,” picturing my mountaintop in the distance. Instead, she led me to the ocean, let me have my experience, and then led me to the mountaintop to let me learn my lesson.

Here’s the lesson as I see it today (for who knows anything of tomorrow): the suffering I am experiencing is all a result of my white-knuckled attachment.

The ocean is perfect. It is exuberant and exhilarating and joyful.

But it’s not something I can continue grasping, for it is not where I am meant to be right now. Today, I am meant to fill my lungs with the mountaintop.

And the mountaintop is pretty damn beautiful as well.


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