[Guest post by Veena from Bangkok]
“After attending “Finding YourSelf “, workshop with Prasad in Oct 2006 in Bangkok, I was introduced to Yoga Nidra. For 3 weeks after the workshop, I was still pondering over this question, “What is Yoga Nidra? Why do I have to do it when I am already meditating? Do I really need to incorporate another technique to my bag of destressing tools?”
Quite confused, I finally emailed Prasad asking, “How do I include the yoga nidra in my daily routine? I tried your Yoga Nidra CD for the first time. The result was phenomenal and definitely the benefits are different from meditation. Do you suggest I do it once a week, more than once or ……? can’t decide.”
His reply on 21st Nov, 2006 was as follows: “I am glad that you are looking at yoga not as something to do, but something to explore. Yoga is a very powerful tool, it is like a torch which helps us remove the darkness of ignorance and relieve tensions. In turn we discover the True Reality which lies within.
Now you are working with your body , later your mind will be under the scanner of your awareness and slowly your heart will open up, and lots of other things to follow, and in such a way many things will be revealed which our eyes and senses don’t .”
So Prasad didn’t really answer my question of how many times. grrrrr…. Still confused. He left it to me to decide for myself. He wanted me to seek the answer from within – self realisation.
Surrendering my trust in him that I needed to use this yogic tool, I decided to use it once a week after bothering him with that email. Upon use, I found it deeply relaxing and was also keen for my resolve to manifest. I decided to work on it as an experiment of self-exploration.
Two years later, at the ashram in Trimbak, where I was doing my Yoga teacher training course, I was exposed to a shorter version of yoga nidra by someone else, and was amazed at how it was helping all participants go through the intense course. My confusion was beginning to change shape, I could see some light or slowly make more sense of what I was doing and why I was using this technique.
However, it wasn’t until March to May 2010, that I actually understood and realized the MAGIC of this technique. In March this year, the political unrest in Bangkok took the whole world by surprise. “Amazing Thailand” or the “Land of Smiles” was telling tourists that it was no longer safe to fly in to seek a spiritual Buddhist quest or just tour the country. Right from the media, organizations, people, emails, facebook comments were all scary, unsafe, extremely unpleasant and so pessimistic for 3 long months. Not to make matters worse, we also had HINI flu that permeated Asia and the volcanic ash had left a few of my colleagues and students stranded in Europe during school holidays. Everyone in Thailand was frustrated and emotions were at their peak. Many businesses including major companies, hotel, health and fashion industries including the yoga studio that I used to practice in had to close down. Transportation was majorly affected, basically people’s lives were in danger for over 3 months.
Such a tense environment had become normal in Bangkok. Our headmaster was comparing the crisis in Bangkok to Nairobi and declared school open every single day despite unsafety around us (except for one week when things were at its worst).
I still needed to carry on teaching at school daily, assuming a calm and relaxed disposition. I had many seeking help from me constantly through my yoga classes, meditation groups in school or counseling due to fear or other concerns.
Initially I thought because I am a Vipassana meditator, have a disciplined meditation practice, regular yoga practice, I can handle it. But the truth was I was finding it so hard to focus and meditate. That period was extremely challenging for all of us living in Bangkok, right from the clothes we wore. We had to make sure we did not wear red or yellow because that meant we were supporting a political party. Teaching extra yoga classes on weekends too was a challenge because specific roads were blocked due to demonstrators.
Reflect, reflect, reflect… I tried to get the answers from within. Suddenly, I realized what technique I was turning to in all this turmoil we were all surrounded in like a bubble. When I was waking up at 3am not being able to sleep, I was picking up Prasad’s yoga nidra CD and using it. I was using it 2 to 4 times a week, which was not what I had decided. It was beginning to dawn on me that I was getting my deep relaxation with yoga nidra. That 50 minutes relaxation was what was giving me my four hours of conventional sleep. At work, I was able to walk into the staffroom and listen to my colleagues say,”I woke up so early today. I can’t handle it. I need coffee and sleep” or “why are the red shirts saying they are
peaceful demonstrators when they are not?”, “We saw smoke from burned tyres at 6:30am on the way to school”, “Which route would be safe to go back home by today?”, etc. I would participate in a limited way to conserve my energy and then quietly take my green tea from the staffroom and carry on with my work. As weeks went by I asked myself, “Was I able to handle it? Surprisingly, I was!”
I realized that I was slowly able to handle things better than I thought. It was the deep relaxation I was getting from Prasad’s Yoga Nidra CD, because I was turning to it more along with doing meditation on the school bus, constant mental mantra chanting, daily short Pranayama and brief sessions of stretches on and off the mat. I had a daily rule, 5 minutes to 2 hours of yoga, no matter what and I was implementing that and it was gradually showing me results during a very crucial time in my hometown.
As I reflect back on this incident, I realise that I learned more from this technique because I found it hard to meditate at a long stretch like I was used to. The yoga nidra technique was enabling me to go deep into the realms of my subconscious mind and not only relax, but also release physical, mental and emotional tensions there. I was going through a process where an expansion of awareness was taking place at that deeper level of consciousness. As a result, I surprised myself by handling an extremely challenging situation in a relaxed manner. It was through the power of Yoga!
Lastly, thank you Prasad for visiting us in our countries and presenting us (the big, global yoga family) the yogic tools from a very practical and spiritual standpoint, and inspiring us to seek answers from within on how we need to use them in our day to day life in our own setting. I am extremely grateful for how you impart your wisdom to us and urge us step by step to explore this powerful tool. So true, Yoga transforms! God bless your energy!”
Veena from Bangkok