On Yoga Nidra...
Connecting with the Collective
Hi friends, thus far, I’ve posted only when I release a podcast episode, but that is changing as of today...I still am not planning to flood your inboxes, but I’ve found that writing the written portion of my podcast newsletter nourishes my creative soul. I aspire to share a thought, meandering, or story with you once every few weeks. Please don’t hesitate to hit reply or comment to let me know what you think, and I’d love it if you shared with all your friends.
Before I get started with today’s reflection, I want to take a moment to express my sadness and horror at what is happening in Ukraine. My heart is with the people of Ukraine. And although I cannot claim to identify with Ukrainian culture, my great-grandfather was from Kyiv. My great-grandmothers were from Minsk and the Pale Settlement (both now in Belarus). I stand with my fellow humans in Ukraine and the surrounding areas, and I pray for love.
If you wish to donate to organizations supporting the efforts of Ukraine, GoFundMe launched a hub featuring Ukrainian nonprofits and for individual Ukrainian families who need support. Razom for Ukraine is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the democratic process in Ukraine and they launched a list of resources for those wishing to help and a round-up of rallies and events for people interested in showing their support.
Just last week I finished an 8-week Yoga Nidra course with the wonderful Allie — an incredible artist and teacher I met through my friend Allison in Portland. Yoga Nidra (or yogic sleep) is a state of consciousness between sleeping and waking and is typically induced by a meditation. Allie guides her students through 45-minutes of visualizations focused on shifting consciousness to various parts of the body, intentionally feeling certain emotions in the body, and often leads her students through picturesque images of your heart center or “third eye.”
One session hit me particularly hard. As many of you know, I am a lawyer. My livelihood requires me to live in my head. But living in my head often comes with being disconnected from my body, which is where much of my wisdom actually resides. Yoga Nidra is one (of many) ways in which I connect to my body.
After one of these sessions, I journaled, “I felt like my body was dissolving into bright space — there was no boundary between myself and my environment.”
After Nidra, I consistently feel at home in myself, which I know occurs when I connect with my body. Hearing Allie’s voice, guiding my consciousness to various parts of my body (right thumb, right index finger, right ring finger . . . left knee, left calf, left shin, left ankle), allows me to build the connection between my mind and my body, to hear my intuition. Restoring the connection that often breaks in front of my computer (I see you, Lenovo ThinkPad or Susan as Jonathan named her).
I reflect on my journaling — “my body dissolving . . . no boundary between myself and my environment” — which boils down to connectedness to the collective consciousness, or a higher power, or spirit (whatever you want to call it). Our intuition lives within this collective space; it knows no boundary. We feel it inside of our bodies, perhaps in our gut, those “gut feelings.” To connect more to our individual intuitions, we need to connect to this collective space, which I know may seem counter-intuitive (hah), and necessarily requires getting out of our bodies (but not into our heads). I’m talking about so out of our bodies that we enter the collective space, where the line between our own bodies and our world fades.
The irony, though, is that the easiest way to get out of our bodies is by getting in them. I am most disconnected from the collective when my head and my body are disconnected. To connect to my body, and therefore to my intuition and the collective, I prioritize movement, meditation, and other self-care and personal growth endeavors, such as Allie’s Nidra course. And to reflect on how I can lead decisions, even at work, with what feels right in my body.
I invite you to reflect on the following:
How can you get inside your body this week?
What does connectedness/oneness/the collective feel like to you? How do you know you’re “in” it?
Where in your body do you feel your intuition speak to you? Think about one scenario in which you had a strong “gut feeling” — where in your body did that feeling appear? How did you “know” the right choice or action to take?
Now, for some photos of the week:
Some other things I’m enjoying:
My friend Caroline’s Substack called Turtleneck Season
I just became a paid subscriber of The Isolation Journals with Suleika Jaouad and Liz Gilbert’s recent guest post on what dogs teach us made me cry
Unmeasured Barre classes