A couple of weekends ago I went on a rather wonderful yoga nidra retreat up in the Lake District. This is Laya Point, a retreat centre and permaculture project run by Tom and Lala up in Ulpha in the Duddon Valley.
Me and Natalie were first to arrive in the classroom and how beautifully colourful and cosy it was!
This was going to be a whole weekend of learning about this incredible system for very deep relaxation. Nidra means sleep so it translates as yogic sleep. You're awake (hopefully...although it's easy to drop off) but fully present to how the body feels when it is sleeping.
Our teacher was the remarkable Uma Dinsmore-Tuli. They say the right teachers appear at the right time so it MUST be the right time but I am surprised to have not heard of her before. She is a gem - an awesome font of wisdom and knowledge and a beautiful, shining, lively presence.
Over the course of the weekend we snuggled down on our sheepskins under a pile of soft blankets and eye pillows and we tried out twelve yoga nidras from different traditions and lineages.
We learned how you can use the practice, not only for deep relaxation and refreshment but also for problem solving, creativity, inner guidance and inducing sleep....or whatever you need. You can tailor the practice to work with your needs.
In between practice we got to explore the countryside.
It was super wet and misty for most of the weekend
but we trudged about breathing in the fresh air, taking photos and getting to know our fellow retreatees.
We met some beautiful people. It felt like we'd known each other for a long time.
There was a river running through the valley, and quite different from our reddish brown cloudy rivers in Hebden Bridge, this was unbelievably green and crystal clear.
It was so refreshing to stare into.
On day two the morning mist lifted and the yoga room was filled with warm sunshine.
We did some incredible practices. And Uma sang to us and read inspiring poetry. She sprayed us with beautiful scents, wafted incense at us and fed us chocolates and apricots to help us come back to a 'more everyday state of consciousness'.
It felt like my own fog was lifting too
By the end of the weekend my mind and body felt as sparkling and clear as that beautiful green river.
I found some clarity about a situation I was struggling with and felt very positive about how things might unfold.
We all went home with a rose and a portfolio of amazing yoga nidra recordings which I have been using a lot. I haven't heard the end of the 'sleep' one yet so that's a good sign!
If you like the sound of trying this amazing practice The Yoga Nidra Network has lots and lots of lovely recordings that you can try out for free.