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The Flight of the Butterfly – A Yoga Nidra Practice

By on May 28, 2018
Screen Shot 2018 05 28 at 2.23.39 PM 300x336 - The Flight of the Butterfly - A Yoga Nidra Practice

This is a free Yoga Nidra practice I wrote and am sharing today for all yoga practitioners in honour of a friend’s birthday. If you like it, share all or parts of it with your classes. It is my gift to her and you.

Welcome. Thank yourself for choosing to be here. This is a Yoga Nidra practice, an ancient practice from India that promotes deep relaxation.

It can be a calming, fear and stress reducing, emotionally clearing and goal making experience.  Over time practices like this can also help lead to more self-awareness.

It can be practiced by people of any religion or culture. Let’s begin.

The practice of Yoga Nidra begins now in this present moment.  This is a flight you will take on the breath to your beautiful, brilliant, true inner nature, through multiple layers of consciousness. In Yoga Nidra you leave the waking state, go past the dreaming state and go to a deep sleep, yet remain awake.

Being comfortable will allow you to let go more completely. Lie down on your back. Adjust your pillow for comfort. Put a pillow under your knees, it eases tension there and discomfort in your lower back. Raise your hips and scoop your tailbone under to lengthen the lowerback.

Gently move your upper back, shoulders and neck side to side to release tension and center your body and your spine. Wiggle your shoulder blades underneath you to offer yourself upper back support. Line up the tip of your nose with your bellybutton.

Let your arms, your wings rest loosely at your sides, palms up. Let your fingers curl naturally. Place your feet spread open and slightly apart from each other. Allow the feet to relax outwardly, toes relaxed and pointing slightly forward with ease.

Close your eyes. Let your eyes slowly roll peacefully to the outside corners and back to the depths of your inner mind.

Now, sink into stillness. Let go. Release into Savasana – a place of rest.

Bring your attention to your breath. Know it’s a place you can come back to anytime to be in the present moment. Notice where in your body you are breathing from. Begin to focus on your diaphragm and on your next breath feel your breath moving into it and your belly rising.  Soften your belly and let the air wash in and relax any tension you may be holding there. As you breath in naturally let your belly rise. Now let your next breath wash through the sides of the rib cage. Feel the lower ribs expanding with your next breath. Feel the breath wash over your lower back.  Notice with your next inhale the back rising and as you exhale it falls. Soften the back muscles and allow the breath to wash through.

Fill your lungs completely with air, breathing into your belly, ribcage and upper chest. When you exhale completely, reverse the flow – out of the upper chest, ribcage and belly. This is complete breath. Bring your awareness to the breath naturally drawing in through your nose, being aware of the space inside the nostils and the cooling of the throat as it flows. Place your left hand on your low abdomen, a few inches below your belly button, and gently find your ribs with your right hand resting your right hand on the outside right edge of your rib cage.

Let your breath be like the ebbs and flow of waves on the beach.Breath in and feel the natural lift of your belly, then soft expansion of your ribs. As you exhale, feel the soft dropping of your ribs as they compress and slowly the belly is dropping. Feel the pause between breaths, the crest of the wave. Rise and fall. Rise and fall.

Bring your left hand to your chest, placing it in the center, just below the collarbone. As you inhale, breathe deeply into this area, allowing the chest to rise. Crest. Then, slowly exhale completely.

As you continue to breathe, keep your awareness on this three-part movement. Inhaling, belly lifting, ribs expanding, chest rising. Crest. As you exhale, chest droping, ribs contracting, and your belly softening and lowering. Let the breath flow at ease, let the breath flow naturally.

Let breath wash in through the bottom of your feet, up yours legs through your torso, shoulders and head and out down through your arms and finger tips. Breath washing in, breath washing out.

As you breath in mentally say the number “10” in your head. With each inhale, continue counting down. If you forget, which number you are on, simply start again. “9”. With each breath and each number you count feel yourself stepping down a circular path to your heart. “8” With each step know you are in safe inner haven.  “7” Associate strength with letting go. “6” Know you are loved in this moment. “5” Know you are filled with love. “4” Know you are love. “3”. “2” “1”.

In this place of emotional transformation you are deep within the soft, pink, rose folds of your heart. Allow it to open more fully, by letting go of a thought, a thorn that no longer serves you. Choose the thought now. Imagine it floating away from you and as you release from it, feel the folds of the heart, as a rose opening, gently blooming. Imagine a hurt feeling from your past or present and choose to let it go too. It is only the mind and ego that are holding it. Letting it go is as easy as a choice, when we quiet the mind and let go of the ego. Imagine it floating away from you as you release it. Let the rose of your heart glow lighter, more open to new experiences with the full beauty of compassion, love and understanding.

Deep within the folds of our heart we can also accept ourselves as we are now. Imperfect. Unfinished. Impermanent. Beautiful and serene with patina and wear.

Let a bright white light wash through your body with each breath. Through your heart, chest, lower body, legs and feet. Through your arms and hands through your shoulders, neck and head.

Immerse yourself in a brilliant chrysalis of white light. Inside is a place deep in your mind, the pituitary gland in your brain where transformation is possible. Your breath will carry you on the journey. It is here where you can open to your true nature. It is here the butterfly effect of an intention can ripple through the waves, the layers of your consciousness into your daily reality. Here we can work with sankalpa, an opening to a possibility already a part of you, which can be nurtured to grow. Everything is in a state of abundance. In unmanifest form, with vast possibilities for creation. Sankalpa can also be a specific intention or goal. San refers to a connection that we make to support our highest truth. Kalpa means vow or the rule to be followed above all other rules. It can be used to improve the quality of life, create changes in your personality or help you realize what you want to achieve most in life. State it in the present. “I am abundance through creative healing.” Maybe your intention is to stop smoking. Or maybe it can be as simple as just one word. “I am peace. I am love. I am strength. Find the sankalpa you resonate with now. And with each breath, repeat it three times.

{breath three times, start progressive muscle relaxation}

Let’s relax every muscle in your body by squeezing and releasing them. Tighten your hands as much as you can. Tighter, tighter. Release. Tighten your arms and shoulders. Tighter. Tighter. Release. Squeeze your feet. Let go. Tighten your calves. And release. Tighten your thighs. Release. Tighten your buttocks. Release. Squeeze your face. Let go of the tension in your forehead, your eyes your mouth. Breath deeply.

{revolving awareness}

Let’s bring attention to the different parts of the body with revolving awareness. Focus on your hands. Right thumb. Warmer. Left thumb. Warmer. Right forefinger. Warmer. Left forefinger. Warmer. Right middle finger. Warmer. Left middle finger. Warmer. Right ring finger. Warmer. Left ring finger. Warmer. Right pinky. Warmer. Left pinky. Warmer. Right lower arm. Warmer. Left lower arm. Warm. Right elbow. Warm. Left elbow. Warm. Right forearm. Warm. Left forearm. Warm. Right shoulder. Warm. Left shoulder. Warmer. Upper back. Lower back. Buttocks. Right thigh warmer. Left thigh. Warming. Right knee warming. Left knee warming. Lower right leg. Warmer. Left lower leg. Right toe. Warmer. Left toe. Right second toe. Left second toe. Right third toe. Left third toe. Right fourth toe. Left fourth toe. Right pinky toe. Left pinky toe. Whole right foot. Warmer. Whole left foot warmer.

Feel the whole right side of your body, heavier, and heavier. Feel the whole left side of your body heavier and heavier.  Feel the whole right side of your body lighter and lighter. Feel the whole left side of your body lighter and lighter.

{Consciousness is everywhere and in everything}

On the next breath, begin to focus on the current of your own breath, breath into your lower abdomen, your belly, breath deeply into it. You can only travel so far, when you ride the currents of the wind, let each breath be the current you ride on your flight. Feel the radiating warmth of the sun, it will guide you to where you want to go. Like the butterfly use it as navigation to the places in your heart you want to travel.

Be guided by the sun and let the wind take you through brightness, high above your feet will find the nourishment you need. Let your breath flow, flow, flowing like the butterfly’s wings ride the wind in your lungs. Let each breath in lift you, let each breath out let your wings glide down with ease. Feeling lighter and lighter with each breath in and more and more at ease with each breath out. Your wings are golden, glimmering. You are free. Freely riding the sweetly scented breeze.. at ease. You are a being of both fragility and strength. Embrace your delicate nature. The fragility of life.

In all of life there is duality.

Fluttering wings. Inner beauty. Unfolding. Milkweek in the ditch. Vivid Blue iridescent Morpho butterfly. Debussy’s – Les Papillons.  Dead butterfly. Butterfly over the ocean. Crysalis. Millions of butterflies in the rainforest. Millions of butterflies in the rainforest. Monarch butterfly on a yellow rose. Milbert’s tortoiseshell caterpillar on nettles. Red admiral. Ulysses Butterfly. The Julia yellow-orange tropical butterfly.

{Wake Up}

If your thoughts wander to planning, thinking or worrying, observe them, let them go and return to your breath. If you hear sounds in the room a clock ticking, a dog barking, cars passing, observe them and return to your breath.

Take a few more slow deep breaths. Start to bring your awareness back to your body. Begin wiggling your toes and fingers. Slowly open your eyes. Breath in the beauty of the day and your metamorphosis. Nidra means “sleep” but maybe, you are now a little more awake to your inner truth and the reality of life.

HAPPINESS.—A butterfly, which when pursued, seems always just beyond your grasp; but if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you. ~”A Chapter of Definitions,” Daily Crescent, 1848 June 23rd

We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.  ~Carl Sagan

Just like the butterfly, I too will awaken in my own time.  ~Deborah Chaskin

I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man.  ~Chuang Tzu


All recording rights reserved, Charleen Wyman, May 28, 2018.

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