Get in touch with your true nature and deepest desires, while better understanding the human experience using the tools of Yoga Nidra.
Step by step guidance, scripts and audio practices, plus detailed practical techniques to support you in becoming a Yoga Nidra teacher.
Equally rooted in tradition and science. Explore the philosophy, history, neuroscience and physiology underlying Yoga Nidra.
Yoga Nidra, also known as ‘yogic sleep’, is the conscious state between wakefulness and sleep, allowing deep relaxation as well as access to the multiple layers of our being.
The practice gives us the tools to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves as complex, sometimes conflicted, multi-dimensional beings.
Using the Koshas (energetic 'layers' that move from the outermost layer of skin to the deep spiritual core) as a framework, James will walk you through the philosophy and science that underpin this fascinating practice.
Providing you with expert knowledge and unique tools and techniques, along with step-by-step guides, scripts and recordings, this comprehensive course will give you the confidence to start sharing and teaching the practice of Yoga Nidra with others.
Who is it for? This course is for anyone who wishes to access deeper relaxation and a higher understanding of the human experience. It is designed as a Yoga Nidra teacher training but is equally suitable for non-teachers seeking personal development.
How to be with ourselves:
Teaching Yoga Nidra: step-by-step guidance:
Sleep and Yoga Nidra:
Neuroscience & Yoga Nidra:
Understanding the layers within Yoga Nidra:
This first segment of the course offers guidance on how to get the best from this training by considering the pace, structure and ‘best practices’ for learning. You’ll also be asked to take some time to consider what it is that you want to get from our time together and be invited to do a brief reflection to help you get in touch with your intentions.
The first few moments of a Yoga Nidra practice are more than just ‘settling in’; they provide an opportunity to set the stage for the entire practice. By understanding the nature of presence and learning to utilise it as a way to be with and ‘hold’ all of the arising content of the body-mind, we begin to recognise that there is always something here that can ‘be with’ how we think, feel and perceive that offers perspective, relief and insight. This ‘being with’ supports integration of every thought, emotion, feeling and sensation we experience.
Intentions are a useful tool that can help clarify the reasons that we practice Yoga Nidra, and how we might adapt the practice for specific purposes. These talks will help you to understand the meaning, importance and practical application of setting intentions that relate specifically to individuals. We move from a ‘one size fits all’ understanding of generic intentions to a tailored and personal approach.
The ‘Koshas’ model is a system of outlining and defining our human experience. By exploring the different ‘layers’: the physical body, subtle sensation and energy that relate to the breath, our feelings, emotions, thoughts, beliefs and images, we can begin to notice these different elements of experience.
As we go even further, we can begin to know what it is to uncover our deeper nature of quiet watchfulness, which itself gives rise to a natural effervescence and deep relief from our personal struggles and sorrows. By knowing ourselves at each of these levels, we start to see ourselves more clearly and unravel our complexities. Whilst none of these layers exist in isolation, by enquiring into them systematically, we can know ourselves in ever-deeper ways.
The Annamaya Kosha describes the physical body. As we begin to gather attention and explore the myriad of bodily sensations - from obvious to subtle - attention moves from being scattered and thinking-focused, to being more directed and feeling-focused. By learning to give up the idea that we must be relaxed and exchanging this viewpoint for one of curiosity and interest, we can learn to be with and tend to any and all sensations, including physical pain.
As we tend to sensation, we can begin to uncover the depths of what lies beneath even the very strongest of sensations: stillness, aliveness and a flux and flow that leads to more and more subtle sensitivity and capacity to be with our entire experience.
The words Pranamaya Kosha describe the energy body. This can be experienced as subtle sensation, which tends to be more fluid, moving and shifting – more ‘watery’ in our experience. A transition takes place when we move from obvious physical sensations into these subtler experiences of the body and is the hallmark of beginning to sense our ‘prana’, or energy.
As we tend to these experiences without controlling or changing them, this allows the possibility for them to reveal yet deeper movements of energy in motion, that become emotion and lead us further toward the next ‘veil’. Along the way, we have the potential to discover a deep sense of quietness and perhaps catch glimpses of our deepest nature, appearing between each breath.
The culmination of the course and practices so far are designed to return to - and help foster - a deep sense of wellbeing, ease and peacefulness. As our sense of wholeness and wellbeing deepen, we might believe our journey is now complete. Yet the practices so far set the stage for going deeper still, and we begin to meet our conscious and unconscious feelings, emotions, thoughts and beliefs about ourselves and the world.
Manomaya means our lived experience of all of the different feelings and emotions that live within us, that may be triggered or exacerbated by life events and relationships. As we take time to turn away from their triggers, we have the possibility of beginning to welcome, be in relationship with, and come to hold and touch our deepest fears and longings.
Vijnanamaya describes our thinking mind, our deeper knowing, and includes the images, memories, beliefs and judgments we hold about ourselves individually and collectively. The very structure of our self-identity is examined here too: how we perceive (and take personally) every experience that comes to us via our senses.
As a deepening of this constructive phase of the practice of Yoga Nidra that began with the Manomaya Kosha, we are learning to be with and pay attention to our thoughts, images and self-narrative. Through technique and enquiry, we can become more skilful at listening to - yet not getting lost in - our thinking mind.
Ananda means joy or bliss, and points to a natural experience that will happen over time through the practice of Yoga Nidra. As we deeply explore and fall into a loving embrace of our body-minds, the sense of self may soften, allowing us to dissolve into being beyond self: outside of time, location and beyond any activity and experience. Reflecting on joy, wellbeing and the qualities that arrive as part of this experience can help us be more open and ready for its natural arrival.
The absolute heart of the practice of Yoga Nidra is self-inquiry, but what or who is this self, and how might we come to know it in the deepest of ways?
Beyond all of the veils of our self identity lies a quiet, watchful presence that is aware of, yet untouched by, all of the content of the body and mind. By coming to know this watchfulness and then turning attention fully toward it, there is a natural uncovering of an expansive, non-localised state of presence. This presence is independent of the limited self, yet at once part of the very fabric of our experience. Through guidance, sincere desire and practice, patience and perseverance, we can come to know and fall into relationship with ‘oneness’.
Yoga Nidra is part borne out of a tradition, part modern day construct, and informed by differing schools of thought and influences throughout the millennia-old traditions of yoga. Whilst its original reference can be found in the Manduka Upanishads, the modern day form is a blend of different influences. This series of talks explains a little of its historical context, and the building of influences that come together to bring this practice to a modern-day, contemporary form.
Yoga Nidra is an exploration of differing states of consciousness: waking, dream and deep sleep, and the awareness of them all.
When we come close to, or even fall asleep, our brain begins to produce different rhythms to that of our usual waking state. The varying stages of sleep can help us gain insight, recover our energy and mood, and enhance our life experience.
Sleep can be demonised in the practice of Yoga Nidra. Whilst it is true that when we fall asleep, we lose connection with the guidance within the practice, short moments of falling asleep or even prolonged sleep can be supportive. It is valuable to understand what happens when we fall asleep and how these different sleep experiences can add to or detract from our goals and desires within the practice of Yoga Nidra.
As an emerging scientific field, Neuroscience gives us new and unique perspectives as to what happens in the brain when we are thinking particular thoughts, focusing and concentrating, and how meditative experience impacts the brain. The field of neuroscience and its body of work and research is growing rapidly and changing, and as such, the information shared here is part research- based and part anecdotal. These stories and reflections may change over time as new insights arise from further research and testing.
Whilst learning to teach is very much an individual journey supported by practice and experience, this section of the course offers in-depth considerations when teaching certain groups and individuals. It also explores how to charge for your time, staying ethical, and being aware of the various teacher/student dynamics that are natural and inherent to teaching.
You’ll also learn how to find your own unique voice, explore finding an inner ‘readiness’ for this work and be offered mentoring to support your learning and teaching journey.
The journey of Yoga Nidra is never complete. As we move through life, more and more of our conditioning arises to cloud experience and be met. As we mature in our meditative practice, we know our ‘being’ in ever-deeper ways. This great dance between being and becoming continues to unfold. We need the ‘formal’ teachings less and less, as life becomes our main teacher.
James Reeves is a world-leading Yoga Nidra teacher. He was the first in Europe to deliver iRest Yoga Nidra teacher training courses, a research-backed programme based on the ancient teachings of Yoga Nidra. James makes the teachings relevant and accessible for modern day living and shows how the healing benefits of the practice can apply to us all. He’s been teaching yoga and meditation since 2005.
James is also the co-author of the Book of Rest.
With this Yin Anatomy Teacher Training you will gain a deeper understanding of the body's anatomy and its relationship to Yin Yoga. Learn how to safely plan and teach Yin Yoga sequences.