What does a one-to-one session look like?
In your first session, we’ll do the groundwork to create an effective programme of treatment. I’ll be a caring, listening ear while you talk me through your challenges and aims. Once I understand the difficulties you’re facing, I’ll be able to design the best treatment programme for your needs.
There are generally two structures to a session - yoga therapy, and intro to yoga.
1. Yoga therapy session
Towards the end of the session, I’ll guide you through a personalised yoga nidra (relaxed meditation practice), which I’ll record for you to carry on using at home.
From the second session onwards, you’ll follow your tailored course of treatment. This is likely to include yoga nidra and restorative yoga. Read on to discover more about these types of yoga.
2. Intro to Yoga
This is yoga ‘as you know it’, using traditional postures. It can strengthen, release tension, improve your capacity to breathe, and of course, help you to relax. It can be intimidating to go to a drop-in class, but a one-to-one with Mel will help you boost your confidence, feel calm, and increase strength and flexibility.
The first session will involve a conversation to ascertain your needs and general health and fitness levels. Mel will then guide you through a yoga sequence. You may find it helped to bring a camera or use your phone to take pictures of the postures you practise.
What will I get from one-to-one yoga?
You will receive:
- A bespoke, deeply healing course of yoga – designed to help you overcome the challenges you face
- Your own personal yoga nidra mp3 recordings, so that you can continue your healing journey in between sessions, at home.
- Additional email support from me, in between sessions, as and when you need it
What is yoga nidra?
A guided meditation practice that’s simple yet often profoundly beneficial. Unlike other meditation, there’s no effort needed – you can’t get it wrong!
Can you remember a time when you were lying in bed and just dropping off to sleep? Or a time when you woke in the morning, and somehow knew you had slept well, although you had no memory of it? These states are similar to the state we enter when we practice yoga nidra.
Yoga nidra, like all yoga, is a practice as well as a state of being. Translated, the word nidra means ‘sleep’, and so if we think of the word yoga as meaning ‘conscience connection’, or ‘union’, yoga nidra is a practice which puts the body in a state of deep sleep, but the mind stays awake and alert. It is a state between waking and sleeping, and known as the hypnagogic state, or the state we are in when we are in dreamless sleep.
There are two ways we can approach yoga nidra:
Classic yoga nidra
A practice in which you simply listen and ‘receive’. This is usually how I begin working with clients, and is the same form of yoga nidra as I teach to groups in my workshops and retreat.
Yoga nidra dyads
A more interactive version of yoga nidra, where you tell me about the sensations and thoughts that arise during the practice.
Dyads take yoga nidra beyond the deeply healing and restful experience of simply receiving, and invite you to stay connected to your feelings. It can be more intense way of working, but for those who feel ready to tackle the emotional roots of their challenges, if can be a very effective way of helping feelings to shift.
Both kinds of yoga nidra may focus on:
- Using sensing techniques to reconnect you with your body and breath, as way to feel ‘grounded’ and safe.
- Realising negative beliefs/behaviours and learning how to respond positively
- Exploring the complex nature of our emotions and beliefs – so that you can move beyond the negative
- Exploring how yoga philosophy can help you see your experiences as moving through you, rather than defining you
- Building your inner resources of strength and resilience
What is restorative yoga?
In restorative yoga, we use soothing ‘asana’ (postures) in which the body is fully supported by props like yoga bolsters and blankets. Many of the poses are performed lying still. This means that rather than having to make an effort, you can sink into the postures to release tension and achieve deep relaxation.
Because restorative yoga takes the body out of ‘flight or fight mode’, it’s incredibly beneficial for the nervous system, helping to combat stress, and improve digestion and immunity.
What are the benefits of practicing yoga nidra?
Yoga nidra usually leaves us feeling deeply rested, relaxed and rejuvenated. In fact the relaxation we experience in one hours yoga nidra is sometimes said to be the equivalent to 4 hours sleep! Although we might not have the science to back that up just yet, yoga nidra certainly helps us achieve a state of deep relaxation in as little as a ten minute practice.
Yoga nidra does more than help us relax however. Yoga nidra can help us to break down unhelpful thoughts and beliefs by allowing us to connect beyond our ideas of who we take ourselves to be.
I have never practiced yoga before, can I still try yoga nidra?
Absolutely. Yoga nidra is for everyone, and because you practice it whilst lying down, it doesn’t matter what your physical ability is or if you have never tried a yoga class before.
Should I eat before practicing yoga nidra?
As with all yoga, it is usually a good idea to avoid eating for at least 2 hours before you practice. If you have eaten a large meal before practicing yoga nidra, you may find you are more likely to fall asleep.
What happens if I always fall asleep?
In my opinion if you always fall asleep it is because you are very tired and need to sleep. Yoga nidra is a gift, and gives you what you need, so if you always fall asleep perhaps take this as a message than you are very tired, and need more rest.
However if you would like to experience yoga nidra and stay awake, you can practice it sitting in a comfortable seated position. It is really though best practiced lying down surrounded by blankets and cushions and blankets!
Is it safe to drive after yoga nidra?
Yoga nidra can put you in a very relaxed state of being, so it is usually best to not have to drive or cycle around busy roads straight after practicing. It can be a good idea to have a little something to eat or drink after practicing yoga nidra - a little nibble of dark chocolate can taste sublime!
Is practicing yoga nidra the same as meditating?
In many ways, yes. However yoga nidra is really a practice of bliss and contentment, with no effort. Meditation is often more effortful - the effort to sit, the effort to clear the thoughts and focus the mind, and the effort to build up a regular practice. In yoga nidra we generally lie down, and make no real effort to control the thoughts. We may set an intention to try and stay awake, but beyond that, we don’t engage the waking mind at all.
As with all yoga, it depends on your intention. If you want yoga nidra to be your meditation practice, then it can serve as that. If you want to practice yoga nidra and have a separate meditation practice, that is also fine.
When should I practice yoga nidra?
Yoga nidra can be practiced at any time of time. It is usually practiced on a yoga retreat in the late evening, to aid with sleep, but it can actually be practiced any time. Practicing first thing in the morning, for example, can offer you a different experience as you are more likely to be awake and alert, and so less likely to fall asleep.