When I was reading Drama at the National School of Performing Arts, I was going through a very special period of my life. First of all, I was living in Mexico City, one of the biggest cities in the world, I was living on my own for the first time and, as I was in Drama School, I was going through lots of it in my life. I felt sad most of the time, I missed home terribly (I am from Puebla) and to make things worse, I didn’t know how to cook because my mum is an exceptionally good traditional cook who never let me set a foot in the kitchen, so I was eating poorly most of the time. Self-pity was a great obstacle for me.
As much as I love theatre, in my experience, Drama School was very tough. Not only did the teachers encourage competition and jealousy, but they also brought the worse out of every student. In spite of this, there was a Voice and Speech teacher, Ana María Muñoz, who had a more integral approach to theatre practices. She taught us breathing exercises based on a technique called Eutony and a practice that she called La Huella (The Footprint), which bears certain similarities to Yoga Nidra. Tensions, memories, feelings of joy, feelings of despondency were brought forward and intensified by this practice. At the beginning there was a release but I soon realised I did not know what to do with so many feelings coming up and I had no extra tools to cope with them.
Little did I know that a few years later I would start practicing Yoga Nidra with Swami Pragyamurti. Yoga Nidra is a deep relaxation derived from Nyasa, a very old tantric practice (I will talk more about the origins in another post). Through this practice I discovered a nobleness of the body that could not be matched to that of the mind. This may sound a bit strange but just as it is a well-known fact that the mind can influence the body, I truly felt that the body had a special wisdom and a power to heal and transform the patterns of the mind. I learnt that relaxation is a process not a miracle. This time I was living in London, another big city, and I was reading a Masters in Performance and Culture. The practice of deep relaxation helped me sleep better and let go of negative feelings that were stored deep inside.
Yoga Nidra should ideally be accompanied by postures and meditation. This combination ensures a safer approach to body-mind. I am convinced that if you practice Yoga Nidra you do have to practice with someone who knows the technique very well and who is there to support you in a professional way. Ideally, this teacher can provide other yogic tools to manage the mind. By releasing tensions of the body, Yoga Nidra releases tensions of the mind. Much is said about the interconnection between body and mind and for me, this is embodied in the practice of Yoga Nidra.