by Camile Araujo
Before becoming a T-4 complete para, I was an avid long-distance runner. Running was not only a daily must for me, but it was when I spent time with my inner self. After my paralysis, however, it became a challenge to have alone time. In the beginning, I was faced with numerous complications that accompanied my spinal cord injury. It wasn’t long before I was emotionally and mentally drained. I needed 24-hour care to deal with the complications and could not find a way to disconnect from the world and connect within. For two years, I dealt with the physical, as well as mental, challenges.
I researched relentlessly how to again have some "me" time, while practicing some type of exercise/meditation and achieving the same results running provided. In 2009, I found my solution. I wanted to try yoga, but knew that I could not adapt myself to traditional yoga classes; so instead I needed to find a different form of it to bring my mind to peace. I searched for private, flexible instructors, who would be willing to work with someone in a wheelchair with limited mobility. Many people were not too comfortable with the idea. Perhaps they felt as if the responsibility was too great. I also had no luck finding an inexpensive private instructor. I was determined to find anything that resembled a yoga practice and that worked the mind as well--especially the mind. Unexpectedly, one day, I came across a CD online.
Yoga means “union” in Sanskrit. Nidra means “sleep.” It's comprised of the secrets of total transformation which give a real positive direction to our life and eliminate the root cause of all negativities, like stress related disorders, ailments like hypertension, depression, insomnia, asthma, digestive disorders, etc., all which drain our life energy. During Yoga Nidra, one appears to be sleeping, but the mind, body and intellect are simply in a deep state of relaxation, while the subconsciousness is in a deep state of awareness. A single hour of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to four hours of conventional sleep. During this dynamic sleep hour, all three kinds of muscular, emotional, and mental tensions are released, thus Yoga Nidra is highly beneficial for people with psychosomatic diseases as well. Yoga Nidra differs from a simple act of relaxation (lying back and closing your eyes) because it allows you to release the built-up tension in your body that you are not even aware exists. During the hourly practice of Yoga Nidra, you will find the secret of total transformation - Sankalpa. This is an important, powerful stage during the process that will help you reshape your personality and give you a new direction along positive lines. Sankalpa is a resolution you will make that will get fulfilled. Sankalpa is not to be confused with a “genie in a bottle.” It will not fulfill desires, rather it will help you build a stronger and more centered mind-set to go after what you seek.
(“What Is Yoga Nidra” yogawonders.com. 2007. June 21, 2011 <http://www.yogawonders.com/yoga-nidra.php)
Yoga Nidra has changed my life. I still need to exert energy the old-fashioned way (I have a VitaGlide and a hand cycle for that), however to help with my daily anxieties and much of the brain noise we create ourselves while living our daily lives, Yoga Nidra plays a huge part. I have used my guided Yoga Nidra meditation CD for almost two years and I have gained beautiful results from it. I feel more connected to my body, and for a moment, while meditating, I even have a bit of feeling in my legs. I wonder often why Yoga Nidra is not advertised more as a way of relaxation, not only to our community of mobile-people, but to able-bodied as well.
If anyone is looking for a way to practice yoga yet feels discouraged with the traditional methods, try Yoga Nidra. You can find a variety of CDs online. All you need to do is lie flat on the floor or your bed for the duration of the guided meditation. No need to worry about poses such as downward-facing dog, downward-facing tree, half moon, crane, wheel, staff pose, etc. Finally, a yoga practice that is accessible for everyone.