Spring brings with it a sense of renewal—everything around us grows, recharges and blooms. Taking a cue from nature, it was a perfect time to search for ways to cultivate myself.
Though most things I want to change are out of my control, I had a fighting chance of reducing my stress about it. I decided on the Providence location of All That Matters (also in South Kingstown and East Greenwich) and called to get help choosing a class. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, so I assumed yoga would be out of the question.
Erika Lucas, the studio manager, ultimately suggested Yoga Nidra, which would help me “…recognize the underlying peace of mind that is always present amidst the changing circumstances of life.” We have a winner! I registered, made sure my comfy, non-binding clothes were ready to go, and waited for Tuesday at 7:30pm. I arrived at 128 North Main Street and found a spot on the street pretty easily. I poked around the inviting gift shop before I checked in, took of my shoes, and got a tour.
The instructor, Sohini Livewell, showed us the setup for Yoga Nidra. One sits on a mat under a cozy blanket and reclines on propped cushions, all free to borrow. I chose a modified chair position that did not diminish the experience.
After a brief introduction, we concentrated on our breathing. I wanted to emulate the loud sighs I heard but felt self-conscious. When Sohini acknowledged we might be feeling silly, but that we could just let it go, I knew I was in good hands.
We directed our mind’s eyes to various parts of our bodies and felt muscles surrender. We let go of stresses because they exist outside us rather than define us. We acknowledged any feelings that came to mind and then imagined the opposite was true.
Instruction paused, and delicate chimes began to ring and move about the room. Suddenly they surrounded me. Despite serious temptation, I did not open my eyes. I chose to leave something a mystery in our world of immediate explanations.
The lights returned with one last instruction to bring joy back into the world with us. I’m glad Yoga Nidra is offered weekly because I will be back. If only for those chimes which, for the record, I still haven’t Googled; and it hasn’t caused me one second of stress.