‘Pilates’ nidra has been born while working with a lovely woman P in her 60’s who has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME), hypersensitivity, pains on her knees and back, which have stopped her walk. We are aware of multiple layers of trauma tangled behind these, and there seems to be no pathological logic for the pains especially on the right knee. This knee hardly bends, and to me it feels like a manifestation of her emotional trauma. Her physiotherapist, me and herself have been trying different approaches including meditation, exercises, electric stimulation, nutrition, and learning about pain perception etc. P is improving slowly in her pace. However this pace is yet rather unpredictable. These days, since she feels her ME has been creeping up, we take things very carefully, and that’s when my Pilates nidra has come up, out of almost desperation to find something that works for her, or at least that does not reverse her tender progress.
I actually know very little about yoga nidra. What I understood is that it is to work on the awareness of the body in a meditative state between asleep and awake, following a verbal instruction while lying on back. One day at P’s session, she handed me a script of yoga nidra and asked me to read it out for her. P is a yoga and meditation teacher. So she knew what she was asking for, I believe. This must have given me some assurance to talk through the intangible aspects of the body. At later sessions, I found myself talking through and working on the awareness and energy before physically start moving. This visualisation sets up a blueprint of the body that is organic and fluid, and my belief is that in order to move pleasantly, we have to work from this deep down subtle level.
I am curious about this development in myself. I would like to share what I talk in this practice. It is still work-in-progress and also changes every time as I am responding to a client.
P lies on her tummy. It is a good position particularly for her to release the vagus nerve, internal organs, gluteus muscles (buttocks), and quadriceps muscles (front of thighs). I take lots of appropriate pauses and spaces between some words and sentences in order to allow her enough time to feel.
Make yourself comfortable.
Soften your tummy, and let the internal organs rest on the bed.
Let the chest rest on the bed. And the head, and the legs… Feel the softness of the tummy, the front of the thighs and the buttocks…
Do you feel softness in other parts of the body? What about the shins? Feet? Calves? Back of the thighs? Lower back? Upper back? Shoulders and arms?
Notice the movement of the tummy. Do not change your breaths, and just observe them.
Notice the movement of the chest.
Do you feel the breaths in other parts of the body? What about the front of the thighs? Shins? Feet? Calves? Back of the thighs? Buttocks? Lower back? Upper back? Neck? The head?
Have you noticed any parts of the body not breathing enough? Can you send a deep breath into the part and let the holding go with the out-breath?
Come back to the tummy. Feel the point three fingers below the tummy button. You may call it the core, the second chakra or hara, that is the centre of your body now. Imagine the breath coming from there and radiating to all parts of the body. As you inhale, the body expands, and as you exhale the body contracts. Your whole body is like a very simple creature with a single cell. Like an amoeba. Expanding and contracting… How does it feel like to expand and create more space in the body? How does it feel like to soften and let the body contract? Do you feel the expansion and contraction of the space around the body too? Can you make the expansion and contraction larger? Space around the body, in the room, in the house and beyond the walls…
Now let’s come very close to the body. Looking at the body through a microscope. See each cell breathing, expanding and contracting. There are 37 trillion cells in the body, and every single of them is breathing, expansing and contracting. How do you feel about them? How vibrant are they?
And they are working altogether.
We are going to include the physical movement now (and we start some exercises perhaps something like glut squeezes and develop further).
If you have any thoughts, I would love to hear.
I am very grateful to P for sharing her experiences and knowledge, and also being sincerely open to my suggestions. I enjoy accompanying her for this journey.