February 11, 2012

Yogic Sleep? ~ The Four Desires Virtual Book Club


Chapter 14 Relax Into Greatness
Soliciting the Cooperation of Your Unconscious

Rod Stryker’s Four Desires (4D) Virtual Book Club.

We have now identified vikalpa, our internal resistance. Did you think you could just sleep vikalpa away? Actually you can if you can sleep with awareness. Chapter 14 discusses a systematic approach to complete relaxation. It requires time, some blankets, a dark place, a pillow and even socks. Does this sound like sleep? It is!  “It is yogic sleep, which means the deepest state of rest with only a trace of awareness.” -Rod Stryker

Relax Into Greatness is an approach to the ancient form of relaxation called yoga nidra, yogic sleep.  In this ancient yogic practice, we develop gratitude and effortlessness through relaxation; these are two of the most important attributes for actualizing your sankalpa.  Your ability to manifest your sankalpa is greatly supported through the process of yoga nidra.

As in sankalpa siddhi, the fourth level of intensity, there is effortlessness; you are more in alignment with the power of your unconscious rather than in conflict with it. The reduction of resistance or karma in the creation equation doesn’t happen by repeating the sankalpa.  It requires a process. Relax into Greatness is the process that gives you the tools to peel away all negative associations related to your sankalpa, including doubt.

Practicing this technique helps you gain access to a state beyond both intellect and effort. It effects all aspects of your being:  physical body, energy body, mind, the unconscious and soul. The technique reduces stress and promotes healing while allowing you to access the unconscious.

Accessing the Unconscious
At the beginning of the Relax into Greatness practice, Rod asks us to “create the visual and emotional sense of  [your sankalpa] as reality. Feel all the feelings related to its coming to full fruition. Imagine you have exactly what you want. Feel it.” We wrote about how our sankalpa would look and feel in chapter 10 in order to access our unconscious.

The conscious mind uses words and information as expression whereas the unconscious expresses itself though feelings and images. With practice, Relax into Greatness “bridge[s] conscious intentions to your unconscious mind”-Rod Stryker.  It unwinds the unconscious so that when we plant the seed of sankalpa it can be placed deep in the loosened, moist soil or relaxed, effortless awareness. Here, the seed has space to grow and become fruitful.

Reducing Stress
Remember the end of chapter 13? There was a list you were supposed to complete, “time wasters” or “bad habits.”  Interestingly but not surprisingly, the more stress we have, the more we are prone to fall back on these “bad habits.” Research has found that when there is chronic stress, “regions of the brain associated with executive decision-making and goal-directing behaviors’ become atrophied.” When stressed, our ability to have an authentic sankalpa let alone fulfill it, will become very difficult. The research doesn’t get any better; in fact the biological components of the brain associated with habit formation become reinforced!  But there is some good news–the more you begin to relax and break your counterproductive habitual patterns, the more your brain will return to supporting your wellbeing.

Time for the best part–yogic sleep. Let us not lose sight that this is not a practice that you do and check off. You are in the process of relaxing you body and accessing the unconscious. This is a heavy duty practice done or better yet felt with complete ease.

Your homework for this week is to lay down, put some socks on, cover yourself up and do some nidra.  Please let us know your experience–especially those of you who are new to this practice; we would love to hear from all of you.


Learn more about Rod Stryker and ParaYoga at RodStryker.com 
Read The Four Desires book review on Elephant Journal.
The Four Desires: YouTube talks with Rod Stryker
Read other discussions about The Four Desires
Instructions: How the book club works
Rod Stryker travels to the largest spiritual pilgrimage in history in 2013. I’ll be there. Will you?

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