Using Yoga Nigra and Energy to Heal Your Body and Mind with Shira Nicks and Pamela Wirth

Using Yoga Nigra and Energy to Heal Your Body and Mind with Shira Nicks and Pamela Wirth

Pamela : Hi, this is Pamela Worth with the 'Encourage Your Wellness' podcast, and today I have Shira Nicks with Shiralign. I have known her since we were young, and it's been so fun to see her grow and evolve over the years. I'm excited to talk about Shiralign.Tell us a little bit about your background and what is Shiralign.

Shira Nicks :  Awesome. Okay, hello everyone. Pam, Pam, Pamela, Pam. I call her Pammer. I don't know if that's okay or not; I'll try to refrain. Yeah, we've known each other for a very, very long time and watched each other grow up. So, I feel the same about you, watching you just get out there and make things happen, make the world a better place. So, thank you for that.

Yes, I started….My background is actually that I have an undergraduate degree, Bachelor of Science in Psychology. I've always been very interested in how the human mind works. I was in graduate school for about three years in the Masters of Individual Counseling program at University of Phoenix. I didn't end up finishing. I was like right up until the end and realized that it wasn't exactly what I wanted to do. I found myself more curious about how people work than just sitting with all the problems. It was tough for me to sit with everyone and kind of, I just want to solve everything. A lot of times we just sit with our problems and we keep hashing them, rehashing them over and over again. I was in my the part of the counseling program where we're actually seeing clients and kind of realizing this isn't the route that I'm wanting to take. So kind of took a step back and in that time I ended up becoming a mom. I have three daughters, so I was very focused on my girls and raising them. And in 2008, I started a nonprofit charity for moms, and the idea, our mission was to connect moms to help each other and other families in the community.

It did kind of strike a chord, I think, with a lot of other moms. We grew pretty quickly, which wasn't really intended on my part, and all of a sudden, I'm running this organization. That was in 2008. We still have our 501(c)(3). Most of our attention now is directed towards our kids. My girls, who were you know, two and three when I started, are now running the Angel Kids organization. So, I helped a ton of families through Phoenix Children's Hospital during cancer treatment. So, a little bit of my counseling background there. And got very much into yoga during that time as well, and ended up getting my certification, I believe it was 2015. And I started, I launched a program called Spark Kids from there. It was for girls ages 11 to 15. I taught them yoga and mindfulness. Had a sister circle where we would all, you know, sit and chat. These girls in the class were, you know, it's that age where there's lots of drama and so many things going on, and these kids really didn't have the ability to relax or prepare for tests or get through issues with friends or whatever was going on in their life. So, we talked through a lot of those things and worked together with other kids, kind of a group effort, and that really got me interested in mindfulness and meditation during that time. And I took my first Yoga Nidra class, which is what I teach now, and was desperate to find a place where they had this. Again, it was like one of those random classes that they just offered as a pop-up at a studio. And, you know, I did research for several years just looking, trying to find classes, actually found a program, and I was very interested. Never kind of hit the go button on it until it was just time. And so, I went through a training program through the Omrit Institute over at the Southwest Healing Institute. And absolutely loved this program. Yoga Nidra is a deep sleep meditation, and it was a perfect blend of my psychology training and mindfulness and yoga and spirituality. And so, there were so many aha moments during this class, it was unbelievable. And that was in, let's see, just before COVID that I graduated. And then I went on to get my advanced certification after that. And so, I've kind of gone to the level that I can go, at least with Yoga Nidra, and then became very interested in frequencies. And so, I became certified in sound healing, the sound bowls, crystal sound healing bowls. So, not sure if you're familiar with any of it, but I'm happy to explain it all.

Pamela : Yes. So, what are sound bowls? What is frequency? Okay, who is it for, right? What happens to you?

Shira Nicks : Okay, so let me just start by saying I was always one of those people that, very science-driven, I wanted to actually see the results always with anything that I do. A lot of this was kind of woohoo, a little bit out there for me, and slowly over time, you know, it's obviously very much resonates with me now.

But I sort of see myself as this gap between mainstream, you know, everyday life people who are just trying to deal with stress but really not into the spirituality of yoga and meditation and all of that. And so I really sort of found my calling. I'm somebody that you can go to. I'm not going to make it that Woohoo for you. So the way that I like to explain it is more scientific for Yoga Nidra meditation.

I know it's a little deceiving with the word yoga, but it is a deep sleep meditation. You are lying down on your back the entire time. I take you to these very deep sleep States, these brain
wave States. Everything is associated with your brain wave activity, and so we start, you know, where you and I are right now, and as soon as you close your eyes, you're already dropping, and what I do is guide you through these sequences.

They are breath and body awareness sequences, and each one of those sequences is associated with your brain wave activity. And I'm just taking you into these lower and lower States into that deep sleep state, which is a little, you know, Delta Theta brain wave States, and the sound bowls are sort of secondary and sort of just enhances everything else that we're doing with the Yoga Nidra. Each of the sound bowls, I'm sure I don't have one on me right now, but they're Crystal sound healing bowls, and it's similar to when you have a glass of water and you play with your finger on the outside of a glass of water and it makes that high pitched singing noise. Each of these bowls are tuned to a frequency that's associated with a different chakra in your body, which is an energy center in your body. So as I'm playing, you may start to feel these sensations in the body. There's one, obviously, for your crown chakra, you have your heart, your third eye, your roots, your solar plexus, and each time I'm playing those, they're aligning with that same frequency in your body, and so it's just increasing the healing, increasing the energy flow. We have a lot of stuck energy in our bodies as humans. When we move through an experience, oftentimes the energy is not moving through our body; it gets stuck. So a whole other element to get into there in terms of how it manifests in the body, but what I do is help to release the stuck energy in the body.

In turn, it is going to deeply relax the body. Once you're in those very low brain wave States, you may be going kind of like in and out of awareness and in terms of like sort of going in and out of these dream like States. Some people stay alert the whole time, and it's just their body that goes out, but in those really deep States is where all the healing happens. And so we are cycling through these States during sleep at night or we're supposed to, but a lot of us aren't getting there anymore. We're not sleeping; we're not getting to these deep phases of sleep anymore like we're intended to. So yoga Nidra is actually it's not a it's not going to take the place of sleep, but it's definitely a supplement. One class that do, which is about 40 minutes of Yoga Nidra, is equivalent to 3 hours of that deep sleep. So in that deep sleep, you're releasing serotonin, Gaba, melatonin, oxytocin. I mean, just everything, and you can actually really feel it. I do at least because I'm used to it now, and I know what it feels like to be completely stressed and feel the cortisol in your body to then feeling the serotonin and dopamine flooding your body. It's profound; it's insane, and we just don't realize how much stress we carry with us all day long.

Pamela : So, the sound bowls are a way of using frequency to help your body heal faster during yoga

Shira Nicks : Yes, absolutely, yes. It's just enhancing everything. I have found since I started doing Yoga Nidra several years before I started incorporating the sound bowls, some people, you know, with Yoga Nidra, it's intended to be very quiet because we're really quieting down the body, you know, slowing down all the systems happening, kind of almost taking your body to that state of like a coma where doctors would induce a coma because your body knows what to do to heal itself, and so I'm kind of taking you to the same state, and everything's very quiet. There are certain parts of the meditation where it needs to be complete silence, bless you, but I was able to incorporate these sound frequencies in the beginning of the meditation through to the middle, and then we reach a point in the meditation where it's very quiet, very slow, everything's working at a much slower pace, and your brain is really only kind of working at this level of like you hear what I'm saying, your body knows what I'm saying, but you're almost at this point we're not even making sense of what I'm saying anymore, and that's where we want to be. It seems counterintuitive, but it's your mind, your ego is sort of getting in the way of your healing, and I'm taking you to this place where we kind of remove that, get your ego softened a little, just allow the healing.

Pamela : How long is the typical session and how long does it take to get your brain, the ego kind of like left and right?

Shira Nicks : It really depends. I can do sessions anywhere from 10 minutes, like a quick yoga nidra, just to really relax the body. The clients that I have that have really been doing this for a while, they like them to be a lot longer. When you're out, you don't realize how much time is passing, and that was one of the first questions I get as they come back up, like, how long was that? I feel like that was two seconds, you know? And it's 45 minutes or whatever, typically in my classes, where there are group sessions of all, you know, people who have done meditation before, people who haven't, it's typically about a half an hour, maybe a little bit less. As you get more and more into the practice, I will do for about 45 minutes, and some of the sequencing is a little bit harder, in terms of just deeper for your body and your mind. It's a little bit more spiritual, but for the most part, it's still very science-based, and I'm just guiding you through.

Pamela : When you're doing it, do you always go in like a certain sequence or a certain order, or does it change based on in the room?

Shira Nicks : Yes, so the sequencing never changes. There's a very specific um sequencing that we do for yoga nidra where um like I said it's all aligned with your brain wave activity so there are certain um sequences um that we do at the beginning of a meditation and there's certain ones that we do towards the end and in the middle, but the content, the scripts, what I actually say, can vary a ton. I have um an unlimited amount really of of scripting that I use guided um scripting that I use just depending on what we're trying to accomplish for the day, but the way that it plays out is always sort of like going up and then coming back down.

Pamela : And then do you ever combine it with other modalities, or do you find that this is the best kind of combination and allows people to sit with it and heal, and then whatever they would want to do next, they whatever?

Shira Nicks : Yeah, so with private clients, I have a lot more flexibility. With a lot of my private clients, we set it up to really take advantage of a lot of the systems and things that are happening in the body. Like, for example, this practice will speed up your metabolism, so a lot of my clients will like to come after a workout, or we'll do a little yoga prior to get the body warmed up. Then I kind of just take you down from there, and it's really profound to go from this state of active to like you're on it to I'm just taking you out and taking you down. You really drop into this meditative state pretty deeply after being in an active state. But we have, you know, also, I work with intention-based work. Basically, an intention is similar, for those of you who don't know, it's similar to a goal; however, there's no end point, and so you're really working towards creating something or bringing something into your life or removing something from your life. So, we'll do some intention work prior to the session to really get in there, figure out exactly what we want to work on, and that's where a lot of my counseling background comes in. I really get excited about a lot of that to break things down, figure out what pinpoint what the exact issue is, and then build an intention around that. An intention, it can be something that is a felt sense, a vision, it could be words that you create for yourself, it's really what resonates with you most. And so with a private client, it's a lot of fun to really dive deeply into the intention portion of the meditation. It's a very big part of Yoga Nidra and separates that meditation from a regular meditation. With a regular public class, I will still incorporate the intention piece into the meditation, but you are just either feeling the meditation, you are creating words in your head, or you're visualizing something silently, and we don't say it out loud.

Pamela : So does this involve you saying things out loud then too?

Shira Nicks : Yes, with a often I will create a public session based on, you know, one thing that we want to create for ourselves. And actually, during Co, where I wasn't teaching in person, I was doing a lot of sessions online. And so, I would create a lot of intentions around stress and anxiety. And so, a lot of my classes were stress and anxiety based. That was the intention we were working on because it was such a common big deal for everyone at that time. It was easy to be able to tailor an entire class around that. Now, obviously, people are still stressed and having issues. I would say a lot of my work right now is based on building the immune system and dealing with health issues. But I work across the board, and there really isn't a limit to what you can create for yourself or what you want to get rid of. It's really fun to really get into it and play around there.

Pamela : "How, like, who is this for? How often do you recommend people doing something like this?"

Shira Nicks : So, all ages. I am certified to teach any age. Um, so with, like, younger children, I always kind of cut it off right about age 11. Um, I have three daughters myself, so I've kind of been using them to sort of figure this out all along the way. Um, my daughter really started to, um, to get to the point where she could kind of understand what was going on in an adult session at age 11. Prior to that, I have tons of scripting for younger kids that's the same as the adults but we use words that children understand. They're a little bit shorter, the meditations sometimes are even a lot shorter, um, and the sequencing is a lot more visual which can often be really wonderful for an adult to do as well because it brings out a playful childlike side within you. It sort of launches that, and I do some sequencing where we're recovering things that have been lost, you know, and as an adult I have, um, you know, a lot of clients have reported during those sequencing in those sessions that they, you know, found a little toy that they hadn't seen since they were a kid and all the joy and the excitement and, you know, all the emotions and memories that are brought up with that, that's all energy right and it's all, you know, just kind of swimming in that. And so any age really is appropriate. What I love about this practice is because you're laying down, you don't have to have some kind of, you know, ability to—it's been amazing with, you know, people who have cancer and, um, people in a wheelchair. I, um, have gone to, I, I really love going to like Elderly Homes and, um, you know, working with them and they're just absolutely the cutest things ever because they all show up exactly how they are and to them this is like crazy woohoo stuff and it's so surprising to them when they get so relaxed. And you know, as soon as I start playing the bowls it's just you're just sucked into this feeling of complete calm and relaxation. So, I love working with, um, people who are suffering in some capacity whether it's physical or mental. Um, obviously, it works incredibly for PTSD and, um, anyone dealing with Stress and Anxiety. Um, during COVID, that was a big one too just dealing with a lot of health issues of all ages.

Pamela : Yeah, I unfortunately, I think it's still going on.

Shira Nicks : It is, .but I'm starting to see how this practice, really, if it's something that you continually keep up. I know that was a question of yours when people ask me, like, how often to really develop a practice. It's going to take a practice, right? A lot of people haven't experienced the first time. A lot of people do, but for, for you to take everything that you did in the session and go out and be protected in life, you know, have that shield around you where you're not getting taken down every single time something happens or whatever stress is going on in the world, it's really building up that shield, which is just practicing. So I personally, um, I love to do it, and so I really look forward to doing it every day. It isn't something that I have to do, so I do it pretty much. I try to do it daily. Um, I would say four to five times a week is great if you can pull that out. Even once a week is phenomenal, but to, to keep it up, um, and develop the practice is really where you're going to start to see most of the benefits happening.

Pamela :  And then for sure, so to do it four or five times a week, I imagine, excuse me, it's not with you four or five times a week. So then, do you recommend a certain thing to listen to or certain to say, and you kind of work with people in terms of how to keep that together?

Shira Nicks : I do, I do. So I'm just about to launch a subscription-based Nidra where you can actually go online, and if you're feeling stressed today, I have a whole list of, you know, stress reliever nitrates. If you are, and you know, you're trying to get pregnant or dealing with postpartum or weight loss, or I have all these different categories that I'm building with different nitrates that will have intentions that are specific to that issue. Um, and that should be launching in the next couple of weeks. It's been, it's been a challenge, honestly, to get them all recorded. I think I'm my biggest, um, critic when it comes. I'm constantly re-recording them. But I listen to my own meditations. That's how I am able to practice because I don't, there really aren't a lot of people that do this here in the valley at least, and once you find someone, then you got to be like resonating with their voice and really feeling that connection there. So it works for me immensely, um, but soon I will have that subscription. In the past, uh, with any private sessions, I would send them home with the recorded version of their meditation. Um, so there will be a lot of opportunity for people to really get into a steady practice with this for sure.

Pamela : For each Nidra that I have recorded, the duration varies depending on the specific intention and focus of the meditation. Typically, they range from 10 minutes for shorter, more focused sessions to around 30-45 minutes for longer, more comprehensive sessions. The length is designed to accommodate different preferences and schedules, allowing individuals to choose the duration that best fits their needs.

Shira Nicks : Uh, it just depends. Again, I have one that's, you know, quick, 10 minutes. You're sitting at the office and you're stressed. Um, you could do it at your, you know, at your desk. I have ones that are 45 minutes that are a little longer, that are a little bit more, um, you know, I try to keep it very mainstream because I realized not everybody is into a lot of this spirituality stuff. And so, uh, I do have a lot that are right around 30 minutes, um, some less that are like 20. It really just depends on what you need. I have an, um, a Nidra that I absolutely love that will put you to sleep. This one is about 20-26 minutes, and basically it will guide you through all of the brain wave States, but instead of bringing you back up, which I do at the end of every meditation, you know, I'll kind, you know, slowly start to feel your body all that, I just let you sleep, and, and it's done. So, you're, you're, you're taken to the, the lowest brain wave state, and then we're done. So you just sleep through the rest of the night. It's phenomenal. It's, it, it works really well.

Pamela : So, then, is it on your phone, or is it like in a how does that work for people?

Shira Nicks : It will be on your phone. Um, the subscription is the site, it's on my website at Haven't launched it yet, but it will be on your phone, um, or on your computer. So you just hook up that's how I listen to it, just hook up some headphones, get in your bed, get as comfy as possible, um, that's the key here is really try to eliminate any, you know, as much noise as you can and getting yourself as comfortable as you can, and that way the body really can kind of fall deeply into this relaxed State often that's not possible and um that is also part of the whole experience is really finding that calm in the midst of whatever is going on around you so the more you do it the better you get at it.

Pamela : Which, yeah, not like anything. So, and then as you have kind of gone through this practice, do you find that certain foods or certain things allow you to be more, I don't know, absolutely present or something? Or?

Shira Nicks : Yes, well, you know, I mean, I guess that's with anything. I'm much more in tune with my body after doing this practice for so many years, so I can tell when something's off. But, to be honest, I think a lot of the, you know, bread, car, car here in the US is not so great for us, and that can affect inflammation in the body, which then can, you know, anytime your body's inflamed, everything's harder. So, laying and relaxing while you have an inflamed body isn't, you know, isn't the easiest thing to do. It's definitely going to help once you get into the meditation because this will really help with any kind of inflammation in the body. But, I can remember going through times where, you know, it's hard to lay on my back for some reason, my right shoulder hurt, you know, and trying to get past all of that. Yeah, if I'm eating clean, everything else seems to flow. Not even just with meditation, it's really everything else. It's that inflammation in the body that really struggles. Definitely, but this will also help to cultivate a cleaner appetite, if you will. You're just getting your nervous system calm, which, to me, it seems like the base of everything, right? Once the nervous system is calm, you start craving foods that are healthier for your body, your cells start speaking up and are saying, "Hey, we want this, we don't want that, that doesn't feel good." You're sleeping so much better. This practice really trains the body to sleep, so once your body is getting that great sleep every night, you're balanced there, and, you know, it's just everything sort of works together. Yeah, this practice is phenomenal just in terms of being an addition to anything else that you're already doing. It really just helps to calm everything down, which most of us aren't used to anymore.

Pamela : Then, do you have to learn a certain way to release or to breathe, or is it just natural, or what is that kind of?

Shira Nicks : It just depends on what the sequencing is calling for. So, I will guide you and kind of talk you through when you're doing some different types of breathing. Often, I will say, you know, just notice your breath, notice yourself inhaling, notice yourself exhaling. We have several sequences through the Nidra that I use often that will have you holding your breath. So, when you're holding your breath and then you let go, it really kind of helps you drop into this deeper state. I know I have a lot of, you know, working with people with health issues that can't hold their breath. Even just breathing normally through these sequences is so helpful, or even if you can like pause at the top and pause at the bottom of a breath, that's helpful. But you get better and better. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the Ujjayi breath in yoga, inhaling through the nose, exhaling through the nose. You can make this ocean sound breath. You heard of that one? I do that one quite a bit, but it's really more of whatever your body is comfortable with. It's more of getting into a rhythm with your breath.

Pamela : Awesome

Shira Nicks : So yeah, there's tons of different stuff you can do.

Pamela : That we're missing that you want to make sure that we haven't touched on that you want to make sure that we talk about?

Shira Nicks : Let's see. Well, you caught me off guard now. I'm not even sure. I have been talking a lot, huh? Are there any questions you have for me?

Pamela : No, no, no, no, I've been asking questions all along

Shira Nicks : Okay. Um, well, be looking for the subscription. It's coming out soon on my website. Currently, I just have a Tuesday public class on Tuesday evenings at 7. Um, and I do a lot of popup classes, public classes as well, and a lot of different events. I have one coming up on January 7th for a New Year intention-based meditation and sound. And I'm partnering with another guru who does frequency work as well, except she has like all kinds of different instruments to use for frequency and vibration. Um, it's going to be phenomenal. We'll work on intentions and just get ready for the new year. So that's January 7th at like 11. Um, and then, you know, if anybody is interested or has questions, they are more than welcome to just reach out to me personally. Happy to answer any questions that come my way.

Pamela :  Awesome! So if anybody wants to sign up, they can go to your website,, and they'll find you on Facebook, Instagram.

Shira Nicks : Yes, I did get on TikTok, but I haven't really gotten on it yet. I need my kids to TikTok for me because I don't really get that the whole social media thing is a challenge for me, but it's fun sometimes.

Pamela :  Awesome! Well, thank you so much, Shira! We really appreciate having you on.

Shira Nicks : Thank you so much for having me. I love what you're doing, and I'm really proud of you.



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