Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep)
Yoga practices offer solutions to all kinds of physical, emotional and spiritual problems. Yoga teaches many relaxation techniques that help one deal with today’s stressful lifestyle. Yoga nidra is a technique that helps one get physical and mental relaxation. Spiritually, this practice helps in pratyahara (withdrawing the senses), and concentration. Ordinary sleep cannot ease tensions. But, in yoga nidra one reaches a state of bliss and deep relaxation, where one is keenly aware as well.
Yoga Nidra Practice
This technique is practised by focusing on different parts of the body in a sequence. This stimulates the various brain parts. One maintains awareness and witnesses the one’s own physical and mental states.
- First, do a few light yoga poses.
- Then, lie on your back and maintain a relaxed pose (shavasana or corpse pose).
- Keep your eyes closed and palms facing upwards.
- Breathing should be natural.
Before starting to rotate awareness, make a few positive resolutions. These should not be minor, such as giving up smoking or drinking. They should be more significant. A few examples are resolving to awaken your spiritual potential, help others and achieve success and good health.
Rotation of Awareness
Now, start to visualize and relax a part of the body as instructed by the teacher. There should be no movement. Simply, shift awareness from one area to another. There should be no expectation or anxiety. The whole body is thus covered eventually.
After rotating consciousness in a sequence, focus your attention on your breathing. Maintain awareness of breath. This practice helps in concentration and withdrawal of the senses.
Emotions and Feelings
Next, relax at the emotional level. Bring to surface some strong hidden memories and emotional feelings. These are re-experienced and then erased. This eases pent-up tension and builds will power.
In the final stage, visualize soothing symbols such as a river, flower etc. This practice develops self-awareness and concentration. You may even enter a state of meditation through this practice.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra
Yoga nidra helps one relax at the physical, emotional and mental levels. It helps one in the practice of concentration and meditation. Subconscious impressions are brought to the surface, re-experienced and effaced. Thus, there is awareness and relaxation at a subtle and deeper level.