We cannot deny the incredible benefits of Meditation in personal development and wellbeing. One powerful and often underestimated meditation practice is Yoga Nidra. But what exactly is Yoga Nidra meditation, and how can it transform your life? In this blog post, we will look into the profound world of Yoga Nidra, its origins, its benefits, and how you can incorporate this transformative practice into your life.
Table of Contents
The Essence of Yoga Nidra
What is Yoga Nidra meditation? Yoga Nidra, often referred to as “yogic sleep,” is a unique form of meditation deeply rooted in ancient yogic traditions. It translates to “yogic sleep,” but it’s far from an ordinary slumber. It is a state of conscious relaxation that takes you to the threshold between wakefulness and deep sleep. During a Yoga Nidra session, your body becomes completely relaxed, while your mind remains aware and alert. A session typically lasts anywhere between 20min to 60min. It has been stated that the time spent in yoga Nidra feels for the body like four times of the amount of sleep.
Yoga Nidra goes to that state that is called hypnagogic state in psychology or the state of theta brain waves when you are just about to fall asleep where hypnosis and impression of the subconscious work the best. It is that state between two worlds of the mind that Yoga Nidra uses for its profound impact on the practitioner.
Incorporating Yoga Nidra Into Your Life
Yoga Nidra can be practiced alone with recordings or with a facilitator in a group setting. The key is consistency, as regular practice yields the most transformative results. It is also practice that works very well with children.
Yoga Nidra is not a sleep meditation. The goal is not to fall asleep but to stay awake. It can still be practiced in the evening though, but if you constantly find yourself to fall asleep, another time might be advisable. In the morning is also a common time for this meditation.
The Origin of Yoga Nidra
This transformative practice finds its origins in ancient tantric texts. It was introduced to the modern world by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, who founded the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger, India. Today, Yoga Nidra is practiced globally and celebrated for its remarkable mental, emotional, and physical benefits.
The Art of Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra meditation is often guided by an instructor or through recorded sessions. Participants typically lie down in savasana (corpse pose), and the instructor directs them through a series of body scans and awareness exercises. The practice’s essence lies in the systematic process of relaxing every part of the body and turning the mind’s focus inward. This promotes an intense state of relaxation, allowing for deep emotional and mental release. Another important aspect of Yoga Nidra is the exercise of visualization of symbols and images. These images work directly on the subconscious and promote a purge of negative associations, ultimately helping the individual to process unaware emotions.
Phases of Yoga Nidra
Preparation for Yoga Nidra
Use a quite room. Turn off everything that could distract you. Close the windows and prepare the space. You can lay down on a blanket on the floor or your bed. Preferably without cushions, but if you need it for support you can use it of course. Lay down in shavasana. All your limbs are streched out and your palms point upwards. The purpose of using the shavasana pose is that it has minimal bodily distraction. The goal is to deprive you of as many physical sensations as possible. As your body temperature might drop during the session, you can place a light blanket on your body.
In the first step you are asked asked to listen to external sounds . The goal is to become the witness and quite your mind. This method of quiting the mind is called Antar Mouna.
Resolve in Yoga Nidra
In this step you are asked to come up with a Sankalpa. A Sankalpa is a resolution, something that you wish to obtain, something you work on, or something you want to become. With Yoga Nidra the goal is to plant it deeply into your subconsciousness so that it can take roots there to manifest in your life through the working of your unconscious mind. The statement, the Sankalpa should be short, precise and in a positive affirmation. Choose only one and don’t change it during the session. You statement could look like something this:
- I will awaken my spiritual potential.
- I will be a positive force for the evolution of others.
- I will be successful in all that I undertake.
- I will achieve total health.
Rotation of Consciousness – Body Scan Meditation
Rotation of Consciousness is a body scan of your body parts. The guide or facilitator will call out body parts in subsequent order and your mind has to rapidly follow its awareness to the body part. There is a precise system to it, where it starts with the right hand thumb, goes through the right arm, then the right leg, then follows the left hand and arm and subsequently ending with the little toe of the left leg. The next circuits proceed from the heels to the back of the head and then from the head to facial features and back to the legs.
You don’t need to remember or predict any part, everything you need to do is to stay aware and follow with your awareness.
Body awareness in Yoga Nidra
Optionally there can be more awareness brought to your body with more techniques.
Breathing in Yoga Nidra
In this step attention and awareness is brought to the breath. Either through counting your breath or other forms of becoming aware of your breathing. Visualizing your breath through different techniques is also common.
Awareness of sensations
At this stage sensations in form of physical sensations and emotions are brought to your awareness. The goal is to feel them deeply and then to release them. Generally this is practiced through pairs of opposites, such as heat and cold, heaviness and lightness, pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow, love and hate. You are asked to feel them individually and then holding them in your awareness at the same time. This stage is about harmonizing the opposite hemispheres of your brain. This can also feel very cathartic as profound memories of feelings are being released.
Inner space Meditation
Optionally there can be a meditation that contemplates and drives awareness about space.
Visualizations in Yoga Nidra
In this stage the instructor will bring into your mind’s eye symbols and images for you to visualize. These images often have universal significance and powerful associations, sometimes drawing from collective archetypes. They bring the hidden contents of the deep unconscious into the conscious mind. Images can be for example, temples, landscapes, oceans, flowers, chakras, cross, golden egg and many more others.
If other images appear in your eyes, maybe disturbing or distressful images, you are encourage to accept and acknowledge them and let them go.
Visualization relaxes and the mind and develops self-awareness, by purging if of disturbing or painful material. It leads the mind to deep focus and awareness.
The practice ends by soothing and peaceful images. The meditation is ended in a way to make you receptive to positive thoughts and suggestions. The resolve that you choose earlier is now repeated. In this state the unconscious is open and can receive your statement and transform your attitude, behaviour and destiny in the best possible way. The statement is repeated a few times. Gradually you are brought back to awareness and to the waking state.
It is only advised to come back to the waking state slowly, too rapidly can be irritating. You can go about your day normally or choose to go to sleep now depending on the time of the practice.
The Benefits of Yoga Nidra
- Stress Reduction: Yoga Nidra helps reduce the production of stress hormones, promoting a calm and peaceful mind.
- Improved Sleep: Regular practice can alleviate insomnia and improve the quality of sleep.
- Enhanced Creativity: It unlocks the creative potential of the subconscious mind.
- Emotional Healing: Yoga Nidra facilitates the release of deep-rooted emotions and traumas.
- Increased Awareness: The practice enhances self-awareness and mindfulness
- Improved Memory
One great resource for Yoga Nidra Recordings is Tanis Fishman’s YouTube Channel
Another create one is Supernova Yoga Nidra
Conclusion about What is Yoga Nidra Meditation
Yoga Nidra meditation is a profound journey into the deepest layers of your consciousness, offering inner peace, healing, and a profound sense of well-being. By embracing this practice, you unlock the potential for personal transformation and an unparalleled connection to your true self. Make Yoga Nidra a part of your daily routine, and experience the transformative power of conscious relaxation.
Ulalume is a seasoned writer with a passion for creativity, personal growth, and holistic living. She hold a profound knowledge and interest in self-development, spirituality, and the power of mindfulness in daily life. With a deep appreciation for journaling, meditation, and various esoteric practices, Orion enjoys sharing her knowledge to inspire others on their journey of self-discovery. Orion spent 5 years as an apprentice in shamanic practices, depth psychology, and shadow work with spiritual teachers and went on to travel the world for finding untraveled paths within and without.
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Furthermore the content of this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Prior to making any health-related decisions, including the use of supplements or dealing with decisions that can affect your mental health, it is advisable to consult with a qualified healthcare provider.