What is Yoga Nidra? Benefits, Meditation and Stages

    Yoga Nidra is an ancient technique of relaxing the mind, body and spirit. It is relatively simpler to perform in comparison with other yogic  practices. Yoga Nidra can be translated into English as Yogic Sleep. But it’s more than just a practice in relaxation which you shall soon find out as you read further.

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    We have come to a stage in life where our biggest necessity is peace of mind. Everything we do now has some amount of stress added to our life. With our all new way of lifestyles it is seldom that we have time for yoga classes on a regular basis. Like they say, there is always a solution, Yoga Nidra.

    Yoga Nidra

    What is Yoga Nidra ?

    Yoga Nidra is a practice in total systematic conscious relaxation. This state is reached by separating the external awareness of the physical body through various stages. It results in a state where you are asleep with a trace of awareness. Thus relaxing both the mind and the body deeply. Daily practice of yoga nidra can transform your life and personality.

    According to Swami Satyananda Saraswati there is a 3 fold release of tension, namely:

    1. Muscular Tension
    2. Emotional Tension
    3. Mental Tension

    Muscular tension refers to the physical tension in the body, Emotional tension refers to all the suppressed emotions lying within the mind that has been accumulated over the years. Mental tension results from excessive thought process and stress which often result in changed behavior and mood swings.

    “Most people sleep without resolving their tensions,
    This is termed nidra.
    Nidra means sleep, no matter what or why,
    But yoga nidra means sleep after throwing off the burdens,
    It is of a blissful, higher quality altogether.
    When awareness is separate and distinct from the vrittis,
    When waking, dream and deep sleep pass like clouds,
    Yet awareness of atma remains
    This is the experience of total relaxation.” Swami Satyananda Saraswati

    Stages In Yoga Nidra Process


    In a yoga nidra class the instructor guides the student through various stages. A typical yoga nidra class will last anywhere between 15 to 50 mins or even more. Let us now have a clear understanding of the basic stages involved in yoga nidra.

    Basic Stages

    1. Relaxation : As in every other yogic practice, relaxation is the key. Here you lie down and close your eyes and make yourself as comfortable as possible. Make any moments necessary to make yourself feel grounded. Now that you are comfortable, don’t make any more physical moments – Absolutely Still. Become conscious of the whole body, scan for any tension and relax the part.
    2. Resolve : Before beginning the actual practice of yoga nidra, you make a resolve. The resolve can be anything you wish for in life. This is Conscious Resolve.
    3. Systematic rotation of  consciousness : At this stage the instructor guides you to take your consciousness to various parts of the body. While you repeat the name of the body part mentally while visualizing it.
    4. Breath Awareness : Awareness of the subtle movements of breath, breath awareness can be done at any stage. Awareness of the breath further calms both the mind and the body.
    5. Visualization : There are various categories of visualization which can be used in Yoga Nidra, any of which can be employed. These bring profound experiences as some visualizations help unlock latent memories, emotions or impression from the mind.
    6. Hypnagogic State : During Yoga Nidra we reach this state where you are neither awake nor asleep. In this state the mind shows maximum receptivity. So any resolve or affirmation repeated at this stage produces profound effects and can help you grow towards that goal.
    7. Resolve : A Resolve repeated again at this stage. A Resolve at this stage is done to form a connection between the conscious and subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is more powerful than the conscious mind. Hence a resolve made in the subconscious mind is very powerful. For example, you decide to quit smoking. No matter how many times you decide, you still cant break the habit. It is because it hasn’t reached the subconscious level of your mind. Therefore it is necessary for a resolve to be present both in the conscious and subconscious mind.
    8. Regain Body Awareness : At this state you slowly bring back the awareness to the whole body, then bring awareness to the external environment. Open your eyes and slowly sit up.

    Requirements for Yoga Nidra

    Basically all that you need is some well ventilated space where no one can disturb you for the entire yoga nidra section. Nevertheless here are some things you need in brief:

    Yoga Mat

    If you’ve been practicing yoga you’d already have one. Yoga Mat is preferred over bed, because your bed can sometimes get too comfortable and you tend to fall asleep.

    Light and Loose Clothing

    Clothing should not distract your practice and it should be light and loose and shouldn’t cause any kind of irritation during the practice. Check the links below

    Good Environment 

    You can practice yoga nidra at your home or at a yoga class. The room or the space must be

    1. Comfortable temperature and ventilation.
    2. Quiet & distraction free
    3. Medium illumination

    Best Schedule for Practice of yoga nidra

    Yoga Nidra can be practiced anytime. But if you can practice at the same time everyday, the mind and body gets accustomed and you can advance faster. It is best to practice yoga nidra on an empty stomach. So you may practice early in the morning before breakfast or late at night 2-3 hrs after dinner. However you can practice at your own time

    Benefits of Yoga Nidra

    Threefold RelaxationRelease of muscular, emotional and Mental tension. Restore your mind and body
    Rest more efficientlyOne hour of Yoga Nidra is equal to 4 hrs of ordinary sleep
    Develop PersonalityDevelop, Reconstruct and Reform your whole personality.
    Increase CreativityDreams are often creative, and yoga nidra takes you to that state of the mind consciously.
    Increase ReceptivityDuring the practice of yoga nidra we reach a state of high receptivity. This state of the mind can be used to make positive changes in your life. The Receptive mind is obedient.
    Reach Goals FasterResolves made in yoga nidra can work towards reaching your goal more efficiently.
    Develop Emotional ControlDevelop witness awareness - Detached observer
    Sleepless SleepDevelop Lucid Dreaming
    Develop Mental abilityDevelop memory, visualization, awareness and a lot more..
    Spiritual awakeningYoga Nidra as a spiritual practice can help you reach high states of consciousness and realization.
    Yoga Nidra ScriptYoga nidra experience and it's result will all depends on the Yoga Nidra Script. So if you're looking for a specific benefit, you just need the specific Yoga Nidra Script.

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