Yoga Nidra is a practice that helps you dig into the different layers of the mind. Yoga is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning “union” and Nidra is “sleep”; defining it as yogic sleep.
Yoga Nidra, usually practiced in Savasana (Corpse pose), is guided by a teacher or repetitions in the mind. It does not have a limitation to the kind of people who can use this practice for personal growth. Thus, using techniques of breath awareness, body scan, being mindful of all senses and visualisation, we can aim to reach and explore the three stages of our minds.
Finally, with Yoga Nidra, we could increase awareness, manifest intentions and heal.
When we begin to practice yoga, we realise that our minds can be related to an ocean divided into three parts which is essential to understand the practise.
Yoga Nidra: Part one
The top most part of an ocean resonates to our conscious mind. In other words, the first part of our mind includes floating objects, accessible water and regularly coming into contact with the outside world. We have an active conscious state when we are awake and incorporating our thoughts into our daily actions. Hence, it is at this stage of Yoga Nidra, that one sets an intention for themselves.
Yoga Nidra: Part two
The second part of the ocean is similar to our subconscious minds; home to fish and organisms. Our thoughts, memories and emotion makes the fish in our mind as the information and data make the organisms. Usually, we connect to our subconscious in our dream state.
It is in this stage of Yoga Nidra where the seeds of the intention are sown, watered and nourished. Ultimately, reaching this stage and growing the intention here, can change an individual’s programming and belief system and begin the healing process.
Yoga Nidra: Part three
The last part of the ocean is the sea bed. The depth and foundation of the sea bed directly links it to the unconscious mind. The collective consciousness and memories resides in this stage of our mind. Often, it comes with stillness and peace like that of the ocean.
It is at this process with the union of the mind, body and soul where healing happens. It takes a lot of Yoga Nidra practise to reach this state of mind.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati, founder of the Bihar School of Yoga, shares in his books the introductory guide to Yoga Nidra. Although, the best experience is being guided by a trained professional, here is a script that you can use to practise on your own.
Yoga Nidra Steps:
1. Part one
- Lie down on your back in, Savasana (corpse pose), as your arms are stretched out comfortably by your sides with the palms facing the ceiling
- Gently close your eyes and try to relax your breathing as you begin your Yoga Nidra practise
- Bring your awareness to your entire body, from the tip of your toes to the top of your head and repeat the mantra of OM in your mind as you do this
- Set an intention for yourself at this time. It can an intention to heal a part of your physical or emotional body or an achievement in the future
- Convert this intention into an affirmation (present tense positive sentences) and repeat it three times in your mind
2. Part two
- Now, we move around the body, being aware of the different parts of the body while chanting their name in your mind
- Focus on the smallest part of the right side of your body and scan it as you raise aware in Yoga Nidra
- The idea is to stay in this subconscious state of mind so don’t let yourself be carried away by emotions. Guide yourself through the observation
- As you watch over your right sided fingers, wrists, palms, joints. toes, ankles, eyeball, eyelid, shoulder blade, etc, you move onto the left side
- Similarly, do a detailed scan of the left side of your body
- Do the same for the sections of your entire backside and once again the same for the front of your body
- Now start observing your body in larger regions, for e.g. the right leg, the left arm, etc, from your toes to your head
- Repeat the previous step a couple of times and slow down your observation speed
- Don’t slip into sleep while you exercise your mind with this deep relaxation
3. Part three
- Be aware of your breath and let the steady rhythm further help you to relax
- You may count the number of breaths you take in and out for a minute or two in order to keep yourself on the edge of relaxation and sleep
- It is time again to repeat your self-created affirmation three times as you are at the deepest end of your relaxation
- The affirmation at the very core of our mind is the beginning for all changes to come
- Prepare to return to back to your waking consciousness
- Gently move your fingers and your toes and continue to take deep breaths
- When you feel comfortable, slowly open your eyes
- Whether your practice lasts for 15 minutes or an hour, you will feel completely relaxed and energetic
Yoga Nidra benefits:
- Deep relaxation of the body and mind
- A tool to become more aware of the self
- A practice to enhance other meditation techniques
- Unblocking of the set thoughts and patterns in the mind
- Reforming the nervous system
- Overcome vast number of illness by overturning the source cause through Yoga Nidra
- Improve the quality of sleep
- Enhance health and wellness of an individual
- Awaken your intuition
- Recharge the entire human mechanism
Yoga Nidra is a very easily practice to mould into your life and alleviate the stress levels. Dive into the subtle yet uplifting practice and experience enjoyment, solace and euphoria exuding from inside yourself and joining your body, mind and soul.