Did you know? 35 minutes of Yoga Nidra is as restorative as 3 hours of sleep! Could you imagine what your body can do if you could restore used energies so easily?!
Yoga Nidra is a sleep based meditation technique that establishes itself from the biology of the body. It is a practice that helps you dig into the different layers of the mind and balance your emotional and mental stress. Yoga is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning “union” and Nidra is “sleep”; defining it as yogic sleep.
Our minds have multiple brain wave states, each with a different level of brain activity and consciousness. Yoga Nidra is practiced to go through these different stages and make positive changes.
How does Yoga Nidra Work?
The first state includes a high volume of brain activity. This is the state when we are awake and usually unable to handle mixed information through our senses. As we progress through the stages, our ability to relax improves with the slower brain waves. There are less and less emotional loops in these stages and more comfort. It is comparable to eating Ferrero Rocher chocolate; the various textures and tastes make great layers for our palate but it is in everybody’s interest to reach the hazelnut buried deep inside. This last stage helps us float in a meditative state and disconnect with the external world.
It is the aim of Yoga Nidra to reach this state of peace and calm and soak seeds of positive changes and intentions. With these seeds well nourished and watered, will no doubt change an individual’s programming and belief system at the root level and ultimately, flourish into a better life.
Yoga Nidra is usually practiced in Savasana (Corpse pose). It is either guided by a teacher or the steps are repeated by an individual in their minds. It does not have a limitation to the kind of people who can use this practice for personal growth.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati, founder of the Bihar School of Yoga, shares in his books the introductory guide to Yoga Nidra. 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
- Improve the quality of sleep
- Enhance health and wellness of an individual
- Awaken your intuition
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.