Yoga Nidra (Sanskrit for Yogic Sleep) is a powerful technique from the tantric Yoga tradition. It creates an altered state of consciousness allowing the practitioner to enter the realm of subconscious and manifest effective and seemingly magical changes in their life. Yoga Nidra is a part of the Pratyahara limb of Raja Yoga, one of the eight limbs of yoga; the well known codification system of the Yogic practices by Patanjali (an Indian sage who lived around 200 B.C.) Pratyahara deals with the withdrawal of the senses and the influences of the mind which do not serve us on the path of enlightenment and liberation.
The Yoga Nidra method is so inherently powerful that it has been kept secret for millennia until the 1960’s when it was reintroduced to western students by Parmahansa Satyananda Saraswati founder of the Bihar School of Yoga. The most easily observable effect of this practice is the extremely deep relaxation of your nervous system. Yoga Nidra has been clinically shown to be one of the most powerful methods available to achieve this state without the use of chemical agents.
The specific guided sequence of the physical relaxation points in Yoga Nidra, developed by the ancient yogis, parallels the exact sequence of the brain centres as shown by findings of recent neuro-medical research into the nature and structure of the brain. Once you reach the deepest state of physical and mental relaxation the mind becomes receptive to new concepts. By reaching this stage through the specific sequence of mind-activating visualizations, you will access the subconscious and have the opportunity to effectively implant an affirmation of your choice. With diligent Yoga Nidra practice, these desired changes will manifest in your life. This is truly the magical aspect of this ancient art and science.
Yoga Nidra usually takes from twenty to forty five minutes to complete. The procedure is carried out by first doing a few asanas -practicing a few postures. Then the person lies on his or her back in totally relaxed posture (shavasana -posture simulating dead body). Eyes are lightly closed, arms are kept with palms facing upwards, breathing is natural and quiet.
Yoga Nidra helps in restoring mental, emotional, and physical health by way of relaxation, and makes the mind more conducive to pratyahara-withdrawing senses from their objects, dharana-concentration, and meditation. Such a practice helps harmonize two hemispheres of the brain and the two aspects of autonomous nervous system (sympathetic and parasympathetic). The impressions in the subconscious are brought to surface, experienced and removed. Thus, the fixation of awareness on the body is replaced with the awareness linked to subtler aspects of prana (the life force) and spiritual dimensions allowing for maximizing of the pure yet unmanifested potential within.
NIDRA YOGA | Ajanta Suri