How many times despite feeling tired, are you still unable to put your mind and your body to rest? How many more times it happens that you lay in bed awake for hours – restless and unable to fall asleep? How many of you need to pop a sleeping pill to get a good night’s sleep only to wake up with a sullen hangover-like feeling? And, how many of you have already been diagnosed with insomnia on paper by the city’s most expensive shrink? While we ask these questions – majority of you have probably answered these with a nod of affirmation already.
The above conditions could be diagnosed under different names – insomnia, sleep apnea, restlessness, stress, depression, etc. However, there is only one ‘no-side effect’ remedy for getting rid of these unsettling conditions permanently – The Yoga Nidra, a.k.a, yogic sleep.
For those unaware of the term ‘yoga nidra’ – we have defined it in the simplest words – ‘Yoga Nidra’ is a state of consciousness during which a person transcends into deep relaxation while staying awake. Also known as ‘psychic sleep’, ‘yoga nidra’ helps a person travel through his own consciousness while feeling completely nonchalant, remaining unaffected and relaxed in the process. It induces a stage in person’s body and mind during which a soul feels completely rested, it develops an ability to let go.
Some might say that ‘yoga nidra’ is really a synonym for ‘meditation’. However, ‘yoga nidra relaxation’ and ‘yoga meditation’ are two different phenomena. Unlike yoga meditation, during which a person has to exercise a lot of focus and concentration in keeping their mind blank, ‘yoga nidra relaxation’ technique allows you to let thoughts, ideas and feelings flow through your body. These thoughts, feelings travel through a person’s body and the only task the person is expected to fulfill is to do ‘nothing’ about it. Let these flow with no external obstacle, judgment or any kind of analysis. As a yogi gradually seeps into yogic sleep, they are drawn far away into the world of nothingness, while they remain fully aware of their presence, their body and their existence. They feel the presence of their soul, flesh and blood alive inside. And, they feel rested, at peace.
Let us discuss the various stages involved during practice of Yoga nidra meditation:
Before commencement of yoga nidra practice, a yogi is expected to prepare his body and surroundings first.
Cleanse your body internally and externally. It is advised that a yogi practices yoga nidra on a clean and an empty stomach.
Choose a clean place. Get rid of unnecessary things around you. Create a clutter-free space for yourself where you can comfortably breathe.
Lie on the floor or a mattress in savasana position. If you prefer, place a bolster underneath your back.
Close your eyes. Now, slowly pay attention to all the things that are present in your surroundings – light, colors, sounds, smells, etc. Welcome them with ease. Retain them.
This is the stage of ‘resolution’. In this stage, a yogi takes a vow and makes a commitment to fulfill this vow. This resolution is kind and, equally positive. The yogi promises to fulfill this resolution with strong determination.
Circulation of Consciousness:
As the yogi reaches this stage, they begin to focus on their inner being and circulate this feeling through their entire body while spending time and attention at each point in their body. This consciousness needs to circulate from right to left, top to bottom, through the face, various organs, through the entire self.
Becoming aware of ‘prana’ or the breath:
Once a yogi reaches this stage, they begin to observe the sound, rhythm, intensity of their own breath as it travels through their entire body. Realize where it goes, how it flows. Establish a firm contact, as well as understanding with your breath.
Counteractive feelings approached:
During this stage, a yogi’s mind and soul travels back into the memories – good, bad, happy and sad. And, these moments or memories are experienced once again – mentally. However, each memory is teamed with a counteractive memory to establish balance and rhythm in their mind, body and soul.
At this stage, imagination comes into play. A yogi is advised to visualize things, objects or situations for themselves and, lives through them in their mind.
Once a yogi reaches this stage, they recall the resolution once again. And, repeat this resolution to themselves three-four times till their body and their mind reinstates its faith in the inner being, fills it with optimism.
In order to conclude this practice, the yogi slowly awakens and revisits the same sounds, objects, and fragrances they had captured before delving into yoga nidra meditation. Further, they slowly move the body and stretch it limb by limb.
Regular practice of yoga nidra not only helps a person sleep better, its benefits are much more:
First of all, Yoga Nidra is one of the easiest forms of yoga practice that requires no amount of mental or physical effort. Hence, anyone can practice it, irrespective of age, gender, orientation, etc.
Yoga Nidra is the one practice where a person becomes internally and completely aware of their true selves. This helps a yogi form much deeper connection with themselves. It makes them feel more secure too.
It eliminates tension and stress from a yogi’s mind and their body
It depletes all forms of blockage from the practitioner’s mind and soul.
Regular practice of Yoga Nidra meditation helps deal with psychological disorders and relieves negative feelings of depression, pain, etc.
It sharpens mind and improves memory.
Helps regulate body’s breathing movements more efficiently.
It also heals a yogi’s mind and body.
So, let us not wait for the ‘stress’ volcano to erupt. Instead, let us get ourselves some yogic sleep.
To Know more about Yoga Nidra, join yoga teacher training in India.