Understanding Yoga Nidra and its Benefits
Yoga Nidra refers to a state of consciousness that is arrived at through a set of verbal guided instructions given by an experienced teacher. To be awake and aware in the deep sleep state is Yoga Nidra. Some may call it Yoga Nidra Meditation but unlike "true" meditation, which is done in a seated posture, Yoga Nidra is done in Savasana (corpse pose). This ancient Tantric technique has a multitude of benefits that are known to many but are simply side effects of the practice. Some Yoga Nidra benefits include a better night's sleep, calm mind, improved health, and a greater connection with Self, to name a few.
To learn more about Yoga Nidra and how to practice the techniques
that lead you to this State, please consider taking a workshop or
training. You'll dive deep into the philosophy to better understand:
What is Yoga Nidra?
How does it work?
What are the Benefits of Yoga Nidra?
How to teach and guide others?
In Yoga Nidra we are consciously moving from the waking state of consciousness, through the dream state, to the causal state consciously. To remain awake and aware through the process is the goal, then you may abide in your true nature. Yoga Nidra is being used for many things these days, including Yoga Nidra for Sleep and Yoga Nidra for Stress. Although these are wonderful uses, it is not the intended purpose. Yoga Nidra was used by Yogi's to burn the karmic seeds, the samskaras, in the Chitta or unconscious, so that they would not have to come back again, lifetime after lifetime....
Yoga Nidra is a state of consciousness in which the body remains completely relaxed and the mind is guided to its highest state (Satva), allowing for abidance in your true nature, Svarūpa. All this is achieved by following the voice of a guide who’s familiar with the inner worlds; the physical, subtle and causal worlds.
This state of consciousness is similar to meditation but different in its approach. Whereas Yoga Nidra is achieved lying down, meditation is done in a seated position. Yoga Nidra is an expansion of mind, including All, whereas, meditation is a contraction of mind to a point of focus, allowing you to pierce the veil of illusion (Maya). Both allow you to abide in your true nature. The ultimate goal of Yoga Nidra is to achieve meditative consciousness known as Samadhi.
This is a state where you are in a deep state of relaxation while being fully conscious,
“aware and awake”. To understand the process, and to experience
this “state” first hand, you can take a Yoga Nidra workshop. To teach
this practice to others, a Yoga Nidra training is imperative. Both
options are quite beneficial.
Let’s understand some of the benefits of Yoga Nidra:
A lack of quality sleep is harmful to the body and mind as it can result in stress, depression, burnout and a weak immune system, among other issues. Thus, it is important to get enough sleep at night. If you incorporate the Yoga Nidra techniques at bedtime, you may fall asleep much faster, deeper and longer. There is a process involved in powering down your body & brain. The techniques used in Yoga Nidra allows you to do this consciously, training your body & mind in the relaxation process, allowing for deeper states to be reached quickly.
Moving through the physical and subtle bodies, while relaxing and releasing tension, stress, and emotions, allows for a release in pain and tension in the physical and subtle bodies. If you don’t consciously remove tension in the bodies, over time, you may develop dis-ease in the body/mind system. Alternatively, If you are aware of the sensations that are present in your body, then you can easily get to know about the worries and stresses that tend to hold you back.
Research has shown that Yoga Nidra can help out when it comes to emotional self-regulation and release of stress from the physical body. Reduced levels of stress allows for less worry, depression and anxiety, allowing for an increase in quality of life, mood and well- being.
The techniques can be practiced anywhere and is accessible for everyone. You’ll just need a quiet space to lie down, where you’re comfortable and able to listen to an experienced teacher guide you inward.Thus, anyone can practise the techniques, be it young children to aging seniors, beginners & advanced. All are welcome and encouraged in this simple, yet profound practice.
The good thing about Yoga Nidra is that you don’t need expensive yoga clothes or a fancy mat to practise the techniques. It is highly accessible and doesn’t require any accessories or equipment. All you need to do is find a quiet & comfortable space to lay down and perhaps turn inward.
Yoga Nidra doesn’t need your efforts in order to arrive, on the contrary, it requires you to be effortless in your approach, to just Be. Here – There, are words that don’t apply in this space and with the least effort you find yourself non-local - beyond words, beyond space/time…
It has been said that a Yoga Nidra session of 45 minutes is equivalent to three hours of sleep. Yogi’s move to the state of Yoga Nidra easily and are able to nourish and refresh their bodies, pulling energy from source. Because they’re capable of moving into this state at will, they’re known for not sleeping, as they’re awake and aware in the state of deep sleep. For the average person, Yogic sleep can really help to refresh you and leave you feeling more energized and relaxed.
An important benefit of Yoga Nidra, is that it relaxes and soothes the nervous system. It helps you to move into the parasympathetic state. Here, your heart rate slows, your breathing relaxes and your mind becomes still.
Yoga Nidra helps to create an unbreakable bond between you and your higher self. Once the connection is made, you may imbibe wisdom, and live life from a place of balance, centeredness and strength. Additionally, it opens the door to your inner worlds and helps you to understand life as it is.
The techniques that lead you to the State of Yoga Nidra are beneficial on many levels, physically, emotionally, mentally, intellectually and spiritually. It’s a complete practice that will leave you energized yet relaxed, fully refreshed, and in harmony with the world around you. This powerful Tantric technique has the potential to take you beyond the three states of consciousness, into the fourth state, Turiya.
Useful tips for Yoga Nidra
The practice is done while lying down in Savasana. The spine should be straight, and your eyes closed.
Your breath is slow and steady, no effort is needed, just observe the breath, and let it flow.
Listen to the guide's voice and follow the instructions, don’t let the mind wander.
Don’t look for extra-ordinary experiences or come with expectations. Just let the practice be as it is, whatever comes, welcome it, and as it passes, let it go.
Command the body to stay still for the duration of the practice. You’re the one in control, not the body or senses.
If you fall asleep, that’s ok, your body/mind system is still benefiting from the guidance given. Your higher self (buddhi) is aware and paying attention.