There is a lot of talk about meditation, the different techniques of meditation, and its benefits in the wellness and spiritual sectors of the media. However, we should understand that simply doing a meditation exercise and actually being in a state of meditation are two different things.
Anyone who has ever tried meditation will agree that it is easy to say, but difficult to do. Because, in the stressful daily life, our body and mind have under constant alert, and the word relaxation has become a dream for most people. The good news is that there is an ancient technique called Yoga Nidra that could very well be the solution.
Even during sleep, the mind is so stressed that it will not leave the body to rest. Most people get out of bed tired after seven or eight hours of disturbed sleep. Then, drained of vital energy, they try to deal with their daily responsibilities, make the right decisions, and have normal reactions. How do we expect our society to develop when its members are under continuous physical, emotional, and mental strain?
Try a simple experiment to understand this in a better way: sit in any comfortable position and try to be completely motionless for just one minute. You’ll realize that most people find it impossible to be totally still, even for 60 seconds. As determined as one can be, ultimately the muscles will make some move, only to prove how little control we have over our body and mind.
The Principles of Yoga Nidra
It originates in the tantras and has been introduced by the Indian yoga guru Swami Satyananda Saraswati. It is a guided exercise that energies you to relax for a period of 15 to 30 minutes consciously. This short but very deep relaxation is physical, mental, and emotional. During Yoga Nidra, one may appear to be asleep, but the consciousness is working at a deeper level of awareness. Actually, on the verge between asleep and awake, a spontaneous connection with the subconscious and the unconscious dimension occurs naturally. The consciousness in this state becomes very powerful and can be used to get profound knowledge, creativity, and even change the nature of one’s personality.
This yogic sleep is not a state of complete unconsciousness, but a state of potentiality, where a part of our awareness is fully alert. Experiments have shown that during the state of what we call sleep, we are actually more conscious and have more potential, because our consciousness is disconnected from the senses, leaving space for quality reception.
Yoga Nidra is practiced in a laying position (Savasana) and is not a concentration method. You just have to follow the instructions that you listen to and let go. You are just laying down your body to the floor. Systematic rotation of consciousness in the parts of the body during the practice is an essential part of Yoga Nidra. This helps to keep awareness while going deeper in the level of relaxation.
Setting Intention for Your Practice
Another main part is ‘Sankalpa’. It is a resolution seed that you sow deep inside. Setting intention, or “Sankalpa” in Sanskrit, is silently expressed at the beginning of your Yoga Nidra experience and with full emotion and sentiment. You should visualize what it would be like if it were already true. Again, you are guided to repeat your Sankalpa three times near the end of the practice, when you are totally relaxed and in the fertile delta brain-wave state, before going back to the external. This is when your brain is most receptive.
Many people, tired as they are, tend to fall asleep during the practice. This is not bad, nor does it deprive one of the benefits of Yoga Nidra. The consciousness is present, even when asleep, and every one amazingly wakes up as soon as the teacher tells the phrase “the practice of Yoga Nidra has now complete.”
Considering the modern lifestyle of non-stop stress in the physical, intellectual, and emotional level, Yoga Nidra is actually the only technique that requires minimum effort and leads to deep relaxation states. It is a guided meditation journey that can be attained by no other method in such a short period of time.
Yoga Nidra Teachers
Yoga trainers receive special training in order to be able to guide a Yoga Nidra session. The tone and the color of voice are special as well as the selected words that are used. A yoga or meditation retreat is the best place to start practicing Yoga Nidra on a daily basis. The results are really amazing.
Yoga Nidra can really improve the learning capacity of adults and mainly children. Children are very spontaneous and, as a result, they can adjust themselves to the practice more easily, gaining extreme benefits. Most of all, they keep the ability to connect with their deeper self and keep contact with the internal focus of mental balance.
Yoga Nidra: a Form of Hypnosis?
The practice of Yoga Nidra creates a state of withdrawal of the senses. For this reason, some think that it is a form of hypnosis. But, these are two different sciences, and actually Yoga Nidra goes faraway hypnosis. The reason is that while hypnosis is a deep sleep state, during Yoga Nidra, we keep awareness, and we are instructed not to sleep. When we are able to maintain consciousness while the senses are in complete withdrawal, we exceed the personality barriers and can go to any depth or height.
With the regular practice of Yoga Nidra, your true nature and honesty manifest, allowing you to live in peace. You can rearrange and reform your complete personality from within. Release of tension, relaxation, and calmness are the secret of transformation and freedom.
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