Yoga Nidra - The Doorway to the Subconscious
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra, the name meaning "Sleep of the Yogi" or "Psychic Sleep," produces a highly relaxed and profoundly deep state of meditation that progresses through the many stages of the mind. It is a journey through stillness and mindfulness which bestows great clarity, calmness, and serenity to the practitioner. This guided meditation is a powerful, rejuvenating and restful practice for inducing mental, emotional and physical relaxation with the power to increase our vast reservoirs of creativity, intuition and self understanding.
Yoga Nidra guides you through awareness of the entire body, sensations, emotions, and visualization journeys, using a systematic method developed thousands of years ago. This guided meditation takes you to the borderline "state of mind" between sleep and wakefulness and is the science of relaxation which enables us to dive deep into the realms of the sub-conscious mind.
Patanjali's Sutras codifies the
Eight Limbs of Yoga.
The Fifth Limb, Pratyahara, is the withdrawing of the senses and is the first part of the meditation process which culminates in Samadhi. Pratyahara is the primary focus of this guided meditation. Moving beyond the conscious mind, which is filled with thoughts, tension, likes, dislikes and belief systems, Yoga Nidra brings us to a level of receptivity, thereby clearing the channels to inner wisdom, intuition, and the unfolding of our deepest desires. It connects us with our true essence and the fertile ground of all creativity. This meditation method is so intense and powerful that it has been kept secret for nearly 4000 years. It was introduced to the western world in the 1960's by Parmahansa Stayananda Saraswati and has gained increasing interest over the years. During the practice, our awareness is guided and focused on different parts of the body in a definite sequence. We are brought to feel intense physical sensations of heat, cold, heaviness and lightness.
Interlaced through the practice, our intended "Sankalpa," or positive Affirmation, is used. A Sankalpa is an intention or desire for something. It may be a tangible or intangible desire of a material or spiritual nature. The Sankalpa is most effective if it is made when the mind is not intellectually active and in a quiet, but alert state. Before you begin the practice, formulate your Sankalpa or Affirmation. Affirmations, when used during the practice, are made infinitely more effective by accessing the subconscious mind to plant the seed of a new desire. Most conscious affirmation methods are ineffective because they don't manifest in the subconscious.
Guided visualizations take us on a journey through distinct phases, places and experiences, where we eventually enter into the deepest part of our subconscious and begin to feel the expanse of the universe in us, through us and around us. We become the universe and the universe becomes us. After some time, we are gently brought back to our awareness of the room we are in and our surroundings.
Yoga Nidra is being prescribed by doctors in many countries as a preventive and curative therapy of stress related diseases and is effective in the management of psychosomatic disorders. The calming of the mind provides effective relief of depression and deep rooted anxiety and aids in increasing the learning capacity. This meditation practice is the deepest state of sleep with conscious awareness and is an ancient Tantric Yoga practice that leads to inner freedom. It is a transformative practice where we learn to relax deeply, yet consciously. In order to relax completely, we need to remain aware. It is a transformative practice that leads to lasting psychological change and emotional and physical healing.
The practice increases our natural dopamine secretion, which is the body's natural pleasure drug. The ultimate benefit is the opening of our awareness of our true nature where we experience unshakable calm and peace during our most difficult times.
This deep level of relaxation and guided imagery offers many scientifically verified benefits which have been experienced by practitioners through the ages. This guided meditation is practiced in a relaxed posture called Savasana.
While remaining completely awake, a 25 to 45 minute practice can feel like 3 hours of restful sleep, but provides many more benefits than regular sleep. Through this amazing practice, we go beneath the senses into the interconnecting energy and experience profound healing without drugs.
It is used as one of the pathways to eventually experience Samadhi, or "enlightenment."
Sunset Photo Credit: Sonya Etchison, Dreamstime #1290482
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