Welcome to Yoga Nidra! Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep) is a meditation and relaxation technique that keeps you in a state between wakefulness and sleep. Your body is fully relaxed, but the mind is still alert and free to explore and experience. Yoga Nidra is a very old practice and finds mention in the Mandukya Upanishad and ancient tantric texts. It gives relief from stress and anxiety besides being helpful in the management of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Every day, life adds more and more thoughts and possibilities to worry about into your subconscious mind. Needless worries and baseless thoughts are often behind common mental problems like stress and anxiety. Yoga Nidra removes this mental garbage and restores your mental calm.
Understanding Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is a type of guided meditation that is practiced lying down. Unlike meditation, where you are focussed on one thing to the exclusion of everything else, in Yoga Nidra, your mind will be on a continuous journey. You will take your mind from one thing to another according to the verbal instructions from your teacher. The teacher will guide you into a deep trance, take you on an excursion through your body, breath, feelings and some visualisations. Finally, the teacher will guide you back out of the Yoga Nidra to full wakefulness.
Yoga Nidra is a state between wakefulness and sleep where you are fully conscious, aware of your body and the teacher’s instructions, but detached from other aspects of your immediate surroundings. If you slip into a dream, sleep or disconnect from the verbal instructions, it is not Yoga Nidra. If performed correctly, your conscious and subconscious mind will be awake. You will experience the state of sleep while being mentally alert to the instructions.
How It Works
Yoga Nidra puts you in a state where all your senses except your hearing are withdrawn. Your hearing remains connected only to the teacher’s voice and the instructions. You just listen and follow the instructions without thinking or evaluation. The teacher leads you through body awareness followed by breath awareness and other visualisations. This puts you in a state of deep relaxation. Your body is totally relaxed and your mind is free from unnecessary thoughts.
Although they are different, both Yoga Nidra and meditation achieve similar goals. Both keep your mind away from faulty thought patterns to impart a deep sense of calm. Yoga Nidra goes beyond this and can be used to suggest positive changes to help you get rid of undesirable traits like addictions and wrong attitudes.
Yoga Nidra gives you awareness about your body and your inner self. This helps you identify wrong attitudes and thought patterns that may be disturbing your peace or taking you along the wrong path. This gives you greater introspection and the opportunity to correct some of these faults.
Although you can perform Yoga Nidra with the help of a recording, it’s best to do it under the guidance and supervision of a teacher. If you try it on your own, you are likely to fall asleep and this defeats the purpose of Yoga Nidra. The goal is to be completely alert to the instructions while being fully aware of your body, breath and thoughts.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra gives you several benefits. Here are some of them.
- Helps relieve problems like stress and anxiety. It also helps you get rid of the physical sensations of anxiety like sweating, tightness in the throat, chest pain, palpitations, stomach problems, headache and shortness of breath. It has been used to help soldiers cope with PTSD.
- Soothes the body and calms the mind.
- Improves your ability to concentrate.
- Gives relief from fatigue and pain.
- Improves the quality and duration of sleep.
- Helps you get rid of undesirable habits.