Yoga Nidra Meditation: The Key to Deep Relaxation

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If you have a dedicated yoga practice, you’re probably familiar with meditation. It can be a short guided meditation in a class or a dedicated independent practice. However, the concept of Yoga Nidra is not widely known – and it may be the missing element you need to find a new level of complete relaxation.

What is Yoga Nidra?

What is Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is a meditation method that helps practitioners achieve total physical, mental and emotional relaxation. It is usually practiced on recordings or in person with the help of a vocalist.

In Sanskrit, the word nidra means sleep. Often performed in corpse pose (or Savasana), the practitioner can make it appear to an outside observer that they are sleeping. In yoga nidra, however, you remain awake, albeit in a deeper state of awareness. While you are awake during traditional meditation, in Yoga Nidra you enter what is called “spiritual sleep” or deep conscious sleep.

With practice, you will move from the waking state to the hypnotic state that is between waking and dreaming. From there, you transition into dream and sleep states with full consciousness. This conscious yogic sleep allows you to turn your attention fully inward.

Origin of Yoga Nidra

Origin of Yoga Nidra

The yoga nidra practiced today has its origins in Sankhya, a philosophy first established around 700 BC. is documented. These teachings were practiced and expanded in the ensuing years.

The concept of yogic relaxation as a meditative practice first appeared in yogic texts of the 11th and 12th centuries. The author begins by referring to the physical component of the practice, advising the practitioner to lie in Savasana while practicing this meditative state, as is commonly practiced in Yoga Nidra today. In these texts, the term “yoga nidra” is used as a synonym for samadhi, a deep meditative state also known as yogic sleep.

Yoga Nidra in the Modern World

Yoga Nidra in the Modern World

The Yoga Nidra technique as it is known today was developed by Swami Satyananda in the 1960’s. He built on the above teachings and practices to create a more general practice so that people unfamiliar with yogic texts can still benefit from this meditation. His version allows practitioners to find deep relaxation while boosting self-confidence.

While the exact practice may vary from teacher to teacher, guided meditation involves about eight stages in which the practitioner turns the focus inward while following the instructions of the instructor. Yoga Nidra can be practiced in class or by listening to recordings, and the length of time varies, but usually lasts from 30 minutes to an hour or so.

yoga rest phase

yoga rest phase

Yoga Nidra typically consists of eight phases, including:
1. Preparation
At this stage, the practitioner is settled in his room. You will feel very comfortable lying in Savasana and release any tension or anxiety. As you relax into a still state and focus on your breath, you begin to become aware of your body.

2. Loose robbery
Practitioners use this time to develop an intention for a practice known as sankalpa. Kalpa means “oath” and San refers to connection with the highest truth, so the word roughly means “the oath and commitment we make in support of the highest truth”.

Dr. Richard Miller, inventor of a yogic relaxation therapy called iRest, explains that sankalpa can take two forms. The first is a “heartfelt wish,” or a statement that describes your true nature. The second is a more specific intention that guides you on the right path to achieve the goals you set out to achieve. Whatever sankalpa you establish, it should be said in the present tense as if it had been achieved. Some examples are: “I am patient,” “I am calm,” “I let go of my fears,” “My creativity flows,” or “I feel relaxed and focused.”

3. Rotation of Consciousness
The teacher will guide the practitioners to focus on different parts of the body. Practitioners are instructed to remain relaxed and still as they quickly bring their attention to each part of the body. This section follows a specific rotation order. You start on the right side of your body, work your way from hands to feet, then do the same on the left side. Then they move to the back of the body, from the heels to the head, and finally to the front, from the top of the head to the feet.

4. Breath awareness
In this session, practitioners simply focus their awareness on the breath without trying to change it. They may be instructed to count their breaths and count down each time they exhale.

5. The feeling of contrast
Next, guide the practitioner to imagine the opposite feeling, for example: B. Hot and cold or love and hate. By giving full attention to these different sensations, this can help build willpower and promote levels of relaxation.

6. Visualization
Practitioners bring their awareness to a space before they close their eyes, called Chidakasha. Here, they were asked to imagine certain images or situations based on the teacher’s judgment.

7. Sankalpa Repeat
At this stage, they are brought back to the sankalpa they set at the beginning of the practice to reinforce their intention.

8. Conclusion
Finally, the yogis leave their meditation peacefully. They bring awareness back to the breath and begin to perceive their surroundings. You are instructed to slowly restart your exercise

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