(ORDO NEWS) — Yoga nidra is a term coined by Swami Saraswati to refer to a practice, otherwise referred to as sleep yoga, or yoga for sleep.
This yoga technique was specially designed to help a person know himself from different sides, approach the gates of the unconscious and, entering them, open that unknown source of forces for transformation, which each of us owns, but for lack of a key, cannot use it.
Nidra – dream dream
Sleep yoga (“nidra” – sleep in Sanskrit) is a practice that helps a person to grow and improve not only in reality, in a state of wakefulness, but also in a dream. Sleep has great potential, because in a dream the body is absolutely relaxed, and the mind is not busy with solving current daily tasks. Advanced masters believe that yoga nidra is such a powerful practice that it is quite capable of influencing both sleep and wakefulness, making it happy and successful!
Before doing yoga nidra, you need to know what it is.
What is the essence of yoga nidra
In a dream, of course! But this is not a dream in the literal sense of the word. We are awake – the encephalograph will display this active state as an EEG beta rhythm (frequency from 14 to 40 Hz). During sleep, our brain switches to theta rhythm (frequency 4-8 Hz). In a state of deep sleep, the EEG will record the vibration of weak delta waves (1-4 Hz).
In a state called yoga nidra, between sleep and wakefulness, the brain works in alpha rhythms with a frequency of 8-12 Hz!
Such radiation is characteristic of the so-called hypnagogic state, which necessarily precedes falling asleep. It lasts about 5 minutes, is characterized by deep relaxation and the person’s ability to hear and perceive information from the outside. Yoga Nidra is the art of prolonging the state of “conscious sleep”.
Yoga nidra or the art of deep relaxation
Conscious sleep is achieved through complete and deep relaxation. Actually, yoga nidra therefore has a positive effect on the human body, which changes the nature of sleep. If we “fall” into a normal sleep at once, without preliminary relaxation, all muscle clamps and negative daytime experiences remain with us. Relaxation in yoga nidra is not only muscle relaxation and gaining clarity of consciousness, but also the removal of mental and physical “garbage” from the body: all tensions.
In this state, it is possible to form a sankalpa – a firm intention, some kind of inner conviction that penetrates into the deepest layers of consciousness and is able to be realized in reality.
The origins of yoga nidra
Swami Satyananda created the yoga nidra method based on the ancient Vedic traditions described in the later collection of yogic texts, Rigvidhana. He took as a basis one of the rituals described there – the sacrifice of Vishnu.
It sounds scary, but in fact this practice means only spiritual sacrifice. It looked like this: the person performing the ritual clearly represented (visualized) the image of the deity. Then he represented the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, and 16 verses from the 90th hymn of the Rigveda “Purusha-sukta” (the hymn describes the creation of the world from the parts of the body of Purusha). Poems (mantras) were required in the imagination to “superimpose” on various parts of the body of Vishnu. Then imagine your own body – and “superimpose” the images of the sacred texts already on it. Thus, the performer of the ritual was “likened” to a deity. His body supposedly acquired the qualities of the divine – siddhi, supernatural powers.
This practice is called “nyasa” (“gathering the mind at one point”).
Satyananda’s way of gradually becoming aware of body parts and working with visual (imaginary) images is based on nyasa. This is not classical yoga, since a certain work of consciousness is carried out (classical, however, presupposes its complete immobility). Of course, there is also a lot here from tantra – Satyananda practiced it since childhood.
Scientific evidence for the benefits of nidra yoga
In the early 1970s, at the Menninger Clinic in Kansas (USA), a study of the work of the brain of a yogi in the state of yoga nidra was carried out. The object of the study was the famous yogi Swami Rama, who until 1952 practiced in the Himalayan caves. The scientific advisor was Dr. Elmer Green. The electroencephalograph recorded the biocurrents of the yogi’s brain during the practice.
It was discovered that Swami Rama, even in a state of deep sleep (the yogi’s dream was genuine, not feigned, the device recorded a sign of such a dream – delta waves) remained vigilant of consciousness! After waking up, he perfectly remembered what was happening next to him during the experiment, including the questions asked by scientists during deep sleep. Swami Rama could describe in detail all stages of sleep – he was clearly conscious in each of them!
Superconsciousness (or, as yogis call it, turiya – the integration of consciousness, subconsciousness and unconsciousness) turned out to be a physiological reality! Of course, this opened up vast new possibilities.
Fields of application of yogic sleep
Now yoga of the state of sleep is applied:
- in various learning systems (to improve memory functions and cognitive abilities);
- for the prevention and treatment of stressful conditions;
- for therapy in the treatment of both acute and chronic forms of various diseases – cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and others;
- in the field of geriatrics and rehabilitation of elderly patients;
- in the therapy of psychosomatic diseases;
- in psychiatry.
Preparation for practice
Ventilate the room and create twilight: close the curtains if you are doing during the day, or dim the lights if you are at night.
It is important that no one bothers you during the entire practice: strangers do not enter the room, the phone does not ring, etc.
Place a fitness or yoga mat on the floor. It is better not to use a pillow, but if you are experiencing severe discomfort while lying on the floor, you can put a small roller under your neck. If you have problems with your lower back, you can place a roller under your lower back.
As you relax, the metabolism slows down and the body cools down a bit, so you can cover yourself with a thin blanket beforehand.
Take Shavasana (Corpse Pose). To do this, lie on your back, direct your chin slightly towards yourself to lengthen your neck, put your hands diagonally from the body, palms up, let your feet fall apart at a distance from each other, close your eyes.
Do not move or open your eyes during the entire Shavasana practice.
Complete all the preparations described above and start recording.
oga nidra for beginners: the spiritual aspect
Swami Satyananda himself called yoga nidra “the gateway to samadhi.” If we take away the pompousness, “the door to enlightenment” or, which suits the Western person more, “to perfection”.
Since during this practice sankalpa is carried out, unlimited opportunities open up for self-improvement and improvement of the quality of both sleep and life in general. You don’t have to go to enlightenment – but why not use a method that helps you become better and make your life more joyful? It is only necessary to form a sankalpa correctly: it can help get rid of bad habits, negative emotions, awaken creative forces, and give energy for the implementation of various projects.
How to Practice Yogic Sleep?
The beginning of the practice is shavasana – it is the posture of a dead man. You lie on your back, hands along the body, palms up, legs slightly apart. It is not for nothing that the asana is named so: evaluate in advance the convenience of the posture and whether any details of your clothes are embarrassing you. Nothing bothers the dead man – neither should you.
The eyes must be closed. Not sure if you can keep them closed – wear a bandage.
Breathe evenly, deeply, calmly. And begin to be aware of the body – everything from head to toe. Whatever seems tense, gradually relax. Feel where and how your body touches the floor.
Imagine the body is absolutely motionless and overwhelmingly heavy. Like a huge log, like a boulder. Feel that even the little finger cannot be lifted off the floor without effort.
Now imagine a feeling of extreme lightness. The body is weightless, like a balloon inflated with helium, like a cloud, it is about to soar above the floor …
Sankalpa time. Make your decision and repeat three times.
Begin to be aware of each part of the body in turn and separately. Without moving, only consciousness. Literally each (not only hands, but also fingers in turn). Start at the feet and gradually work towards the head. Everything is only with consciousness, quickly shifting attention from one part of the body to another. Realize the body as a whole.
Become aware of breathing. Inhale and exhale 54 times with awareness. Make sure you stay awake.
Now concentrate on the point between the eyebrows. This is the chidakasha space, the “visual screen” of the ajna chakra (often called the “third eye”). Concentrate on this darkness. If you see something (picture-image, colored spots), know that these are manifestations of your mind. You are not asleep!
Engage in visualization that gives calmness – imagine an image that you associate with peace and serenity: a deep clear lake with transparent water, where you can see every pebble, a clear blue sky with slowly floating clouds, a large powerful tree, a sleeping animal, a sitting Buddha …
Visualizations are not available to everyone. If your perception of the world around you is more through hearing (you are audial) or touch (kinesthetic), you may find it difficult to visualize images without falling out of a state of relaxation. Hence, it is not necessary.
Become aware of the breath again. Listen to the sounds of the world around you, without evaluating them in any way – they just sound. From distant sounds (outside the window, on the street), focus on loved ones (sounds in the room).
Repeat sankalpa three more times. Become aware of the body again, imagine it from the side, as if “rising” above it. Become aware of your surroundings. Move it. Sit down slowly as you feel comfortable. Realized everything that surrounds you? You are not asleep. Open your eyes.
Features of yoga nidra
In the borderline state of yoga nidra, between sleep and wakefulness, you make contact with the superconscious part and the unconscious part of your psyche, where your past memories are collected.
Those experiences that were especially negative or painful were driven deep into the unconscious area of our psyche, which is hidden behind conscious memories. However, they are still very active and are the source of our irrational fears and obsessions. Also in the unconscious part there are instinctive desires, constantly seeking expression through our consciousness. Tension is, in fact, a clot of suppressed energy that intensifies those needs and desires that block the state of satisfaction. During yoga nidra, these frustrations and blocked unfulfilled desires get an outlet, as a result of which tensions are reduced and the energy that is contained in them is released.
A similar process also takes place in normal sleep when we dream. These dreams are composed of randomly selected impulses. In yoga nidra, we create our own dream by visualizing a wide variety of symbols that have powerful and universal meanings. These “fast images” evoke other, generally unrelated memories from the depths of the subconscious, and each memory, in turn, is filled with emotional stress. Thus, many types of tensions go away, and the mind is freed from unnecessary information.
Yoga nidra has been compared to hypnosis, but they have little in common. In hypnosis, everyone becomes extremely sensitive to external advice for therapeutic or other purposes, yoga nidra is a way of heightened self-awareness to track one’s own mental awakening.
The first time it is recommended to practice yoga nidra in a class with a teacher, so you better understand the purpose of the technique and become familiar with the method of practice at each stage. If you don’t have a yoga teacher, try to get a yoga nidra record in class.
Although it can be practiced while sitting or even standing, yoga nidra is usually done while lying on the back in savasana. Better to lie on the floor on a mat or blanket. If you feel the need to put a pillow under your head, you can. Make sure you are warm enough and do not need to cover yourself with a blanket. The eyes remain closed during the entire practice, which should be carried out from 30 minutes to 1 hour. The body should be absolutely relaxed, no movement should be carried out during the practice.
The whole body is consistently relaxed, every limb, every bone, muscle, ligament, circulatory system, respiration, brain, face, eyes, etc. When your body is completely relaxed, the mind becomes relaxed as well, but you must keep it active by bringing your attention to all parts of your body, tracking your breathing, experiencing various sensations, creating mental images.
In yoga nidra you are not really sleeping, you have to remain aware throughout the entire practice, trying to follow all the instructions without judgment. Of course, you can also use yoga nidra as a prelude to sleep. If you practice it for 20-30 minutes before bed, the quality of your sleep will increase dramatically.
During yoga nidra, a decision is made or, in other words, a sankalpa is performed. Sankalpa is an intention, an inner conviction that has reached the depths of the subconscious, which is regularly reproduced in such a way that it becomes reality. It must be something extremely important to you. Repeat this mentally 3 times with a feeling of deep conviction. It is better if your sankalpa has a spiritual goal, but you can also make decisions related to the desire to get rid of a habit or improve some aspect of your personality. In yoga nidra, the decisions we make and the thoughts we create become potentially very powerful. They go deep into the subconscious and, over time, they definitely become reality.
For yoga nidra, we need to get comfortable, lying in shavasana (dead man’s pose). The legs are slightly apart, the hands lie freely along the body, palms up. Make sure that the position of your body and clothing is absolutely comfortable and that you do not have to make any movements during the practice.
- Close your eyes and do not open them during the whole practice.
- Check your body position and clothing again. During yoga nidra, you must remain aware. Don’t let yourself sleep. Mentally say: “I will not sleep.”
- Now take a deep breath, and as you breathe in, feel the calmness spreading throughout your body. As you exhale, allow your body to completely relax.
- Be aware of your entire body while lying on the floor in complete silence. Become aware of the whole body from head to toe. Let every part of your body relax completely. Make sure there is no stress anywhere.
- Become aware of all parts of the body that are in contact with the floor. Be aware of the contact of the hands, palms with the floor, the contact of the elbows with the floor, shoulder blades, legs, contact of the heels and the floor, calves, back of the thighs and the floor, be aware of all parts of the body that are in contact with the floor. Be aware of head and floor contact. Become aware of the whole body that is in contact with the floor.
- Feel that your whole body is becoming very heavy. Awaken a feeling of heaviness in every part of your body. The whole body becomes very heavy, so heavy that it simply sinks into the floor. Become aware of this heaviness.
- Feel the feeling of lightness in your body. The whole body is permeated with a feeling of lightness, as if you are floating above the floor. Feel this weightlessness.
- Now is the time for making a decision (sankalpa). The decision you make is repeated 3 times. Repeat this solution with expression and confidence. Remember that the decision made in yoga nidra will definitely come true.
Be aware of each part of your body in turn.
- While some part of the body is called, your consciousness should go to this part without any physical movement, and your consciousness should move from point to point as quickly as possible.
- Become aware of the right thumb, second finger, third, fourth, little finger, back of hand, palm, wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder, armpit, right side of the chest, right side of the waist, right thigh …
- Become aware of the left thumb, second finger, third, fourth, little finger, back of the hand, palm, wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder, armpit, left side of the chest, left side of the waist, left thigh …
- Be aware of the right big toe, second, third, fourth, little toe, top of the foot, sole, heel, ankle, calf, knee, thigh, right buttock …
- Be aware of the left big toe, second, third, fourth, little toe, top of the foot, sole, heel, ankle, calf, knee, thigh, left buttock …
- Be aware of the right buttock, left buttock, both buttocks, lower back, mid back, upper back, right shoulder blade, left shoulder blade, the entire back of the neck, the entire back of the head, the entire face …
- Be aware of the chin, lower lip, upper lip, right cheek, left cheek, right ear, left ear, nose, right nostril, left nostril, upper nose, right eye, left eye, right eyelid, left eyelid, right eyebrow, left eyebrow , forehead, center between eyebrows. Be aware of the center between the eyebrows …
- You can transfer your attention to all parts of the body several times, as many times as you need for further relaxation.
- Be aware of the whole right leg, the whole left leg, both legs together … Be aware of the whole right arm, the whole left arm, both hands together … Be aware of the whole back of the body, the whole front of the body. Be aware of the whole head … Be aware of the whole body, the whole body as a whole …
- Try to awaken the feeling of coldness in the body. Imagine that you are walking in the snow at night and your feet feel intense cold. Your entire body is freezing. Feel this cold feeling.
- Awaken a feeling of warmth in your body. Recreate the feeling of warmth you feel in summer. Imagine that you are in the sun. Your entire body feels intense warmth. Experience this sensation of warmth.
- Think back to the feeling of pain. Concentrate on her. It can be any type of painful sensation: physical, mental, emotional. Try to awaken this feeling of pain.
- Recreate the feeling of pleasure. Revive it. It can be any kind of pleasure: physical, mental, or emotional. Try to recreate this feeling to the fullest.
- Now turn your attention to natural breathing. Don’t try to change it, just keep track of the whole breathing process. Be aware of every inhalation and exhalation. As you inhale, repeat to yourself: I am aware that I am inhaling. As you exhale, repeat to yourself: I am aware that I am exhaling. Don’t let any breath go unnoticed.
- Having established attention on the breath, at the same time, mentally count all your breaths in and out in the reverse order: I am aware that I am breathing in-54, I am aware that I am breathing-54, I am aware that I am breathing in-53, I am aware that I exhale-53, etc. from 54 to 0. If you interrupt the count, start again from 54. Do not sleep …
- Make sure you are in a state of awareness and awake.
Bring your attention to the third eye area
Stop this practice and bring your awareness to the center between the eyebrows. Concentrate on the space you see in front of your closed eyes. Be aware of the chidakasha and the indefinite space in front of your closed eyes. Concentrate on the darkness of the chidakashi and watch for any phenomenon that appears in it. You can see colors, images or pictures. Whatever you see is a manifestation of your mind.
Now try to imagine yourself walking through the forest early in the morning. The sun has not yet risen. You are walking alone and there is no one around. It is a beautiful forest, calm and peaceful. Tall trees surround you; an atmosphere of freshness and coolness. While driving through the forest, you hear the sounds of dry leaves rustling under your feet, and you feel the pleasant scent of the trees of the moist and mossy forest. Around you are graceful beautiful flowers that seem to dance in the wind. Dew drops sparkle on their petals. Listen to the music of the birds whistling and calling out for a new day, welcoming it.
By chance you saw a rabbit eating grass, or you caught the eye of a fearful young deer. The forest has its own life, and you feel the high and harmonious energy of this forest. There is a small narrow stream nearby. As you cross it, you notice several small fish swimming in the water, a lizard that crawled out of a crevice in the rock, several brightly colored butterflies fluttering gracefully in the air. You are walking among beautiful trees, widely spread trees, tall and austere trees, bare trees, trees with a rich green crown. You see a clearing between the trees, which contains a small temple with an aura of light around it.
As you approach it, you hear the sound of OM emanating from the temple and the divine scent of incense that reaches you with the wind. Approach the temple door and enter. Inside the temple there is coolness and twilight. On the walls are portraits of great saints. The OM sound becomes louder and clearer, and you feel the vibration in your head. The guru seated in the center of the temple, dressed in a robe, recites the mantra OM. His eyes are closed and he is not aware of your presence. Sit on the floor, close your eyes and do not move. Feel the deep peace and harmony that surrounds you as you listen to the sounds of the OM mantra. Listen to these sounds and feel the peace and harmony …
Be aware of your breathing now. Become aware of your natural breathing. Listen to outside sounds. Become aware of all sounds that come from the world around you. Move your attention from sound to sound without trying to somehow identify the source. Don’t categorize sounds as pleasant or unpleasant, just keep track of each sound. Gradually shift your attention away from sounds that come from afar to closer sounds. Listen for sounds coming directly from this room.
Repeat your solution (sankalpa) 3 times with confidence, the same decision you made at the beginning of the practice. Be aware of your entire physical body. Be aware of your entire body lying on the floor as you practice.
Imagine that you are looking at yourself, at your body from above. Look at what you are wearing and what your face expresses. Become aware of your entire body and the points of contact of your body with the floor. Develop awareness of your surroundings. Don’t open your eyes and try to visualize your surroundings. Now move your fingers, toes, and with your eyes closed, slowly sit in a comfortable cross-legged position.
Repeat the OM mantra 3 times, when you are fully aware of the environment, you can open your eyes.
Alternative row of visualizations
There are many variations that can be used in the practice of yoga nidra, for example, you can replace a visualization of a forest or a temple with another set of visualizations.
For example, try to visualize the following as clearly as possible in chidakasha: Clouds in the sky, red clouds, golden clouds, gray clouds, white clouds, birds in flight against the setting sun, vast expanse of the ocean, waves on the ocean surface, large waves, burning candle, Christ figure, night storm, elephant, tiger, deer, horse, very black snake, sunrise, sunset, airplane taking off, high-speed train, red triangle, lotus pond, pink lotus, white lotus, purple dot, silver ray of light, Egyptian pyramids, golden web, river bank, you yourself flying, little golden egg, temple, cross over the church, praying priest, firefly, smoke from the chimney of the old house, golden bird, Krishna playing the flute, dancing gopis, magnificent old tree ringing temple bells,burning incense stick, your transparent body, cool dark forest, canopies from the trees above you, narrow valley of green ferns, damp mossy smell of the forest, seashore before sunrise, seagulls in flight, market filled with people, high mountains covered with snow, sparks from electricity, waterfall, golden sands, deep well, pacified Buddha, standing Christ, singing minstrel, endless ocean, calm and quiet, green jungle on the ocean coast, jungle thickets, old cottage, old rishi sitting respectfully in front of this house, symbol of OM , basket of flowers, red rose, yellow rose, bunch of grapes, ripe mango fruit, cemetery in the night, clock running, deep dark cave, light emanating from the cave, multicolored light, bright twinkling star, crystal rosary, you putting on new clothes , your reflection in the mirror, peacock,spreading tail, playing kittens, two horses fighting among themselves, a divine being playing the harp, waves beating against the shore, stars in the night, waterless desert, sparkling fire, green oasis, full moon, wandering sadhu, crying child, you are in childhood, bright flashes in the sky, the sound of rain drumming on the roof, a candle flame, a sannyasin in meditation, you see your face, a picture, a river flow, children laughing and playing, a lake with calm and clear water, a reflection of the moon in the water.you see your face, a picture, a stream of a river, children laughing and playing, a lake with calm and clear water, a reflection of the moon in the water.you see your face, a picture, a stream of a river, children laughing and playing, a lake with calm and clear water, a reflection of the moon in the water.
For more information on the practice of yoga nidra, you can refer to the publication “Yoga Nidra” by the Bihar School of Yoga.
“When sankalpa and vikalpa are eradicated, there is no more karmic influence, desires and illusions are removed through continuous practice, only then the blissful state of yoga nidra blossoms.”
Secrets of execution technique
The main secret of doing yoga nidra is to achieve a balance between mental and physical condition through complete relaxation. To practice nidra, you need to perform the following simple steps:
- lie on a blanket or yoga mat, get comfortable and take savasana;
- check if this relaxing asana was performed correctly, for this you need to make sure that the arms are freely extended parallel to the body, palms are directed upward, legs are slightly apart;
- the eyes should be closed and not opened until the end of the yoga nidra session.
One of the most important points in yoga nidra is the practice of listening and being aware of what you hear. The fact is that often beginners who decide to devote themselves to this type of yoga simply fall asleep in the classroom, despite the fact that the leader asks them to do it. For this reason, it is important to tune in to listening right before starting the practice and try to set a goal for yourself – not to fall asleep.
Yoga nidra is divided into two options for performing. One of them is related to visualization, the other is not. Both options are designed for different types of perception in people, someone works better through images, for someone it is easier to receive information through words. It must be said that in many ways, the technique of performing yoga nidra resembles the technique of meditation, it consists of certain blocks built in the process of practice in a certain sequence:
- even, calm, deep breathing;
- liberation from evaluation, feelings and sensations;
- visualization that helps to turn off the mind and concentrate on the present moment.
During the rendering stage, you can use your favorite landscapes, which may include the sea, fields, forest, mountains, and even a city. Holding on to these images will help you relax even more.
At the end of the practice, it is necessary to re-focus on the goal that was set before the lesson. It is at this final stage of practice that the set goal penetrates the subconscious and then changes the future.
Similarities and differences from sleep and hypnosis
People who are ignorant of yoga usually associate nidra yoga with hypnosis, due to the fact that both practices introduce a person into a special state. In fact, nidra and hypnosis have some similarities based on relaxation and suggestion, but the purpose of the two practices is different. The most important difference between hypnosis and yoga nidra is that the latter is used for deep lucid sleep, and the state into which a person is immersed during hypnosis is not associated with awareness, moreover, consciousness is blocked during hypnosis.
Impact on energy and emotions
Scientists have long proven the benefits of yoga, thanks to the effect on the body and release from negative emotions, relieving stress, the body is filled with energy and, as a result, increased efficiency, as well as the development of negative emotions, the so-called reset. For the first time this term was applied to yoga by Vladimir Boyko, a yoga trainer, in particular, Nidra Yoga. He associates this practice with emotional release. In addition, Boyko believes, this mechanism is associated with the repression of unpleasant situations that may not be realized, but at the subconscious level, affect the emotions and well-being of a person.
The benefits and effects of meditation practice
This kind of yoga reveals human abilities that he did not know about. Yogic sleep improves nighttime rest and cognitive function of practitioners. However, it cannot be called recreation in the classical sense, as, for example, when a person comes after a working day and tries to relieve fatigue with the help of external factors: TV, books, tea, food.
For physical health
Throughout life, a person experiences and accumulates stress, due to which stress and disease arise, which can lead to problems with the nervous, cardiovascular and endocrine systems. A tense and irritated mind can also affect the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in problems with the functioning of the whole organism.
Practicing yoga nidra and the relaxation that occurs during the practice helps to get rid of muscle tension, achieve balance, stay young and in good physical shape, and besides, they can prevent diseases.
Yoga nidra is called mental sleep, because the technique allows a person to reach the subconscious and remove the clamps that prevent him from being in harmony with himself. Practitioners claim that the results obtained with yoga nidra are long lasting. In addition, the transformation process is faster than, for example, using the techniques used for the same tasks in psychology.
The problem is that people don’t know how to relax. Night rest is not complete and does not give an effect, because, going to bed, a person is not relieved of muscle, mental and emotional stress, experiencing daytime stresses. As a result, he wakes up tired in the morning.
Yoga nidra can fix this, because it offers complete relaxation, immersion into the depth of the psyche and, most importantly, distraction from external problems.
Women are sensitive, emotional, and susceptible to stress. It is not easy for them to maintain and replenish the lost energy. However, practice allows you to connect with the sensory principle at the subconscious level, release from tension, gain new knowledge and open up to changes in life. In terms of health, yoga nidra helps to establish hormonal levels.
This kind of yoga works with emotional tensions and energy imbalances. Modern man is in diametric states: happiness – unhappiness, wealth – poverty, love – hate, which in itself leads to stress. At the same time, he does not know how to properly work with his emotions, restrains them and does not allow them to be discharged, which aggravates the situation.
Yoga nidra can remove emotional clamps, release negative energy, let in positive energy instead, and give a start to spiritual renewal, growth, and rebirth.
The first studies were carried out by specialists from one of the clinics in the state of Kansas, USA in the 70s. Then the yogi Swami Rama became the object of study. Using an electroencephalograph, a group of scientists recorded the work of the brain during yoga and night rest. The results showed that in all phases of sleep the yogi was conscious and after that he could describe his feelings in detail. Thus, it turned out that the integration of consciousness, subconsciousness and unconsciousness is possible.
The results of yet another trial were published in the scientific journal Cognitive Brain Research. It turned out that with systematic exercises, practitioners produced one of the hormones of happiness – dopamine, which has a good effect on blood circulation, digestion and general well-being of a person.
How is it going?
A session lasts 30, and sometimes even 60 minutes, always under the guidance of an instructor.
Sometimes a complex of asanas is performed before yoga nidra, because it is difficult for a modern person to immediately relax, first you need to get tired properly.
The participants of the session lie down in shavasana, in the most comfortable position that allows them to remain motionless throughout the practice.
Work takes place on the verge of sleep and wakefulness.
It is best if the practitioner’s consciousness works intermittently (fell asleep – woke up – fell asleep – woke up). In this state, the line between consciousness and subconsciousness is most subtle and permeable, and impressions (samskaras) repressed into the subconsciousness easily penetrate into consciousness.
Samskaras are deep imprints of life experience, “stored” in our mind. During yoga nidra, samskaras begin to “float” to the surface, reflecting on the “inner screen” (chidakasha) in front of closed eyes in the form of various images that a person should simply observe and try not to react to them emotionally.
Then the samskara dissolves and leaves the mind.
This is the psychotherapeutic effect of yoga nidra: we get rid of the negative experience, repressed into the subconscious.
Perhaps you will not see anything on the chidakasha, this is normal. The result will still be.
Yoga nidra for working with intentions
In addition to observing images in yoga nidra, the so-called “formula of firm determination” is used – sankalpa.
It is believed that in a hypnagogic state (on the verge of sleep and reality), self-hypnosis works most effectively; a person programs himself to achieve a goal.
Sankalpa is recited three times, at the beginning and end of the practice. It can be any desire, but it should not be directed to the detriment of anyone.
It is better to formulate the intention without the “not” particle and as if it has already been fulfilled: “I am a great designer,” “I am fully aware of myself,” “I have a wonderful husband / wife,” etc. Sankalpa should be recited to oneself, with conviction and sincerity.
Here Swami Satyananda uses a tantric approach: desires are better to satisfy than to suppress – otherwise they will still “get stuck” in the subconscious and will poison our lives.
Why focus on body and images?
Also during yoga nidra, nyasa is used – concentration of attention on the points of the body, which the instructor calls.
The order of passage is approximately the same, Satyananda established it through trial and error.
Nyasa promotes deeper relaxation of the mind and entry into a hypnagogic state.
Even in yoga nidra, various visualizations are used, they help get rid of samskaras.
Visualizations can be very different – from individual images to coherent plots.
Here is a real-life example: during a session, the instructor asked to imagine the first snow, and one of the participants began to tremble throughout her body. It turned out that as a child she was attacked and robbed – just on the day when the first snow began to fall. The negative emotions associated with that event were pushed into the subconscious, and during yoga nidra they came out. She relived this experience and “let go” of it, freeing herself from negative impressions.
Attention! Contraindications for practice: epilepsy and serious mental disorders.
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