Yoga Nidra is a state of conscious sleeping and is considered as a meditation technique. Individuals experience complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation. A powerful and important practice of Self inquiry within the ancient science of yoga, it has been developed and refined for the last 3000 years. Yoga Nidra is given to us as a gift for our healing and evolution now.
Although ‘nidra’ means sleep, it is more like the waking up from the sleep of our consciousness, into fully integrated beings. It helps us examine our beliefs and become familiar with the witness consciousness. We awaken to our true nature which is eternal and infinite.
Yoga Nidra is an ancient practice of relaxation that is intended to slow down the brain. This practice dates back to 1000BC through verbal teaching of Sankhya philosophy.
Sankhya philosophy taught that there was separation between the observer and that being observed such as thoughts, objects, feelings and other beings. This philosophy taught that the key to happiness was to become aware of the distinction between the self and things outside the self.
Yoga Nidra is helpful in lowering blood pressure and slowing heart rate, and releasing tension and stress. It is a healing form of meditation that invites serenity, peace and joy into the mind and body. It takes the mind to a place between sleep and wakefulness and is said to be even more restful than 8 hours of sleep when practiced regularly.
Other benefits may include:
- Faster learning
- Memory improvement
- Improved brain function
- Release of trauma and spiritual development.
One awesome gift of Yoga Nidra is the purification of the emotional and mental levels. As we go deep into relaxation in the emotional and mental “sheaths” of our being through the Yoga Nidra practices, we “forget” to continue to hold down the old pains and repressed emotions. They may bubble to the surface and are released in an easy and pain free way. What a delight when we find ourselves lighter and more at peace each time.
Yogis acknowledge that we are multi-layered beings. In yoga nidra all layers are relaxed, explored, healed, and integrated.
The body remains still in a sort of sleeping state, but the mind is fully aware. No sleeping. Practice is done in reclined position; with eye pillows, blankets (body temperature drops) and other props for complete comfort and warmth to allow the surrender of the mind and body. The meditation is led by an instructor for 30 to 45 minutes.
You may notice thoughts floating in and out of consciousness. No problem, this is totally normal. It’s a wonderful opportunity to practice awareness of thoughts.
May we continue to drink deeply from the treasure of Blessings that is Yoga.
Rosa O’Connor is a 200 hr registered yoga teacher. Her intension is to help the student tap into the physical, mental and emotional realm of the being. Modifications are offered to compliment different body types and needs for all ages of practitioner.