Do you know that you can acquire the nourishing, restoring and rejuvenating effects of a wonderful nights sleep without actually going to bed. Of course sleep is paramount to a healthy mind and soul. I'm talking about a different kind of sleep. Yoga Nidra - sleep.
This is what Yoga Nidra can create for one. It transmutes a state of what I call surface sleeping. Their is no instruction to maintain concentration, or control of your faculties. Your awareness can drift in and out of consciousness perhaps finding yourself resting on the edge of consciousness, or maybe drifting into the sublime state of physical and mental deep relaxation, or even the unconscious, sleep!
Sanskrit term Yoga Nidra translates as sleep and even though one may appear to be asleep the consciousness is actually ascended to function at a deeper level of inner awareness. A psychic sleep.
‘In yoga nidra, the state of relaxation is reached by turning inwards, away from outer experiences. If the consciousness can be separated from external awareness and from sleep, it becomes very powerful and can be applied in many ways, for example, to develop the memory, increase knowledge and creativity, or transform one’s nature.
In the Raja yoga of Patanjali there is a state called pratyahara where the mind and mental awareness are disassociated from the sensory channels. Yoga nidra is one aspect of pratyahara which leads to the higher states of concentration and samadhi.’ - Yoga Nidra, Yoga Publications Trust, Bihar
Instruction for Yoga Nidra practice involves listening to a specific script for the direct purpose of yoga nidra. There are many intentions that can be explored through various transcriptions that focus on such things like addressing/improving specific health, aligning & healing chakras, awakening creativity, removing stress & tension from the body-mind.
Yoga Nidra is best practised in Savasana pose as it is most conducive to relaxation and can be adapted to suit many physical needs and requirements. Yoga Nidra is a simple practice that can be as short as 10 minutes or up to an hour and is accessible to all levels of experience.
Yoga Nidra - The Blissful Relaxation
Most people sleep without resolving their tensions,
This is termed nidra.
Nidra means sleep, no matter what or why,
But yoga nidra means sleep after throwing off the burdens,
It is of a blissful, higher quality altogether.
When awareness is separate and distinct from the vrittis,
When waking, dream and deep sleep pass like clouds,
Yet awareness of alma remains
This is the experience of total relaxation.
Relaxation does not mean sleep,
Relaxation means to be blissfully happy,
It has no end.
I call bliss absolute relaxation;
Sleep is a different matter.
Sleep gives only the mind and sense relaxation.
Bliss relaxes the atom, the inner self;
That is why, in tantra,
Yoga nidra is the doorway to samadhi.
- Swami Satyananda Saraswati
/ˈsnrːt(ə)l/ : the sound one makes as you catch yourself falling asleep; snorey sound emanating from pharynx. They happen often to all of us at one time or another on the mat. I see them as a cute sign that I’m doing my job well.