Yoga Nidra, the conscious sleep, is a Pratyahara technique, a bridge between Yogasana and RajaYoga. Do try an English session by clicking here.
Yoga Nidra is a systematic method that promotes deep physical, mental and emotional relaxation. Nidra means conscious sleep, a state of relaxation in which the inner consciousness is constantly awake.
Learning to deeply relax is difficult because it requires a lot of awareness, and one has to know how to let oneself go. It is the most significant step to achieve due to the profound effects it has on our entire psychophysical system. It is in the state of deep relaxation that we perceive and receive the benefits of yoga practice on all levels, from physical to mental and spiritual.
In our day-to-day lives, we seek out and accept what we like, and reject what we dislike, causes fear, or makes us uncomfortable. We want to meet the expectations of others; we set a very high bar for ourselves trying to create the image we have or would like to have of ourselves. We rarely realize that all our frustrations and setbacks are caused by our failure to meet expectations. These disappointments leave their marks on our bodies in the form of tension, unconscious muscle contractions, and discomfort of various kinds.
It is only when these issues become somatized and manifest into physical pain that we become aware of them.
Thanks to this technique and meditation, we learn to totally disidentify ourselves with what we have, with our image, with our role in society, in the professional and family field, as well as nationality, religion, education, etc. We react to all of these identifications by closing ourselves off. Others do not always agree with our ideas, and we can never satisfy everyone, or be liked and accepted by everyone else.
In such a situation, our egos suffer, and our identification with our personalities causes us pain. The more interests we have, the more feelings we have, and the greater the number of stressful reactions to which we are subjected. For all this, it is critical to learn to relax.
Although we may not be interested in the search for our inner Being, we can still enjoy these yogic relaxation techniques that relieve tensions and contractions, at the same time distancing us from their causes – rebalancing ourselves. During this practice, muscle contractions are much looser than when we sleep.
When the relaxation is prolonged, a true disconnection is created between the central nervous system and the muscular apparatus which is freed from the interference of consciousness. As a result, the internal organs are relaxed, the circulation of blood is improved, the physiological functions are improved, and the body is able to revitalize itself and function better.
The mind needs to get away from the hectic daily rhythm to reprogram itself positively. We have to remember that it is from the consciousness that energy, mind, and physical bodies are created. Everything starts from within – each of our problems, challenges, illnesses, or obstacles begins in our inner consciousness. Yogic relaxation is an antidote to the culture of eagerness. By training concentration, eliminating physical tension, and calming the mind and emotions universe, we finally get to experience true inner peace.
Through the practice of Yoga Nidra, the mind is purified of all stored toxic material that arises as “mental chatter” (memories, guesswork, speculations, fantasies, etc.) and one learns to deal with that conflicting material without identifying with it, and thus learns to understand its nature and transcend it.
The most admirable thing about Yoga Nidra is that it transforms and develops the individual in a peaceful and simple way, by relaxing all the body-mind structures. The nature of the mind changes, the body’s self-healing ability is stimulated, discomforts such as insomnia, nervous tension, inability to make clear decisions, and deepest fears disappear, and creative genius is restored.
This practice is done lying on the back and there is no requirement for any level.
Relaxation is the path that leads to infinity, Paramahansa Yogananda