What is Yoga Nidra?
Known also as “yogic sleep” is a state of consciousness between being asleep and being awake. Reminiscent of that stage just before you fall asleep, in which you feel your body is completely relaxed. The state of consciousness associated with yoga nidra differs from the usual meditation method, in which concentration on a single focus is required.
It is also seen as a form of lucid sleep, for when it is practised correctly, you achieve the deepest state of relaxation while maintaining full consciousness. When you enter lucid sleep, you are totally disconnected from the external world, but are able to remain in control in your dream state.
How do I practise Yoga Nidra?
To achieve this deep state of relaxation, yoga nidra requires a guided meditation. When you practise this kind of yoga for the first couple of times it can be hard to let every single one of your thoughts go, which is why listening to the guided meditation is so important.
The audio instructions allow you to become systematically and increasingly aware of the inner world. All your senses become internalised and only your hearing connects to the instructions, the external world.
What are the benefits of Yoga Nidra meditation?
There are a ton of benefits that come from practising yoga nidra meditation; it has been found to reduce tension in the body and high anxiety. There are immediate reductions in headache, chest pain, abdominal pain, palpitations and restlessness.
It’s also known to have done wonders for those who deal with insomnia, as an hour of yoga nidra meditation is equal to three hours sleep, and doesn’t leave you feeling groggy afterwards! It’s also known to treat those, particularly with soldiers, who deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Where did Yoga Nidra originate?
Yoga nidra is an ancient concept, originating in Indian traditions associated with Hinduism and Buddhism. It is thought that Krishna is affiliated with yoga nidra in the epic Mahabharata. The epic narrative following the Kurukshetra War, and contains philosophical and devotional material. Including the discussion of the purusharthas, the “four goals of life”.
Over time, many yogis and gurus have experience yoga nidra. It was Satyananda Saraswati who while living with a guru in Rishikesh, began studying the tantric scriptures, and with practise was able to construct a method to access this deep state of relaxation. The practise itself began popular in the mid-2oth Century and has continued to be popular up until today!
What do I need to start?
All you need a comfy space, yoga nidra meditation and practise! Make sure you have a quiet space and a dedicated amount of time. It can be hard to get into the swing of yoga nidra if you’re not accustomed to meditated, and it’s normal if you fall asleep the first time as your body will be completely relaxed. That’s why the guided meditation works wonders because it keeps your brain focused!
There you have it guys, you now know what is yoga nidra and a few simple steps on how to start trying it out!