“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.”
- Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Yoga Nidra is a state of consciousness between sleeping and being awake. Our bodies go through this natural state before we fall asleep at night and when we wake up in the morning. This is known as Hypnagogic state which is a source of creativity and bliss, our innate nature. A common example of this is when we sleep with a problem in mind and wake up with fresh perspective or realisation. Hence the old saying, “Sleep on it.”
We function predominantly with our conscious mind when we are awake and active. But, the conscious mind is only the tip of the iceberg, and 85–90% of our mind comprises of the subconscious and unconscious. This unexplored part of the human psyche holds our memories, beliefs, emotions, fears, patterns and trauma. Yoga Nidra helps access these realms and get a better understanding of ourselves, release suppressed emotions/memories, change vicious patterns, envision constructive goals and awaken our true potential.
Most of the understanding about yoga today comes from postures & breathing exercises. But, that is just a starting point where we work on our body, breath and energy to move on to higher practices such as meditation by stilling thoughts in the mind. Yoga Nidra is a wonderful gateway for that as it helps in relaxation, healing, & cognition, as that is a conducive state to actual absorption in meditation.
Yoga Nidra is a practice of Pratyahara, which in Sanskrit means withdrawal of senses. This is a growing need in our fast-paced lifestyles with social media, emails, deadlines, traffic, constant information & sensory overload. One can find all answers in moments of silence and it is essential to disconnect from the outside world to truly connect within.
Yoga Nidra is used as a key component in therapy. It helps with insomnia, anxiety, psychosomatic disorders, pain management, addiction, cancer & more. It also helps in harnessing creativity, memory & concentration. Everyone in the modern world can benefit from this ancient practice as it works on a physical, psychological & spiritual level. Children, students, corporate professionals, entrepreneurs, sportspersons, creative artists, homemakers, yoga practitioners, & senior citizens… There is something for everyone in this beautiful practice.
So, join me on a 15 minute journey into the beautiful world of Yoga Nidra. One can practice this after asanas or as a mid-day recharge (on a relatively empty stomach). Do strive for consistency and enjoy the experience :)