Yoga has won over millions of people worldwide thanks to its profound benefits in developing and maintaining good health. Yoga postures and meditation are immensely popular among the masses. But fewer people are familiar with the concept of Yoga Nidra, an essential part of Yoga.
Let us get acquainted with Yoga Nidra, how to perform it, and its utility in our day-to-day living.
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What Is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra or ‘Yogic sleep is a state of total consciousness during which a person lies down, allowing their mind and body to relax most effectively. Yoga Nidra is a guided technique aimed at cleansing the mind and detoxifying it of all mental stress.
One can compare Yogic Sleep to charging the laptop or iPad while working on it. During Yogic Sleep, your body and mind are completely relaxed but aware of the surroundings. The step-by-step instructions you receive during Yoga Nidra allow you to awaken the subconscious state of mind.
Yoga Nidra has the same benefits as meditation, but the former is easy and even more relaxing than the latter. Detox drinks, body massages, exercises, steam, and sauna are effective measures for eliminating the toxic built-up from your body tissues. Yogic Sleep has a similar detoxifying action on your mind that enables you to rejuvenate it. An idea session of Yoga Nidra should be at least 20 minutes long and must be performed under professional guidance.
Steps Of Yoga Nidra
Anybody who has participated in treasure hunt activities knows that it involves cracking a series of clues before you locate and unlock the main treasure of the game. Yogic Sleep is a similar step-by-step process to tap and unlock various layers of your mind and release the pent-up negative energies that burden your mind. Each step of Yogic Sleep is crucial and gets you closer to your subconscious and unconscious mind.
- Initial Relaxation: The first step of Yoga Nidra is preparing the body and mind to undergo systematic relaxation and open channels for the free flow of thoughts and energy. One must lie down on their back in a relaxed position with their limbs resting in a neutral position. Keeping the eyes closed offers the best possible relaxation necessary during Yogic Sleep. Your instructor will ask you to gradually relax your mind and body while focusing on being aware of yourself and your surroundings.
- Intention: After you prepare your mind and body to undergo systematic relaxation, you must decide your purpose for Yoga Nidra. Look within your mind, soul, and heart, and find out what you yearn for the most. Focus on your deepest, most sincere desire and repeat it mentally over and over as your mind and body relax. The state of intention or Sankalpa gives a sense of purpose to the human mind, strengthens the mental resolve, and reinstills all faith and belief in oneself.
- Rotation Of Consciousness: When we are awake and going about our daily routine, our mind is fully conscious and knows what it is doing. However, we remain unaware of our subconscious and unconscious minds, which restrictsour thoughts. The third step helps us to become aware of every part of our mind and body by focusing on them individually. You may experience a comforting warmth coursing through your body as you practice rotation of consciousness. Follow the instructions thoroughly to rotate the consciousness through your entire body. The third stage of Yogic Sleep is very relaxing.
- Awareness: During the awareness stage, your instructor will ask you to focus on your breathing patterns and regulate them. You may count your breaths, check how deeply you can breathe or focus on your breathing actions. The fourth step of Yogic sleep will awaken the dormant energies within your body and stimulate your sensory abilities.
- Perception: The fifth stage of Yogic Sleep activates the emotional plane of your mind. Your instructor will guide you to experience a flow of emotions without being judgemental or oversensitive about it. The perception stage stimulates both hemispheres of the human brain and allows free flow of contrasting emotions. The fifth stage of Yoga Nidra allows the human brain and mind to develop stronger willpower.
- Visualization: Visualization is comparable to a screening process to retain only the best and let go of the sub-standard. During the sixth stage, one needs to create mental pictures of their memories. The process may stir up unpleasant memories you do not want to remember. Yogic Sleep assists in healthily dealing with such memories instead of suppressing them.
- Resolve: The seventh and second steps of Yoga Nidra are quite similar. During the second step, the mind makes a resolve to achieve the desires closest to itself. By the seventh step, the mind is stimulated enough to achieve its ambitions. So one must remind themselves of their resolve once more to strengthen it and to work towards achieving it.
- Externalization: Yoga Nidra is an immensely relaxing experience that may temporarily make you forget your surroundings. Opening your eyes, getting up, and getting about with your routine suddenly after a session of Yoga Nidra may be a disorienting experience. Your instructor will guide you by making you aware of your body, mind, breath, surroundings, and those around you. Be very gentle when you open your eyes and get into a sitting position after completing Yoga Nidra.
Feeling irritated and groggy after being woken up mid-sleep is perfectly normal. But it will leave you feeling fresh and energetic rather than sleepy. Be regular with your practice of Yogic Sleep to experience its benefits.
It can take 20-60 minutes to complete a single session of Yoga Nidra. Do not rush through its session to catch up with your work. Yoga experts encourage people to practice it close to their bedtime. It is perfectly acceptable to fall asleep midway during your Yoga Nidra practice.
Health Benefits Of Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is a very subtle and delicate process of stimulating the various layers of the human mind. But the simple guided technique opens doors to several physical and mental health benefits.
- Stress Relief: Yoga Nidra is a state of complete relaxation of the mind and unraveling of various complex emotions that the experiences. It brings about mental calm and soothes agitated nerves and brain cells. While Yoga Nidra cannot eliminate all stress, it enables people to handle stressful situations healthily.
- Anxiolytic Effect: Anxiety and restlessness of the mind can have a negative impact on one’s physical and mental health. Practice Yoga Nidra regularly to experience its beneficial effects in reducing anxiety. It allows people to manage their emotions well and channels any negativity away from the mind and body. People who practice Yoga Nidra are likely to manage their anxiety healthily.
- Enhanced Mental Focus: The human mind wavers easily and can get distracted from its object of focus. Yoga Nidra activates dormant energies that strengthen your mind, allowing it to concentrate better. It trains the mind to control its emotions and channel them towards a more fruitful outcome. Stressed students dealing with pressure for academic success greatly benefit from Yoga Nidra.
- Improved Sleep Patterns: We often tend to sleep over our troubles in hopes that we will get away from them. However, sleep will only give you a momentary break before your worries take over again. Yoga Nidra allows the free flow of thoughts and makes managing negative emotions easier. Yoga Nidra is very effective in healing troubled sleep patterns and insomnia.
It is a very moving experience for many people as it may cause complex emotions to resurface. Yoga instructors encourage people to face their emotions and thoughts rather than suppressing them during It. Yoga Nidra is more relaxing than meditation as one has to lie down to practice the technique. There is little chance of going wrong during Yogic Nindra since you will get constant instructions from an expert.
Yoga Nidra can be part of the daily Yoga routine or performed separately during bedtime to allow complete relaxation of the mind and body.