Yoga Nidra is a technique of self exploration of inner growth through deep relaxation. This powerful practice, guides you deep into your unconscious and allows you to process deep unresolved tension and emotions. A typical Yoga Nidra session contains a few steps: Preparation, Body Awareness, Sankalpa, and Breath Awareness.
The practice of Yoga Nidra relaxes us, but in order to practice Yoga Nidra, we must also be relaxed. Limiting caffeine, and stimulants prior to practice is recommended. The moment we do become relaxed their are two paths. The first is sleep, and the second is meditation. The two really aren’t much different, Yoga Nidra is not sleep, but conscious sleeping. When we become relaxed, we are able increase our awareness, and become aware of many deep rooted emotions. Many emotions possibly stored in our unconscious, that we can gently bring to the surface.
Body awareness is typically one of the first steps in the practice. We are guided through a body scan to ground ourselves, and build awareness. So much tension we absorb through our lives is stored in the gross physical body, and a body scan allows us to become aware of this tension. We become sensitive to this pain, and as we progress through yoga nidra and our spiritual practice, we become more sensitive to the baggage we hold in us. With practice we draw out these old sanskaras. Each time we are tearing apart layers, identifications, and learning to surrender.
When we do surrender, we drop the act of control. Instead of seeking to “control” the mind, we surrender and become friendly with it. This type of surrender is internal and a sign of mental strength. When you surrender, acknowledge your sanskaras, only then are we able to come out of these burdens.
We are constantly absorbing tension throughout the day. For example, we are walking down the street and a car flies by too fast, we get angry and typically bottle that tension up. We must take time every day to empty out this tension in our body. Yoga Nidra allows us to do this. Sunil Sharma relates this to taking out the trash. If we don’t make a habit of taking out the trash, then the bin fills up and starts to overflow. Same thing occurs in us. We must take time each day to empty ourselves. Many times, there is no need to be overly analytical over this, just as you don’t typically look at every piece of trash you throw out, but dump it and move on.
Visualizations can be a very powerful practice to empty negative tension as well. Our eyes are constantly taking in mental pictures throughout the day. Through practice, we learn to dis-identify from situations. Chanting of OM can be helpful with this. When we take the 2-3 second pause between chants, we are preparing ourselves to be more reflective than reactive in our actions.
Acknowledging or finding your Sankalpa is another area of the Yoga Nidra practice. Sankalpa can be difficult to explain, but is your will, resolve or lifes purpose. This is the seed of our transformation. This seed has been there all along, but we must dig deep into ourselves to bring it up. Through practice, we dig deep into the ground, go past all that is not needed, eventually our Sankalpa will flower and flourish.
Through these practices, deep internal healing can occur. Yoga Nidra is a very powerful technique that allows us to become more sensitive, aware, and rejuvenate the mind and body. Yoga Nidra has been gaining in popularity in recent years due to the positive effects from practice.