"Yoga Nidra is the yoga of aware sleep. In this lies the secret of self healing. Yoga Nidra is a Pratyahara technique in which the distractions of the mind are contained and the mind is relaxed."
Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Yoga Nidra, loosely translated as yogic sleep, is a powerful technique which is derived from tantras, offers your body and mind deep relaxation. It is a state of semi-consciousness where you stay between being awake or asleep, though fully do not belong to neither. In Modern psychology this state is called “the hypnotic state”. This method introduces complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation as the consciousness is functioning on a very deep level. The state of relaxation is reached by internalising the awareness, shifting away from external stimuli and experiences. Yoga Nidra can be as restorative as 4 hours of deep sleep, since it offers a profound calming effect to the mind.
Yoga Nidra is one aspect of Pratyahara (withdrawal or sensory transcendence), in which the mental awareness is withdrawn from external sensory channels. Yoga Nidra assists in achieving the higher states of concentration and eventually Samadhi (a profound connection with the Divine.)
There are many benefits of Yoga Nidra, most of them coming from that supreme internal tranquility and peace that helps the body to reach homeostasis (the state of the body of natural equilibrium). The technique is being used in the management of diseases of all kinds as it is being recognized by medical doctors, psychologists and healers worldwide. Continuous research demonstrates use of Yoga Nidra in relieving acute and chronic conditions, especially stress - related and degenerative ones. It successfully treats psychological disorders, insomnia, drug and alcohol addictions, just to name a few.
Yoga Nidra is being practiced as a preventive technique by healthy individuals as well.
Let’s look closely at some of the benefits of Yoga Nidra.
Reduces Stress and Improves Cognitive Functions
Regular practice improves sleep routines by making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. The meditation of Yoga Nidra guides you through a relaxation process that triggers a balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which helps to relieve stress as you wind down. A recent study showed that while meditation and Yoga Nidra were both effective in reducing anxiety and stress, Yoga Nidra seemed to be more effective in reducing anxiety. The study also suggested that Yoga Nidra can be a useful tool in reducing both cognitive and physiological symptoms of anxiety.
Improves Focus and Concentration
Yoga Nidra can be used for stress management to help you filter out random thoughts that emerge in the conscious mind. It’s a practice to stay focused on the instructions of the teacher and move the awareness to the different body parts and sensations.Those who practice Yoga Nidra on a regular basis have also found an improvement in their memory. It helps prevent cognitive decline related to aging and improves attention.
Reveals Answers to all Problems
The intuitions received during Yoga Nidra Practice helps to find the answers to all questions and problems within. This state is the greatest source of creativity and scientific discoveries. True nature and integrity manifests in the relaxed “hypnotic” state of mind, which promotes meaningful and peaceful life in any environment. It opens the door to the “third eye” and takes the consciousness beyond the conditions of personality, tensions and complexes. The entire being is infused with divine consciousness and leads to the state of detached observance of mind and body.
Releases Chronic Pains and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Treatment of chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the many benefits of Yoga Nidra. It helps to reduce inflammation and improve immune system functions to treat chronic pain effectively. Muscular tensions are closely connected to the nervous and endocrine systems, and all imbalances within. Inability to recognise and express emotions creates repression and eventually more tension in the physical body. Through the deep physical and mental relaxation all that imbalances are easily being removed.
Boosts Working Memory
Working memory allows us to work with information without losing track of what we’re doing. It helps our brain to organize new information for long-term storage. When people have trouble with working memory, the brain creates chaos and confusion by keeping the information in a disorganised way.
The Secret of Transformation
Sankalpa. The most important and transformational ingredient of Yoga Nidra is Sankalpa. The Sankalpa that is used during the practice always manifests in life!
Sankalpa is translated as Resolve, Resolution or Intent. It is a powerful tool to modify and reconstruct your personality and life in general. As long as you know what you wish to achieve, the use of Sankalpa will help to achieve your goals.
Sankalpa is a short statement that influences the subconscious mind while being in a very sensitive and receptive mode. In order for Sankalpa to work it has to be planted with determination and strong feelings.You have to believe in it!
Sankalpa is a powerful tool, therefore it should be used wisely. The point of Sankalpa is to influence and transform the entire life pattern. When you use Sankalpa as a driving force, everything in life falls into the right places like pieces of a puzzle that is ever changing and transforming. It is recommended to start implementing the Sankalpa only when you come to a real understanding of the meaning and purpose of it.