There are many practices in yoga that help us relax and gain true awareness of our body and mind. In fact, the practice of yoga is all about letting go of control and gaining full consciousness of our body. It is about becoming aware of our place in the universe. For example, meditation is one of the main techniques that help in this process. But there are many different meditation methods too. Each represents a different means to the same end. One of them is Yoga Nidra.
What is Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra, sleep meditation, or yogic sleep is a guided meditation technique that is the practice of holding your consciousness in the bridge between waking and sleeping. It is almost a hypnotic technique of self-exploration and restoration. It is a means of putting your body and conscious mind on the sidelines to access your subconscious and unconscious mind. The process of Yoga Nidra is misleadingly easy: you have to be in Savasana from the start to the end. In contrast, the potential of this method in healing and making you conscious of every minute detail about yourself is infinite. And the best thing about it is that you do not need years of practice to master the technique. Therefore, you can start doing it from the get-go. You will become aware of its benefits even from the very first session.
Steps of Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra meditation can be a very powerful technique. But it must be done the right way for it. That is why most people will opt for Yoga Nidra guided meditation instead of doing it on their own. But once you have mastered it, it is easy to guide yourself through the steps. Here are the eight important steps to do Yoga Nidra.
Relaxation is extremely important in Yoga Nidra. Both the body and mind must be in a relaxed state. Choose a comfortable environment so that there is nothing major to pull the attention of the body away. The Yoga Nidra relaxation of the mind is more about the internalization of the senses. For this, you need to open up your mind to every external stimulus without judgment. This will gradually make our mind immune to these signals and make it withdraw completely.
Sankalpa means to resolve or purpose. Since Yoga Nidra has a restorative or explorative purpose, there is some resolution that we would be wanting to take. For example, we might be wanting to free and heal ourselves of some pain or search for a good motive within us. This step helps us do that. We fail in most resolutions as they are rooted in our volatile conscious mind. Through Yoga Nidra, we want to permanently fix them in our firmer subconscious or unconscious mind. Iterating our Sankalpa or resolution in short positive statements right, in the beginning, is a way of reminding ourselves why we are doing this.
3. Body Awareness
Yoga Nidra requires the rotation of awareness around our body on the basis of the motor homunculus. This term refers to a map of the sensory-motor complex of the entire body on our brain in proportion to the density of neurons in that part. Greater the density, the higher the time allotted to be aware of that body part. The sequence of awareness, according to Nyasa kriya, will help in the withdrawal of senses from the entire body, part by part.
4. Breath Awareness
This step transfers our awareness from the physical body to the subtle body. By slowing down and deepening our breaths, we become more aware of the flow of prana through our bodies. This step is also important in maintaining the half-conscious state. If we are unable to connect to our internal consciousness and energy flow, we will fall asleep.
5. Sensational Equilibration
At this stage, the person will have to make their consciousness aware of opposing or polarizing sensations in quick succession. For example, one must experience pain to pleasure, heat to cold, heaviness to lightness, each feeling one after the other. This helps break the biased programming of our brain due to years of conditioning. As a result, it opens us up to new possibilities, making it easier to achieve our Sankalpa. Think of it as an act of emptying your cup to make way for more learning.
Visualization is the processing of accessing the innermost impressions of your subconscious and unconscious mind. It helps us come to terms with our true desires, feelings, and thoughts. As a result, it helps to push us along the way to healing and achieving our true aim in life.
Once we have access to our subconscious and unconscious mind, it is time to plant our resolution here. Doing this makes us more determined and less fickle-minded in our motto and gives us greater power to achieve it.
8. Regaining Consciousness
The last step is about bringing our consciousness back to the real world. This should be done slowly without any abruptness or interruption. Once your senses have externalized again, the session is complete.
Choose a School That Teaches Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is a highly beneficial technique to achieve awareness of your body and mind. It helps you deal with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem issues. The best part is that you can achieve Yoga Nidra benefits even before becoming a yoga expert. Many will face the issue of falling asleep in the beginning. But with practice and the right guidance, you will master it easily. Trataka Yoga School is well-known for helping its students through Yoga Nidra alongside their yoga training.