YOGA NIDRA

The literal meaning of yoga nidra is the state of dynamic sleep. The term yoga nidra is derived from two Sanskrit words, ‘Yoga’ meaning ‘union’ and ‘nidra’ mening sleep. The term should not be correlated with the relaxation of body during sleep. It is a powerful technique in which a person learns to relax consciously.

In the “Raj-yoga” of Patanjali there is a state called pratihara where the mind and mental awareness are dissociated from the sensory channels. Thus yoga nidra is a part of pratihara in which a person withdraws his senses deep within, detaching one self from the external world.

In yoga nidra the person appears to be asleep but really he is awake at a deeper level. This is why it is called ‘phychic-sleep’.

The birth of ‘yoga-nidra’ was brought about by Swami Satya Nand Saraswati by his own experiences. Yoga nidra is rotation of mind and body parts. During this nidra you appear asleep but you are awaken deep within and experiencing the presence of different parts of your body.

Yoga nidra improves brain power, memory and other faculties of the central nervous system. It is a powerful technique to get rid of many diseases of the body, especially insomnia. It clams down the mind, brings harmony between body and soul. Hence it is very important technique in this tension full world. For the last twenty five years I have been experimenting with people suffering from various diseases especially students who are very naughty and difficult to manage. The results have been very positive. The students improved their academic record and developed a positive attitude. My experiment told me that if yoga nidra could be adopted in every school, it would bring discipline among the students and help the staff and the parents to ward off their physical and mental diseases.

I give a short description of yoga nidra which I have learnt from Swami Satya Nand Saraswati, Yoga guru from Munger (Bihar).

Let us get ready for yoga nidra. Switch off the light, lie on a blanket in ‘shavasana’. Keep your body straight, legs one and a half feet apart, arms a little away from your body, palms of the hands turned up fingers pointing upward. Adjust your body in such a way that you remain comfortable throughout the practice. There should not be any movement of the body throughout the practice of yoga nidra. Keep yours eyes closed, take a deep breath and as you breath out imagine that worries and tension of the day are flowing out of you. During this yoga nidra you are going to relax your whole body. Try to keep yourself completely awake. This is very important. Make a resolution now that you will not sleep; you will keep awake throughout the practice. During the entire practice you are going to listen to the instructor and follow his voice and will try to be calm and steady.

Now try to give your attention to the inner awareness from head to toes and toes to head and mentally repeat the mantra ‘Om’. Complete stillness, will bring complete awareness, say to yourself I am going to practice yoga nidra, I am totally aware and totally refreshed. Repeat the mantra ‘Om’. The practice of yoga nidra begins now.

Take the resolution that you are going to be healthy, wealthy and happy. Repeat this resolve thrice mentally with awareness. This resolve that you make is going to be true as you go along your life.

Now you are going to make rotation of consciousness by becoming aware of every part of your body. Just try to become aware of your right hand thumb. Your index finger, middle finger, ring finger, little finger and your palm. Try to become aware of sensation to these parts of the body. Do not become the parts but become aware of your palm, wrist lower arm, your elbow, upper arm, your right shoulder, shoulder blade, right chest, space between the chest, left chest, your right shoulder, upper arm, become aware of your left lower arm, left wrist, your thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring ringer little finger, palm, back of palm, wrist, lower arm, left elbow, upper arm, arm pit, side of left body, become aware of thigh, your left knee, back of knee, calf muscle, become aware of your ankle, relax your foot and all the toes of left foot. Again from left calf muscle, chin bone, knee, left thigh, left hip joint, groin, right hip joint. Right thigh, right knee, chin bone, calf muscle ankle, right foot, all the toes of right foot. Now become aware of both your feet, ankles, hip joints, lower abdomen, upper abdomen, your chest, your neck, face, head, back of your head, back of neck. Be aware of the parts of your body, total awareness, do not sleep, have no movement. Become aware of your whole back. Spinal cord., your buttocks, your thighs, your calf muscles, your feet. Imagine your whole body. Become aware of your whole body. Just relax your whole body.

Become aware of your breath, your breathing in, breathing out. As you breath in just become aware of rise-up of your abdomen, and as you breath out the fall of your abdomen. Count from 27 as you inhale. During the second inhalation 26 and mentally count down till one both inhaling and exhaling, rise and fall of the abdomen. Be sure that you do not make a mistake, if you do, then go back to 27 and start again. With awareness keep on your practice. Do not make any mistake slowly and gradually take awareness when you inhale 27 when the chest in rising 27 when the chest is falling; 26 when chest is rising and 26 when it is falling. 25 when chest is rising and 25 when it is falling 24 chest is rising and 24 chest is falling. Repeat the numbers mentally. Do not commit a mistake if you do so go back to 27. Continue counting from 27 to 1 with awareness. Now become aware of your throat as you breath in and breath out. Slowly and gradually try to imagine that you are part of whole sky, part of the universe. Expand your mind become aware of the whole blue sky. Try to imagine the best place that you have visited during your life time. You are standing on the sea shore and witnessing the rise and fall of the waves. You are enjoying the vast view of vast ocean. Enjoying the wind from the sea. Waves coming towards you, getting disappeared. Imagine the huge image of the laughing Buddha, the smiling Buddha, enjoying the view of snow capped mountains, river flowing, deep valleys etc.

Slowly and gradually repeat your resolve which you have taken in the beginning. Do not change your resolve say to yourself. I am going to be healthy, wealthy and happy throughout my whole life. Repeat this thrice.

Slowly and gradually become aware of your whole body. You are lying on the yoga mat. Feel the touch of your mat on your body. You are totally relaxed. Become aware of your body from toes to ankles. Calf muscles, chin bone, knees, thighs and slowly say “Akara ” inhale and say ‘Akara ” then become aware of your lower abdomen. Upper abdomen, chest and hands. Relax the body. Inhale and say ‘Ukara ’. Now become aware of your neck. Your chin the space between chin and lower lip become aware of both the lips. Relax your whole face, relax your nostrils, nose, left and right cheek, left and right eye relax your eye brow and left eye brow, relax the space between the eye brows, be aware of ear, head, forehead and now say ‘makara ’.

Now become aware of your whole body from head to toes and toes to head. Repeat the mantra ‘Om ’ three times. Slowly and gradually shake your toes, your fingers. Raise your right hand up, let it fall on the grounds, turn to your right with the help of the left hand. Sit down quietly with closed eyes. Rub your palm, cup it and put if on your eyes. Slowly open your eyes. The practice of yoga nidra is over.