What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is practiced entirely in the position of savasana or whichever position allows a practitioner to remain in complete physical stillness for 45 minutes. The practitioner is then guided into complete physical relaxation and mental acuity. It is estimated that 45 minutes of Yoga Nidra provides the equivalent restful quality of 3-4 hours of sleep. This is because Yoga Nidra is a deep meditative practice that invokes alpha, theta and delta waves in the brain. These states are reached by gentle guidance through the 5 layers (Koshas) of our being. Annamaya (Physical Body), Pranamaya (Energetic Body), Manomaya (Mental Body), Vijnanamaya (Astral Body) and Anandamaya (Bliss Body). It is through bringing awareness into these layers that we can access the subconscious and unconscious as well as the entire subtle body. In turn it is also where we can begin to create positive change to all levels of our being.
During Yoga Nidra the mind becomes like fertile soil, open to intention and deep desires. This is why we plant a Sankalpa. Sankalpa, is a positive intention/resolve you set for yourself that you want to see manifest in your life. It is where we can accomplish true self evolution. The Sankalpa can take on many forms of expression words, feelings or images so it is important to give plenty of consideration to what Sankalpa may mean to you.
The sympathetic nervous system, which is activated as part of our body’s automatic response to stress, works in opposition to the parasympathetic nervous system. Over-stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system can cause poor sleep, high blood pressure, poor digestion, and in severe cases, adrenal exhaustion – otherwise known as burning out.
In our world we spend so much time doing and going (read: over-stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system) but very little time just allowing ourselves to be (or, activating our parasympathetic nervous system). The art of relaxation is just that: an art. It is a learned (though commonly under-developed), and vital, skill.
Yoga Nidra gives the practitioner an hour dedicated to effective rest, which is healing on all levels, all while strengthening the mind.
Yoga Nidra is accessible for anyone: no prior experience is required.