I have been practicing yoga nidra for almost two decades. In the beginning, I did it because I was told to! My Swami, Satyananda Sannyasan Dharma Vidya was not to be argued with, certainly not by me. I trusted this woman implicitly and desperately sought her influence to help me live a better life. I often felt out of whack as a young and anxious mum, and figured I had nothing to loose and everything to gain.
Since then, the practice of yoga nidra has carried me through some of my darkest times and brightened some of my most successful days. The most powerful active meditation I’ve ever undertaken, it’s only since travelling to Satyananda Ashrams in Rikhiapeeth and Munger, India to pay homage to my old Swami, that I’ve come closer to understanding the significant power of yoga nidra.
So here’s MY understanding of it, with a few references to a collective of materials gathered over the last 20 years:
“Yoga Nidra is a systematic method of inducing complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation”. The term yoga nidra is derived from two Sanskrit words: yoga meaning union or one-pointed awareness and nidra which means sleep.
Often referred to as a psychic sleep, this deep state of relaxation allows the whole body and mind to rest, while maintaining an active state of awareness, through a rotation of consciousness.
Last century, Swami Satyananda Saraswati, while living with his guru Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh had a series of insightful experiences which heightened his passion to develop the present form of yoga nidra.
Beneficial to people of all ages, ailments, illnesses and dispositions, yoga nidra can be used to direct the mind to accomplish anything. “The practice of yoga nidra enables one to receive intuitions from the unconscious mind” said Swami Satyananda Saraswati.
Allowing the whole body to deeply relax, awareness is then drawn to setting a sankalpa, or a resolution. This positive “I” statement must be set according to your needs/inclinations, and once chosen, it’s wise to not change it until the sankalpa has been achieved. Sincerity and a deep need to attain the goal of your sankalpa is essential.
Interestingly, visualization skills are not required. You simply follow the repetitive instructions through the rapid rotation of consciousness, with only three requirements:
(1) remain awake and aware
(2) listen to the voice,
(3) move the mind very rapidly according to the instruction
There are endless recordings of Yoga Nidra to be found online. Let me know if you’d like to know which ones I prefer.
Please note: While I have a deep respect for Satyananda Yoga as a lifestyle, I am not a devotee.
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