The technique of Yog Nidra or deep relaxation (also known as Yog Nidra the yogic sleep) it is strongly recommended for anybody who wants to learn meditation and is leading a very busy and demanding life to learn the art of deep relaxation. Since we all get exhausted (both physically and mentally) by the end of the day, it is very necessary for us to learn this art of deep relaxation, so that we can meditate with full vigor and enthusiasm.
How to do
- The Posture: Usually it takes from twenty to forty minutes to complete one Yoga Nidra session. The procedure is carried out doing other asanas (postures). Then the person lies on his or her back in shavasana, totally relaxed posture shavasana. Eyes are lightly closed, arms are kept with palms facing upwards and fingers are half lifted from the ground, breathing is natural and quiet.
- Thinking, Talking to self (Sankalpa), Promise: Now start talking to self without using tongue or any body-part. The wordings should be clear and precise. It is not expected that the one makes minor resolves like, ‘I will give up smoking, or alcohol, or tobacco, but he or she should think something higher like I will awaken my spiritual potential, I will be successful in my all undertakings, I will achieve total health, or I will be a positive help in spiritual progress of others, etc.
- Rotation of Awareness: Your yoga practice will help you to be more in touch with your body, able to recognize tension and relaxation and thus to bring them under your conscious control. The Rotation of Awareness involves six steps (Feet & Legs, Abdomen, Buttocks, Chest, Hands/ Arms, Neck & Head) during which we progressively relax all these parts of our body. During these steps, focus your mind on the parts of your body and not on your breath. Relax each part of the body in turn. Try to leave complete weight on the ground & confirm that no muscle is under stress to hold the body. The practice of relaxing should be in sequence as given above and should be one by one only
During this exercise it is helpful to see your body as an object and your mind as an instrument of your inner spirit directing the flow of prana into your body. As you go through the step of relaxing a specific part of your body, imagine that the prana, the essence of life, is flowing through this part relaxing and revitalizing the whole part, as you inhale and exhale freely. It is also important that as you move your mind from one part of the body to another, keep your body still.
- Awareness of the breath: After rotation of the consciousness in such a sequence, focusing the attention on the act of breathing completes physical relaxation. One simply maintains awareness of breath, either at the nostril or of its passage through the navel and throat. It is claimed that the process, in addition to concentration of mind, assists in pratyahara
- Feelings and Emotions: Now move to relaxation at the level of feelings and emotions. Attempt is made to memorize the intense physical and emotional feelings. They are re-experienced or re-lived. Usually this is practiced with pairs of two opposite feelings like hot and cold, lightness and heaviness, pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow, etc. Relaxation at the emotional level and building up of strong will-power are the two major outcome of this procedure.
- Visualization: The final stage of yoga nidra relates to mental relaxation. One tries to visualize the objects (images and symbols) that have universal significance like mountain, river, ocean, temple, church, cross, saint, flower etc.
How to release
- Once again repeat the sankalpa (promise to self). Thus, consciously one tries to direct the unconscious mind about the goal in life. This time the unconscious is very receptive and therefore may accept the suggestion from the conscious mind with more intensity. It is claimed that in due course of time, depending upon the sincerity and regularity of the sadhana, the resolve bears fruit in sadhaka’s life.
- To bring your consciousness back to your body, gently move your fingers and toes, take a deep breath.
- Now turn the right side and sit
The practice of Yoga nidra opens up deeper state of mind. Each time one practices Yog nidra, one’s level of consciousness deepens and become more aware of subconscious mind and ultimately gives more relaxation. And also gets relieved of stress from the mind.