Yoga nidra

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what is yoga nidra

Yoga Nidra is a powerful meditation technique adapted by Swami Satyananda Saraswati from the traditional tantric practice of nyasa. It is a healing technique that helps to remove deep-rooted tensions in the body and mind by consciously entering a state of complete relaxation. Often referred to as conscious sleeping or sleeping with awareness, yoga nidra is quite different from regular sleep. In sleep, we are unaware of and have no control over the relaxation process. We can sleep for hours and still awake feeling tense and uneasy. For this reason, according to this practice, sleep is not considered relaxation. In yoga nidra, we use a simple yet profound method to systematically reach total relaxation - physically, mentally, and emotionally.

In Yoga Nidra, we are not sleeping, yet we are not completely awake. We enter a state in between the threshold of wakefulness and sleep. This state of relaxation is reached by turning inwards and away from external experiences. In this state, the mind becomes very receptive and so, yoga nidra has been used to not only relax and release tension but also to help develop the memory, increase knowledge and creativity, break and create habits, and even change our nature. In science, when the consciousness enters this receptive state between waking and sleep, it is called the hypnagogic state. When we are conscious, the intellect and logic are in operation. For this reason the conscious mind not only accepts ideas but also rejects them. When we enter total relaxation, the subconscious and unconscious mind completely accepts and receives the practice fully. For this reason, yoga nidra can be used for directing the mind to accomplish anything. This is the secret of the extraordinary accomplishments of great yogis as well as the most scientific and creative discoveries in the world. 

the healing power of yoga nidra

In this modern age, we have made much advancement in technology, medicine, and even life itself. Along with these advances, however, came the dispersion of human energy in all aspects of life. The mind is constantly bombarded with stimulation and pressure, the physical body is tested to its limits, and the physiological and emotional bodies are pushed beyond their threshold. Although medical science has put an end to many a great plagues from the past, a whole new evolution of diseases of new dimensions and expressions have manifested. Psychosomatic illnesses are heavily affecting the lives of many modern individuals. Many of these illnesses arose from the tension within the body and mind. Modern medicine has been trying to tackle these issues on a superficial level, but many of them lie deep within the consciousness. If you pull a weed out from the ground, its roots will only cause new weeds to grow. We must completely remove the roots and the whole system of the weed. In the same way, we need to get to the root of these tensions. 

If we think too much, there is tension.

If we don’t think enough there is tension.

If we eat too much, there is tension.

If we don’t eat enough there is tension.

If we sleep too much, there is tension.

If we don’t sleep enough there is tension.

If we work too much there is tension.

If we don’t work enough there is tension.

Whether we have a healthy vegetarian diet, a diet of junk foods, or strictly carnivorous diet, tension arises. These tensions accumulate within the physical, mental, and emotional levels. In yoga, we learn to deal with tension with a very wide periscope. It is taught that all layers and aspects of the self are connected. The practice of yoga nidra allows us to dig deep within not only the physical body, but the mental and emotional as well.

The inability to deal with and eradicate these tensions on an individual level creates tension and problems to the collective whole. We often see how inner tension in one individual can crate unhealthy relationships, chaos within a family, disorder within social life and relations, and even upheaval within an entire community or war and violence between nations. In all the yogic texts, it is taught that peace must be found within, not without. Finding peace and healing within on an individual level can translate to the peace and healing of the entire world. 

Swami Satyananda Saraswati
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Most people sleep without resolving their tensions, 

This is termed nidra. 

Nidra means sleep, no matter what or why, But yoga nidra means sleep after throwing off the burdens, 

It is of a blissful, higher quality altogether. When awareness is separate and distinct from the vrittis, 

When waking, dream and deep sleep pass like clouds, Yet awareness of atma remains 

This is the experience of total relaxation. Relaxation does not mean sleep. 

Relaxation means to be blissfully happy, It has no end. 

I call bliss absolute relaxation; 

Sleep is a different matter. Sleep gives only mind and sense relaxation. 

Bliss relaxes the atma, the inner self; That is why, in tantra, 

Yoga nidra is the doorway to Samadhi.