This is my favorite thing ever: “Taking time to create space will create more time and space. Yoga nidra is a process in which we take control over subtle elements and the creation process to manifest our highest intentions and clear out old crap!”- Me
Okay. Its not my favorite because I said it, its my favorite because its TRUE.
The best way to run you through “what is yoga nidra?” is to just lay it all out. Follow along and absorb it all; drinking from the fire hose!
Keep in mind that many many books have been written on the topic, and this is simply an overview!
We are taught that an hour of yoga nidra is the equivalent to a three-hour nap! You are guided through different layers (koshas) to clear out old energies, limiting beliefs, and other negativities. Going through this process takes you from waking state to dreaming state, from alpha and beta brain states (I.e. while you’re awake) to healing and regenerating delta and theta states (totally zenned out).
So what are these layers? We all know the phrase “body, mind, and soul” (and sometimes “spirit”). Its a very broad, general statement, and seems to lack…something. Well, how about this instead: your being is composed of at least five fields, or layers, so to speak, called koshas.
The field of the body: anna maya kosha
The field of energy: prana maya kosha
The field of mental/emotional: mana maya kosha
The field of intuition: vijnana maya kosha
The field of higher Self/bliss: ananda maya kosha
You’re probably thinking this all sounds terribly mystic or cliche or way over your head. Yes. No. Keep reading.
Let’s look at some of the examples of benefits of clearing out those layers!:
- Removes Blockages: restores prana (energy!)
- Healing: disease is a state of dis ease!, autoimmune/disorders, system stress, PTSD, illnesses of any kind
- Restores sleep patterns & body rhythm, allows you to deeply rest (awesome for insomniacs)
- Good for releasing bad habits: habits are disempowering!! drug/substance abuse, homelessness, poverty mindset, anger, etc
- Healing from overwhelming outside influences/life/illusions, drama, stress, limiting beliefs, etc
- State of consciousness in which we create and give birth/manifest
- Yoga nidra is a way of taking your personal power back for the powerlessness we experience in our human life.
“Yoga nidra is a revitalizing exercise that gives total rest to the mind, brain, nervous system, senses, and body. Except through meditation and yoga nidra, one cannot give rest to the totality of the mind. There is no drug and no scientific or physical technique so far discovered that gives rest to the unconscious part of the mind, except the technique of yoga nidra.” Swami Rama
With that in mind, the next question is: how is yoga nidra different than meditation?
- Goal of meditation is samadhi- bliss, realization, transcend mind, connect to Divine
- Remain awake in meditation
- Goal of nidra is creation: engage creation—> master creation—> transcend creation—> meditation
- Yoga nidra can prepare the body for meditation by helping to calm the mind and body, gives mind an activity
- Move from yoga nidra immediately into higher states of meditation
In both cases (and anything else) they become incredibly powerful practices over time, giving you immense control over your waking life, and -BONUS!- there are no contraindications! If you can lie on the floor snuggled in blankets and pillows, you can do yoga nidra (although the wise ones do encourage a seated posture for meditation).
The last question remains….exactly how good do you want to feel? Can you imagine?!
What is your wildest, deepest, most powerful dream for your one life? (More on that in another post.)
All that to be said: yoga nidra is incredibly powerful especially when first practiced with a guide. Once you have mastered certain elements, you may continue a home yoga nidra practice with recordings. It is advised to also practice with a guide if you are going through something particular; they will be able to design something specifically for you and lend a strong, healing energy during the session.
Thanks for reading!
Quotes from the wise ones:
“There is a method called yoga nidra in which you can have conscious sleep. Yoga nidra is a state between sleep and samadhi.
The aspirant learns to analyze or resolve all his desires, thoughts, and feelings through the practice of yoga nidra. He attains a state in which he consciously learns to place his mind in deep rest. Yoga nidra cannot be translated into any other language, but for the convenience of modern students it is called “yogic sleep” or “sleepless sleep.” This is a state of conscious sleep in which the student is in deep sleep and yet remains fully conscious. The yogis use this technique for both sleep and meditation. The quality of rest one receives through this method is entirely different from that which is derived through ordinary sleep.
Yoga nidra is a revitalizing exercise that gives total rest to the mind, brain, nervous system, senses, and body. Except through meditation and yoga nidra, one cannot give rest to the totality of the mind. There is no drug and no scientific or physical technique so far discovered that gives rest to the unconscious part of the mind, except the technique of yoga nidra.” Swami Rama
“Yoga Nidra brings an incredible calmness, quietness and clarity. Yoga Nidra is one of the deepest of all meditations, leading awareness through many levels of mental process to a state of supreme stillness and insight.
Yoga Nidra means Yogic Sleep. It is a state of conscious Deep Sleep. In Meditation, you remain in the Waking state of consciousness, and gently focus the mind, while allowing thought patterns, emotions, sensations, and images to arise and go on. However, in Yoga Nidra, you leave the Waking state, go past the Dreaming state, and go to Deep Sleep, yet remain awake. While Yoga Nidra is a state that is very relaxing, it is also used by Yogis to purify the Samskaras, the deep impressions that are the driving force behind Karma.
Yoga Nidra brings access to the to latent, or subconscious level of mind, that is underneath even the processing, fantasizing, imaging level of mind. It is the doorway to the causal level of reality, out of which springs the subtle, psychic, astral plane of reality, which in turn brings forth the gross level.” Swami J
“There is a cave in the heart, the interior cave of the heart … and that cave is absolutely silent and absolutely dark. Darkness so thick you cannot cut it with a knife. That is the one into which all senses dissolve. Remember then that yoga nidra and laya, dissolution of the universe, are very closely linked. When there is no thought, no light, no sound, no stir, no movement, then you are there. It feels as though that darkness is breathing. Then in that absolute stillness you are not unconscious, you are conscious of being there. You are not unconscious the way people are unconscious in sleep. You are conscious in that cave, and you are observing the fact of being there without any words, without any sound, without any light, without any movement, without any memory, without any samskaras arising; then it is yoga nidra. Then out of that laya state you can create a whole universe. You can write poetry, you can write an epic, you can have the vision of any subject in a flash.” Swami Veda Bharati