I can only describe my first encounter with Yoga Nidra as "MAGIC". I had never heard of Yoga Nidra before and was lying on my yoga mat, completely unbiased, but tired and a bit stressed. I followed the instructions of my yoga teacher. The 45 minutes of Yoga Nidra felt like five minutes. Afterwards I felt so refreshed, balanced and relaxedlike I slept through an entire night. Then I knew: I want to practice this more often in the future and pass this kind of relaxation on to my students.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is a Relaxation technology and is composed of two Sanskrit words: yoga and nidra. Nidra means sleep. It could be translated as "Sleep of consciousness„. The senses are active, the spirit is present. One should try not to fall asleep during Yoga Nidra, but to lie still and if possible not to move.
Let me illustrate this with an example: A mobile phone charges its battery much faster if it is not in the WLAN, updates some apps in the background and still searches the mobile network. The battery recharges in a much shorter time when the phone is in flight mode or idle.
It is the same with Yoga Nidra: By practicing this method, your own battery is recharged in much less time. When we sleep, our consciousness is switched off. It's different with Yoga Nidra. There we find ourselves in a state similar to that which occurred just before you fell asleep. The difference to other relaxation exercises is that Yoga Nidra usually lasts longer (at least 30 minutes) and is guided by a teacher.
Where does Yoga Nidra come from?
This method was developed by Yogi Swami Satyananda Saraswati. He has written an extensive work on Yoga Nidra. In five sentences he has brought Yoga Nidra to a point:
"Most people go to sleep without releasing their tensions first. It's called Nidra. Nidra means sleep, no matter how. Yoga Nidra, however, is the sleep after which all burdens are removed. It's a completely different and higher quality."
Goal of Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra can help you to get really deep regenerate. In doing so, one comes into a state of full consciousness state between sleep and wakefulness. One remains an observer and perceives what is happening. This relaxes the body and helps to empty the mind.
Advantages of Yoga Nidra
The regular practice of Yoga Nidra has brought many positive effects on our mental and physical health:
- Refuelling and regeneration
- Memory is trained
- Concentration is encouraged
- Increases the ability to learn
- Body comes into a meditative relaxation
- Physical tensions can be released
- Promotion of mental clarity
- More energy
- More serenity
- Stress reduction
What do you need for Yoga Nidra?
- A quiet environment: switch off the phone and do not be disturbed
- A soft underlay or yoga mat
- A light blanket (so it does not get cold during the exercise)
- A cushion under the knees helps with lower back pain
- For the practice of Yoga Nidra an announcement is always required. Therefore you need a playback facility for Yoga Nidra CD, MP3 or a Yoga Nidra teacher
How Yoga Nidra works
Yoga Nidra follows a certain sequence of events that typically looks like this:
Preparation in Shavasana
The exercise is best done lying down in the Shavasana, Back Relaxation Position...in the past. Shavasana means lying on your back, legs stretched out, feet hip-wide apart. The arms are laid down slightly away from the body, and the palms of the hands are pointing upwards.
formulation of a sanctionalpa, a short Guiding principlea heart's desire that is repeated several times in the mind. This resolution should be formulated in a positive and short form, such as "I am courageous", "I am relaxed", "I am good", "I am healthy", or something similar.
circling of perception
In this part you circle with the consciousness through the whole body.
Perception of the breath
Here you count backwards in the rhythm of your own breathing. For example, from 27 to 1, the goal is not to count to 1, but to keep the focus on breathing. If you miscount, you simply start again from the beginning.
In this part caused opposite body perceptions such as heaviness, lightness, coolness, warmth.
Here you will find various Images visualized and objectively speaking.
At the end of the Yoga Nidra exercise, the Yoga Nidra Sankalpa repeated againto enhance the effect.
At the end there is enough time to slowly come out of deep relaxation. This is done by slow movements of the hands and feet, arms, legs and then the whole body. It is important to take enough time for this withdrawal, because the body needs a moment to to return to the usual presence.
Yoga Nidra works on 3 levels
- Change of consciousness (physical relaxation)
- Awareness of the breath (emotional relaxation)
- Development of feelings and visualization of images and stories (mental relaxation)
Who can practice Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is suitable for both Yoga beginners without previous knowledge as well as for a advanced yogi suitable. It can be practiced during the lunch break to recharge the batteries, after a long working day to switch off, before going to bed or at any other time of day.
Yoga Nidra is taught by specially trained Yoga Nidra instructors e.g. in yoga studios or courses ...to be guided. You follow the instructions of the instructor and can devote yourself completely to the exercise. In the meantime, various Yoga-Nidra CDs are also available in stores to buy to practice at home by yourself. You can also find them on YouTube.
Anyone can learn Yoga Nidra. Have fun trying it out!
This article is a guest contribution from Ulrike von Seggern
I am a relaxation course instructor and have been teaching fitness courses for many years. Since a few years I have discovered yoga for myself. This has led to my desire to teach yoga myself. In June 2016 I successfully completed the Basic License Vinyasa Power Yoga.
With my offers as a relaxation coach I would like to accompany people on their journey to more relaxation in their everyday life. In my relaxation and yoga weekends, yoga retreats and relaxation courses Yoga Nidra is also an important part of my work.
You can find further information on ulrikevonseggern.com.