During the last fifty years the way of life has changed greatly. Our mind is engrossed in material survival and has lost the point of balance and harmony. The body and mind are unable to adapt to the highly competitive pace of modern life, and we are now faced with a new epidemic of stress related disorders.
We all live in tension, hypertension and total tension. If we are able to free ourselves of tension, we are able to find a solution for all other problems. Tension blocks the inborn intelligence of the body to regenerate and heal itself. It also disconnects our mind from the higher source of knowledge, happiness, and bliss.
To get rid of tension we need to relax. Everyone knows it, but it is much easier to say than to practice. To just recline and close the eyes doesn’t help. If it was that simple, insomnia wouldn’t become the modern plaque. Tension originates in our mind not in the body. Thus, the mind must be the target of relaxation. Yoga nidra is such a tool.
Yoga nidra is the scientific method of removing tension and establishing harmony in all planes of our being.
Yoga means union, nidra – sleep. One can reunite with the Higher Self even in sleep if done properly. Yoga Nidra is a process when students are guided through self inquiry. They lie comfortably in shavasana (corps pose) while the teacher is instructing them using different relaxation techniques.
Yoga nidra is sleep with a trace of awareness. At the stage between wakefulness and dream our intellectual mind is relaxed giving control to the subconscious and unconscious levels of the mind. Then the pattern of the mind can be changed, diseases can be cured, and creativity can be restored.
What happens during Yoga Nidra?
During the practice we restructure and reform our whole personality from within. With every session we are burning the old habits and tendencies (samskaras). We begin to naturally know how to behave since now we are connected to the knowledge.
During Yoga Nidra we rest and rejuvenate more efficiently than in conventional sleep. It is said that one hour of yoga nidra is as restful as four hours of ordinary sleep.
During each practice you will make a sankalpa (resolve or resolution). Sankalpa is determination to become something or to do something. It is the seed of change which we sow during yoga nidra. Sankalpa is an important stage of Yoga Nidra and a powerful method of reshaping ourselves in positive direction. Anything in life can fail you, but not the sankalpa made during the yoga nidra. The sankalpa takes the form of a short mental statement which is impressed on the subconscious mind when it is receptive during the yoga nidra.
Sankalpa is different from a hypnosis since it is your own will, not one of the instructor. Before and after the practice of Yoga Nidra there is a short period dedicated to sankalpa. In the beginning we sow a seed, and at the end we irrigate it.
What resolve to choose?
We need to understand the power of Sankalpa and not misuse it for non important goals. If one uses it for eliminating of bad habits, he or she underestimates it. Sankalpa can change the whole life and should be made only when one fully understand its real purpose. Sankalpa is a will power that is flexible and robust at the same time. Flexible to adjust to changing circumstances as the resolve begins to manifest in your life, and robust not to be destroyed by our insecurity and negative thoughts.
Sankalpa should be short, clear and positive. Examples are:
I am love.
I am secure in myself.
I am at peace with myself.
All is in Divine order.
If no sankalpa appeals to you.
In the beginning most people are not sure what sankalpa to choose. It is better to wait until understanding develops. Do not go for small goals like changing bad habits into good ones or losing weight. When right sankalpa becomes the directing force, everything you do in life will be successful. Until your resolve ripens, use the following : I am OK with not having found my sankalpa yet.
How to practice.
When practicing yoga nidra you must completely relax, because this is not the practice of concentration. Follow the instruction and try not to fall asleep. If you happen to miss few instructions it does not matter. What is important is, that you keep on listening to the voice.
TODAY’S TIP: In Vedic scriptures the symbol of yoga nidra is Lord Narayana reposing on the ocean of milk. He is lying on a large serpent with many hoods, and the beautiful Lakshmi – the Goddess of Prosperity- is massaging his feet. Lord Narayana is in repose; your blanket is the serpent, and the floor is the milk ocean.