WHAT IS YOGA NIDRA?
Yoga Nidra is a state of consciousness. It is sleep with a trace of awareness or conscious deep relaxation. Yoga Nidra is sleepless sleep and occurs between waking consciousness and dreaming consciousness. The term Yoga Nidra often in verbal usage refers to the techniques that include deep relaxation and guided visualization, but Yoga Nidra is a state of consciousness not the techniques that get you there. It is also important to comprehend that deep relaxation with guided visualization is not Yoga Nidra.
The goal of Yoga Nidra is to enter the intermediate state between waking and dreaming. It is not correct to say that one is asleep during Yoga Nidra, although this occurs quite often. One avoids falling asleep through the process of autosuggestion done before entering the Yoga Nidra technique. Yoga Nidra practiced to its fullest capacity can be a pathway into the lower and higher realms of Samadhi.
The Journey of Yoga Nidra:
Preliminary relaxation techniques: breathing to release tension and trigger the nervous system to induce a state of parasympathetic activation.
Creating a Sankalpa (Intention or Resolve): Something that we would like to embody in any area of our lives. Sankalpa should be concise, short, and specific, for instance, self-love, compassion, inner peace, Divine presence, etc.
Rotation of consciousness: The goal is to focus the mind and create awareness but with separation from any external stimuli. We create a sense of withdrawal and command control over the sensory mechanism of the physical body through brain function, creating a deep sense of relaxation in the physical body from a place of detachment and observation.
Awareness of prana: The awareness of the breath gives us the ability to connect with our emotional responses and observe them and start the connection with our subtle body. We become mindful of the realms that lie beyond the body without judgment or attachment.
Awareness of feeling emotions: Through words and the observation of emotions we start dissolving the conditioning and attachment that we have with those emotions. We invite whatever emotion is arising from a place of non-attachment and become the observer of those emotions.
Visualization: Through a guided visualization we access and work on the unconscious mind and samskaras (subtle impressions) which are our emotional patterns, individual impressions, and external conditionings. The teacher takes you through a series of vivid images that will evoke responses in our relaxed mind cleansing and healing our deep-rooted conditions.
Closure: We revisit our sankalpa and plant it into the field of the unconscious mind and then we return the awareness back into the physical body.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra:
- Ease insomnia
- Decrease anxiety
- Alleviate stress
- Reduce symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Reduce the symptoms of chronic pain and chemical dependency
- Transform negative habits, behaviors, and ways of thinking
- Foster feelings of peace, calm, and clarity.
I started my Yogic journey in 2002, a little after I moved to the United States and during the pregnancy of my youngest daughter. My interest in Yoga came as a form of spirituality and to connect with my Self, but as many others in the West who are introduced to Yoga, my first encounter was with the most physical part of Yoga, asana. As I started learning and practicing, I realized that Yoga was more about mind flexibility and the expansion of our consciousness than body flexibility and deep stretches. I learned that Yoga is about compassion, about love for others and for the Self; and as I was getting deeper into my practice I started changing from within.
I became vegetarian, learned about Ayurveda, the sister science of Yoga, and got deeper into practicing meditation, chanting, and learning about Vedanta. Was not until 2015 that I had the opportunity to travel to India for the first time with the intention to deepen my studies; since then, I have been traveling often, mainly to the Southern part of the country, including staying at Tashilhunpo Buddhist Monastery for spiritual studies.
I became a 200YTT Yoga teacher after almost 20 years of personal practice and at the age of 48. Never late to follow the Path.
I also became a certified Yoga Nidra under the lineage of Swami Satyananda Bihar School and an Ayurvedic Counselor. Currently I am in my second year of Jyotish (Vedic Astrology) studies under the lineage of Krishan Mantri and Hast deFouw.
I am grateful that I can continue my Yoga, Ayurveda, and Jyotish studies in India and in the United States with some amazing teachers like Dr. Vassant Lad, Dr. David Frawley, Dr. Subhash Ranade, Steven Highburger, Komilla Sutton, Dr. Abhijit Jinde, and Dr. Mahesh Sabade.
Yoga and Spirituality is a journey, not a destination.