What is Yoga Nidra and why is it useful to practice it?
Yoga Nidra is a state of deep relaxation, a systematic mediation. A state of consciousness between waking and sleeping. The body is completely relaxed yet the mind is wide awake and the practitioner becomes aware of their inner world.
It is the most powerful tool in the Yogic practices to calm the mind, to remove obstacles of negative thoughts and behavior patterns, to bring clarity and to realign with our path (Dharma) in life.
Why is Yoga Nidra so effective? In Yoga Nidra we create our own dream by visualizing a wide variety of symbols that have powerful and universal significance. These “quick images” cause other memories, generally not related, from the depths of the subconscious to rise and be released. Thus, many types of stresses go away, the mind is freed from information unnecessary for it.
Yoga Nidra is compared with the hypnosis, but they have little in common. In hypnosis, we become very sensitive to external advice for therapeutic or other purposes. Yoga Nidra is a method of increasing self-awareness, a way to keep track of our own psychic awakening. When our body is completely relaxed, the mind is also relaxed, but we have to keep it active, turning our attention to all parts of the body, tracking the breath, experiencing different sensations, creating mental images. In Yoga Nidra the intention is to stay awake and be conscious of our thoughts during the entire practice, trying to follow all the instructions without evaluating.
At the heart of the Yoga Nidra practice is the Sankalpha, which means resolution or affirmation. Sankalpa is an intent, an inner conviction, which reaches the depths of the subconscious where it becomes a reality. It must be something very important for us. During the practice we repeat the Sankalpha, 3 times at the start and 3 times at the end of the practice, mentally with deep conviction, planting a seed for positive change deep into the relaxed and receptive mind. It is better if our Sankalpa has a spiritual purpose, but we can also make a decision related to a desire to get rid of any habit or improve any aspects of our personality. In Yoga Nidra decisions that we make and thoughts that we create, become potentially very strong. They go into the depths of the subconscious and, over time, they definitely become reality.
As setting your intention is the focus of the practice, here are a few helpful guidelines for setting your Sankalpha:
It is a positive statement loaded with good intent and meaning
It is short and concise
It contains positive words as the mind may fixate on the negative ones
It is made in present tense, like we are already living the goal
Few examples of Sankalphas:
'I am happy'
'I am radiant and healthy'
'I am stable and grounded'
'I am the best that I can be in all aspects of my life'
'I am already whole, and already healed'
'I am peace itself'
‘I love my body’
‘I am love itself’
'Compassion is my true nature'
'I am compassion itself'
'With compassion for my body and for other beings, I eat a vegetarian diet'
'I care for myself in loving ways'
' I listen to myself and choose behaviors that keep me well'
'I balance my life with health'
'All is well'
'I am strong and stable'
'Every day I am more relaxed'
'I am grounded'
'I am blissful'
'I am harmonious with whatever that might be'
'I am living in the here and now'
'I realigned myself to my higher self and staying in my center'
'I am the observer in my life, staying connected to my true self'
'I have dissolution and freedom from all my karmas: past, present and future'
In the book Yoga-Nidra by N.C. Panda he gives us 7 types of application/use of Yoga Nidra in conjunction with Yoga Therapy:
1. Establishing or stamping a positive thought or habit:
'I have the capacity to live a meaningful life with full satisfaction'
'I can do anything than can be done by others'
'I have the will, the power, the competence to have success'
'I am getting up every morning at 5 a.m fully rested'
2. Releasing bad habits, giving up addictions:
'Alcohol is harmful, I am stopping drinking it'
'Cruelty is inhuman. I am kind and non-violent'
'I live for simple living and high thinking. I am free from greed'
'I am happy with other's happiness'
'I listen to my body intently and feed it with real, wholesome food'
3. Helping with psychosomatic illnesses:
In the case of thyroid issues:
'I can cope with my problems. I am free from worries. My thyroid becomes normal'
'I am free of worries. My joints are free of autoimmune response. My adrenal cortex secretes enough cortisone.'
'I am free of tension. I am relaxed. My migraine is cured.'
'I think logically and rationally. I am free from contradictions and conflicts.'
4. Normalizing the body functions
'My psychic centre, hypothalamus, pituitary and ovaries function in perfect coordination.'
'The islet cells of my pancreas secrete the right amount of insulin. My cell membranes allow glucose to pass through.'
'My pineal gland is secreting enough melatonin. I have sound and deep sleep.'
5. Normalizing the biochemical activities in the body
'My body, I order you to retard the biosynthesis of cholesterol.'
6. Correcting and potentiating the immune system
'My immune system is strong and keeps me free of infections, diseases, tumors.'
7. Spiritual attainment
'I work on my path without the attachment of the fruits of it. I work for the sake of my duty.'
'I am pure consciousness. I am bliss.'
The beauty of Yoga Nidra is that anyone can practice it, it is accessible for all levels of students and as you can see, the possibilities are endless. You can practice Yoga Nidra to release a bad habit, change your thinking pattern, bring in a quality into your life that you desire, heal an ailment in your body or to advance on your spiritual journey. Sounds too good to be true? You never know until you try! If you are intrigued I will start introducing monthly 2 hours workshops in 2018.