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