What is Yoga Nidra?

Please note that the audio version of this blog post What is Yoga Nidra Meditation? is available on our podcast Light on Yoga and Meditation.

Yoga Nidra is a relaxation meditation technique from the great yoga adept Swami Satyananda Saraswati of the Bihar School of Yoga in India.

The word yoga means conscious connection to Self. Nidra means sleep. Yoga Nidra means conscious connection to the deep self during sleep.

Yoga Nidra, as a meditation technique, enables you to remain awake and alert as you venture into the deep sleep state. Instead of becoming unconscious, you experience an exalted state of consciousness and a deep, blissful connection to the highest Self.

Yoga Nidra, therefore, is a yoga meditation technique that allows you to relax, recharge, rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit, and awaken higher consciousness.

Yoga Nidra – the most powerful relaxation meditation technique in the world today.

Yoga Nidra is an amazing yogic meditation technique that enables you to relax deeply and gain all the benefits of relaxation. It is probably the most powerful relaxation and meditation technique in the world today. This is because it combines the best of deep relaxation and meditation so that you can relax all the layers of your being, physical, energetic, mental, emotional, psychic, and spiritual.

The ultimate relaxation is spiritual relaxation. It is relaxation at the very core of your being. And this occurs when you feel connected to this part of you and develop a sense of deep trust in life and yourself, and you know that everything is OK.

Yoga Nidra has been rebadged by various groups who have tweaked the original system with small variations. It’s been given different names, such as Non-Sleep Deep Relaxation, NSDR.

However, the original system of Yoga Nidra as a relaxation meditation technique originated from the yoga and meditation practices developed by the great yogi Swami Satyananda Saraswati of the Bihar School of Yoga, India. He first began to develop the technique during the 1950s and 1960s when he was living with his guru, Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, India.

Harness the power of Yoga Nidra meditation for relaxation and healing.

Even though Yoga Nidrā has an exalted level of practicing, linking you back to the highest Self, in everyday life, its main use is for relaxation and healing.

While Yoga Nidra is often used to help people relax, recover from stress, and heal from illness, it has many additional benefits that can enhance your health and strengthen your life purpose.

Yoga Nidra is a powerful meditation technique where the mind remains conscious during the normally “unconscious” state associated with deep sleep. Practiced in the lying position, it is one of the most popular yoga meditation techniques because it induces a profoundly deep state of rest while you are lying down. The problem with this is that most people sleep during the practice. However, when you are exhausted, the level of rest you achieve is much deeper than normal sleep. Once you have recovered your vitality and removed exhaustion, you can then use Yoga Nidrā meditation to dive deep into the mind, psyche, and spirit. Then you can discover all the great powers and abilities that lie hidden within you.

The technique is effortless, enjoyable, soothing, and recuperative.

So the technique is effortless, enjoyable, soothing, and recuperative. As it is practiced today, Yoga Nidra is a technique that carries awareness deep into you, layer by layer. This process is called introversion, or pratyahara, in Sanskrit. In this state, the mind is dissociated from the senses so that you become aware of what is going on within you. You are cut off from all the sensorial demands and all the stresses, problems, and challenges of daily life. It is like taking a holiday from your life for twenty or thirty minutes. And it is during this period of pratyahāra of Yoga Nidra that you can rest deeply and experience deep relaxation.

Yoga Nidra takes your awareness deep into parts of you that tension often prevents you from accessing. As you systematically relax each part of your physical body and move your awareness to your subtle layers, emotions, and deeper mind, you will relax and rejuvenate your whole self. By tapping into your subconscious, which is the deeper part of you, you gain access to innate knowledge and wisdom that can positively transform your life. Within you lie strengths, abilities, and energies that you can use for healing and improving your life in many ways.

Practicing Yoga Nidra leads you gently into a relaxing experience of deep rest – deep rest that enlivens the body and awakens energy. Yoga Nidra takes your awareness deep into the parts of your body that you normally cannot relax due to deeply held tensions and contractions. By taking your consciousness into those parts, you can release and unblock tensions relieving the negative effects of stress and the anxiety that goes with it. People often say they feel rested, lighter, or more capable of taking on the many tasks of their day after practicing Yoga Nidra.

Yoga Nidra is the easiest and most effective way to create a bridge between conscious awareness and your unconscious mind. It is a tool for mining the strengths and talents that usually lie hidden within you, buried under old patterns.

The three stages of Yoga Nidra.

The complete Yoga Nidra experience occurs in sequential stages:

  1. Stage 1. Rest, recuperate, and rejuvenate – It is during this stage that most people sleep in order to remove exhaustion and revitalize themselves. When you emerge from half an hour of Yoga Nidrā, you feel like you have had the equivalent of several hours of sleep.
  2. Stage 2. Manage old patterns, undigested negative memories, emotions, and desires – Once you have rested and rejuvenated yourself, you can begin to work on all the negative mental and emotional patterns that have accumulated from negative childhood experiences and traumas and undigested memories and desires. Once this stage is mastered, you move on to the next and final stage.
  3. Stage 3. Awaken to the experience of your deeper self and your life purpose – In this stage, you can remain aware during the deep sleep state, experience your highest Self, and cognize your reason for being, your life purpose.

In stages one and two of Yoga Nidra meditation practice, you experience relaxation, restored vitality, and psycho-emotional purification. Old, outmoded patterns of feeling and thinking are released from the body-mind through the process of cultivating deep relaxation and a sense of inner control.

Once negative feelings and old conditioning have been released, your intuitive and creative abilities are progressively revealed through easy and enjoyable self-development. You begin to feel and intuit who you are and understand what your deeper self really wants. You are freed from feeling trapped in the superficial desires of your lower, sensory-based thinking mind and begin to access your higher, knowing, intuitive mind.

Start using Yoga Nidra to experience profound relaxation, recuperation, and healing benefits.

Gain deeper rest and rejuvenation from Yoga Nidra than from sleep.

In today’s frantic, high-tech world, many people find that their sleep is not completely restful. They are unable to resolve tensions, or they are unaware of how much tension they are holding and carry it into their sleep. Over time, stress and tension travel deep into the body-mind and plant the seeds of physical and psychological illness.

Disturbed sleep, sleep deprivation, and sleep disorders such as insomnia have reached epidemic proportions in recent years. Chronic sleep deprivation has been shown to greatly increase the risk of chronic degenerative illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, cancer, and obesity, while increasing the chance of premature death. (See the research article on heart disease at the end of this page for more details).

The statistics are dramatic:

  • More than 30% of the population suffers from insomnia.
  • More than 60% of people over the age of 60 suffer from insomnia.
  • 30% of people suffer from some form of insomnia during their lives.
  • More than half of Americans lose sleep due to stress and/or anxiety.
  • Approximately 30 million people in the U.S. (10% of the population) use prescription sleep medications.

Many people try to sleep with their minds still switched on. This is like putting your car into the garage and keeping the engine on.

Overthinking is a symptom of stress and worry. Unchecked, it can become an unconscious habit that undermines your health and happiness.

Learning how to turn off excessive thinking and worry is the key to getting deep, restful sleep – and practicing Yoga Nidra is one of the easiest ways to eliminate worry, rumination, and tension.

Yoga Nidra is a practice that enables you to experience deep rest so that you can recharge and rejuvenate yourself. By removing longstanding tensions, you will also improve your capacity to sleep deeply and peacefully. Although it does not replace normal sleep, 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra is the equivalent of 3 to 4 hours of unconscious sleep.

Remove deep-seated tensions

Tensions block awareness and energy. Yoga Nidra meditation releases blocked energy that is trapped within the body-mind – often frozen by anxiety and worry.

Releasing energy during relaxation rebalances and harmonizes the body and the deeper mind, promoting healing and positive growth.

Removing tensions also allows you to penetrate your awareness into the unconscious areas of yourself. You become aware of and can connect to your inner abilities and potential, which expands your inherent sense of self.

Yoga Nidra meditation in therapy

Yoga Nidra is a yoga meditation technique that can be used in therapy to help people recuperate from exhaustion and illness. It can be applied as both a primary therapeutic tool and as an adjunctive treatment for many acute and chronic physical and psychological disease conditions.

How do you practice Yoga Nidra meditation?

You systematically relax each part of your physical body by listening to the calming Big Shakti Yoga Nidra MP3 relaxation guide. Start using Yoga Nidra

Listening to the relaxing MP3 guide, you move your awareness effortlessly through the physical parts of the body, deeply relaxing those parts. Without consciously trying, more subtle layers of your mind also relax, and very deep rest is the result.

Big Shakti’s guided yoga and meditation MP3s and courses

To learn more about Yoga Nidra meditation, the other forms of meditation that we teach here at Big Shakti, and our courses, please go to our Meditation page and to the Guided Yoga and Meditation Courses page.

To read more about how Yoga Nidra meditation activates the hidden powers within your unconscious read Awaken the Power of Your Unconscious with Yoga Nidra.


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