What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is a quick (35 minutes) guided relaxation without movement. It can replace up to four hours of sleep.
It simply feels good.
Remove the irrelevant
Living a simple life.
Negative impressions which we collect during our lifetime as a human are decreasing our potential of expansion. We experience an inner conflict of feeling limited and we start to suffer. In order to free ourselves from experiencing duality (black and white thinking) we use Yoga to create space. Yoga Nidra is a key to unlock our true nature and develop strenght to be able to focus on possibilities and beauty in life (Saraswati 2003:06;33). It is a scientifically proven relaxation technique and has been refined by Paramahamsa Satyananda. It is one of the most important techniques of the Bihar Yoga tradition.
One state of mind is Pratyahara. In Pratyahara we resolve the identification of the mind with the senses. Imprints on the mind are released to the surface and are then being cleared. The common way of relaxation is understood to consist in reading a book, listening to music or having a cup of tea - but actually this is a further sensory stimulus. Instead, we want a state of the mind in the present, free from fears, worries, problems, stress and overstimulus. "If you are tired and go to bed and think that you relax, you will never experience relaxation, because you have not resolved mental and emotional tensions before. (Saraswati 2010:09) Yoga Nidra interrupts running thoughts and the activity in the nervous system (Benson, in: Saraswati 2003:14) by operating Alpha waves in the brain (8-13 cycles per second). The result is a complete dissolution of physical, mental and emotional tension (Saraswati 2003:03).
Anger, fear and jealousy integrate in the body and mind (also circulation and respiratory system). As a consequence adrenaline is released and provokes permanent muscular and mental tension and therefore a higher need for energy in the whole system. In the deep relaxation of Yoga Nidra the mind is separated from the body and therefore the muscles, the nerves and the blood vessels are completely relaxed and rejuvenated.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati states that the biggest challenge of the current time is tension. Pent up tension and body tenseness is the basis for unhappy familiy lifes, chaos in social life, aggression and tension between societies and nations.
Inner peace is the prerequisite for peace in the world.
You need the light of a lamp to fight darkness.
Yoga Nidra teaches substantial capabilities:
- Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses): We should be in a position to clear our mind in order to be able to enjoy the possibilities that a human life offers. (Saraswati 2003:04) From a narrow view of old patterns we should be able to see all possibilities again.
- Control of tensions - if you have a technique how to control or free yourself of tensions, you know how to deal with your problems in life (emotions and passions). The aim is a spontanous and natural calmness; a feeling of peace that can immediately be integrated within the daily life.
- You should be capable to balance your energies in the same way you are capable to move your hand and your body. Yoga Nidra is a technique to do so.
- The work on a personal sankalpa (resolution) to widen your potential is part of Yoga Nidra.
Courage and Change
Expansion and Release towards your authentic self.
The instructions are only vocal - the participants do not orientate themselves at the teacher, which is an external perspective, but concentrate themselves on their own experience and their individual needs. The aim of teaching is to enable people to take responsibility for their OWN exercise, OWN sadhanas, OWN success and failure and their OWN growth. (Saraswati 2019:13)
Yoga Nidra is a good way to work with traumatized persons (when being accompanied with medical expertise), as there is no body contact and a consciousness on boundaries.
Beginners will slowly and carefully be taught to experience a safe and sound development of their practice. Therefore the basic level (to lie silently without falling asleep) will be practiced quite a while to make sure the development goes along with the mental and physical prerequisites.
How will a unit of Yoga Nidra take place? (advanced):
(min. 20 minutes)
- preparation, perception of body awareness
- state of relaxation (Alpha waves in the brain)
- resolution (Sankalpa)
- circulating of the awareness through the body (Nyasa)
- observation of the breath
- entering the room of the consciousness behind the closed eyes (Chidakasha)
(Alpha and Delta waves in the brain || clearing of impressions
- contrary sensations
(harmonisation of the brain; establishing new patterns)
- resolution (Sankalpa)
- end and systematic return to the state of sensory perception