WHAT IS THE DEFINITION & THE STAGES OF YOGA NIDRA ?INNER YOGA-30
THE DEFINITION OF YOG-NIDRA ;- 07 FACTS;-- 1-In the modern scenario, human life has become very fast, hectic and demanding. The present lifestyle demands adjustment on the part of the individual. Each of us, as per our coping resources, tries to adjust in this changing world. Some adjust by becoming overactive and others by withdrawing from the situation. 2-When we fail to make a proper adjustment according to the demands of the situation, a state of negative stress or distress develops in our personality, which gives rise to mental or psychological problems. In most people the mind always remains in a state of arousal and tension. Yoga nidra, as a technique of pratyahara, not only provides relaxation to the body and mind but also has a number of benefits. 3-Yoga nidra is one of the practices of pratyahara ; where the awareness is internalized. Literally, yoga nidra means 'psychic sleep' i.e. sleep with full awareness. In the practice of yoga nidra the body sleeps but the mind remains awake listening to the instructions. In psychology, the state achieved in yoga nidra is termed the hypnogogic(relating to the state immediately before falling asleep)state, a state between sleep and wakefulness. Yoga nidra has its origin in the ancient tantric practice called nyasa (Point-08 ). 4-It is a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, like the "going-to-sleep" stage. It is a state in which the body is completely relaxed, and the practitioner becomes systematically and increasingly aware of the inner world by following a set of verbal instructions. 5- This state of consciousness (yoga nidra) is different from meditation in which concentration on a single focus is required. In yoga nidra the practitioner remains in a state of light pratyahara with four of his or her senses internalised, that is, withdrawn, and only the hearing still connects to the instructions. 6- The yogic goal of both paths, deep relaxation (yoga nidra) and meditation are the same, a state called samadhi.Yoga nidra is among the deepest possible states of relaxation while still maintaining full consciousness. 7-In lucid (expressed clearly)dreaming, one is only, or mainly, cognizant of the dream environment, and has little or no awareness of one's actual environment. Yoga nidra refers to the conscious awareness of the deep sleep state, referred to as prajna in Mandukya Upanishad. Yoga Nidra has two distinct meanings 7-1. A Yoga-tantra technique;- Yoga Nidra is a powerful relaxation and meditation technique.The Yoga Nidra technique enables you to remain aware while you enter into the dream and sleeping states of consciousness. The technique is practical and easily accessible, while creating deep relaxation for health, mental peace and higher awareness. Ultimately, Yoga Nidra enables you to experience exalted states of higher consciousness. 7-2. An Indian philosophical concept Vishnu in Yoga Nidra;- Many Indian philosophical and mythological texts refer to Yoga Nidra as the state that occurs when the Indian god Vishnu sleeps at the time when creation is destroyed (called pralaya). Vishnu is the cohesive power of the universe, so when he sleeps, the universe dissolves. Modern usage of the term Yoga Nidra typically refers to the relaxation and meditation technique i.e. a short cut rather than to the state of absorption into the highest Self. 8-WHAT IS NYASA ? (Awakening subtle energy) 1-The characteristic feature of Yoga Nidra is the systematic rotation of consciousness in the body, which originated from the tantric process of nyasa (meaning ‘to place’ or ‘to take the mind to a point’). 2-During nyasa, a yogi consciously touches various parts of his or her body while repeating mantras. When this is done in the prescribed manner, the yogi can awaken subtle energy within the physical matter of the body. WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF YOGA NIDRA ?--- STAGES;-- The practice of yoga nidra is divided into the following stages:--- 1. PREPARATION :--- Yoga nidra is performed in the posture of shavasana, with the eyes closed. In this stage, initial relaxation of the body and mind is induced (convince) by the awareness of stillness, comfort, posture, position, breath, and listening to the external sounds with the attitude of a witness. 2. SANKALPA :--- When the body and mind are relaxed, then the practitioner is instructed to take a resolve according to his or her own wish. The sankalpa should be short, clear and positive. The practitioner repeats the selected sankalpa three times mentally, with full determination, conviction and confidence. 3. ROTATION OF CONSCIOUSNESS :--- In the third stage, the awareness is rotated around the different body parts in a systematic and organized manner. The practitioner is instructed to remain aware, to listen to the instructions and to move the mind very rapidly according to the instructions without making any physical movements. 3-1-The rotation of awareness in yoga nidra follows a definite sequence: right side of the body, beginning with the right hand thumb and ending with the little toe of the right foot; left side of the body, from the left hand thumb to the little toe of the left foot; back of the body, from the heels to the back of the head; and lastly the front of the body, from the forehead and individual facial features to the legs. 4. BREATH AWARENESS :--- In this stage, one simply becomes aware of the natural breath without making an attempt to change the flow of the breath. One may become aware of the breath by watching it in the nostrils, chest, and abdomen, or in the passage between the navel and the throat. The practitioner becomes aware of each incoming and outgoing breath by counting them mentally. 5. OPPOSITE FEELINGS & SENSATIONS :--- In this stage, the physical or emotional sensations are recalled, intensified and experienced fully. Usually this is practised with pairs of opposite feelings or sensations like heat and cold, heaviness and lightness, pain and pleasure, love and hate, and so on. 6. VISUALIZATION :--- In the stage of visualization, the awareness is taken to the dark space in front of the closed eyes, referred to as chidakashain yogic terminology. The practitioner is then instructed to visualize some objects, stories or situations in the chidakasha. 7. SANKALPA --- Once again the sankalpa, taken in stage two, is repeated mentally three times in this stage with full dedication, faith and optimism. 8. ENDING THE PRACTICE :--- Before ending the session of yoga nidra, slowly the awareness is externalized by asking the practitioner to become aware of the external sounds, objects and persons. They are asked then to slowly move the body parts and to stretch the body. NOTE;- 1-Yoga nidra means psychic sleep. Sleep rests the body, but yoga nidra rests both the mind and body. When you are asleep, your consciousness sleeps in your astral body, but in yoga nidra your consciousness is awake within. 2-Yoga nidra performs two beneficial functions. It removes fatigue and invigorates (refresh) the body. The stresses and strains of daily life create tensions and these rob the mind of its serenity. Yoga nidra removes tensions and restores the elasticity (ability to change and adapt)of your mind. 3-The evils of day-to-day life are deposited in our subconscious mind and in due course they exert a deleterious (causing harm) influence on our mental make-up. Just as our house must be swept daily to keep it tidy, similarly, to have a normal personality we must remove the samskaras, the mental dirt that accumulates daily in our subconscious. Yoga nidra performs this essential service for us, removing our mental abnormalities and clearing the way to spiritual progress. HOW TO PRACTICE YOGA NIDRA ?---- 1-First do a few asanas and pranayamas and follow them up with yoga nidra. This technique is best learned from the guru /guide. Not that it will harm you if you practise it on your own, the chances are that every time you begin you will end up falling asleep. Then your samskaras will not be destroyed and you will not make any progress. To be absolutely successful, yoga nidra presupposes a spirit of communion between the guide/guru and the disciple. 2-Yoga nidra should not be practised immediately after meals. Mentally sick persons should practise it three times a day for longer durations, say for one hour each session, after a preparatory round of asanas and pranayamas. 3-Trataka will increase the efficacy if practised before yoga nidra, but if it is found to be too difficult, then shambhavi mudra or nasikagra drishti can be done. These preliminaries are important to performed. Yoga nidra is a psycho-physiological therapy. WHAT IS YOGA NIDRA ?-- 1- It is a state in which you are neither asleep nor awake. If you fall asleep, it is not yoga nidra. If you remain awake, then too it is not yoga nidra. If dreams overtake you, it is not yoga nidra. Yoga nidra is a state in which there is awareness of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious fields of your mind all at one time. It is a perfect therapy. It removes all psychological abnormalities and samskaras, and helps you to become your normal, natural self. 2-Patanjali has defined yoga as the control of the chitta vrittis, mental modifications. Good behaviour is the outcome of the chitta vrittis; similarly, bad behaviour is also the outcome of the chitta vrittis. Our conscious, subconscious and unconscious fields are our chitta. Simultaneous awareness of these three fields is Aham asmi or ‘I am’. This state in which you are aware but not aware that you are aware comes in yoga nidra. Thereafter a process of sure but imperceptible (unnoticeable )sublimation (“raised to a higher status'' )takes place within. 3-It is said that meditation creates a fire which burns away our sins. But what is sin?Answer is;-- Actions which create uneasiness and abnormal feelings in the mind are sins. Cynics (doubter) dismiss the word sin with a smile of derision (mockery). Whenever your conscience pricks you for any of your actions, that action is sin. Cynics are no exception to this rule; sin is there whether they admit it or not. 4- In meditation your consciousness penetrates the various layers of your inner self. This is the fire that burns away the dross of samskaras within. Thereafter comes the yogic state of supreme peace and tranquillity of mind described in the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. 5-Yoga nidra is one of the main techniques for the attainment of this peace. The all important point in yoga nidra as well as in other meditation practices is that you must not allow yourself to fall asleep. In yoga nidra, sleep tries to overpower you. If you can overcome this weakness, you will gain in willpower, and through willpower you can do great things in your life. 6-If sleep comes, concentrate on the body or on the sleep itself as if it is trying to possess you and you are watching it. If images arise before your mind, go on watching them. In yoga nidra, when you feel that you are unconscious, it actually means that you are conscious of being unconscious. 7-Circumstances or worldly ties are not hindrances to spiritual progress. The only hindrances are your own ignorance and sloth (state of being lazy). We must make the blessings of yoga nidra as widely known as possible. Many mental and physical disorders of both young and old are cured by yoga nidra. It is a psychosomatic technique and could do immense good to our children if educational institutions were to include it in their curriculum. IS YOGA NIDRA ANCIENT PATTERN? The practice of yoga nidra is very old. You can still find references to it in the tantric texts.Yoga nidra is intended to use the mind to transcend the mind. Yoga nidra is not only beneficial for developing personality,but also useful for spiritually minded people, especially in the beginning. Of course, we don't have mental or physical problems in common, but everybody has spiritual problems; in order to solve spiritual problems,it is essential. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOGA NIDRA & PSYCHOANALYSIS ?-- 1-In yoga nidra there is virtually no knowledge of the experiences whereas in psychoanalysis you are aware of each and everything that is happening, but at the same time the problems and complexes are brought to the surface and examined. During yoga nidra the problems and complexes inherent in the mind are dissolved of their own accord in deep states of relaxation. 2-However, in psychoanalysis it is a very lengthy process and finally nothing is resolved. The purpose is the same, but yoga nidra is very easy. It is not a very technical and complicated process. Practically everyone can do it after a little training. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOGA NIDRA & TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION?-- 1-Transcendental meditation is a combination of mantra and antar mouna, which means you go on practising a particular mantra and become aware of all that is happening in your mind. In yoga nidra you do not use a mantra at all, but you use your own mind without bringing in anything from outside to influence you. 2- In yoga nidra you have created a system for yourself, a particular series of practices ranging from fifteen minutes to half an hour. During that period you lead your mind as you would lead your baby or anybody else from one point to the next and the next. So in yoga nidra you are actually training the mind consciously. You are taking the mind from step to step, from point to point. You are not allowing your mind to run riot, whereas in transcendental meditation you are only practising mantra and if your mind is just dissipating (disappear ), you go on watching it. This is the fundamental difference. ..METHOD OF PERFORMING YOGA NIDRA;--
The following steps show you how to perform Yoga Nidra;--
1-Choose a clear intention, and lie flat on your back, with your arms stretched out by your sides (or however feels most comfortable). Place a pillow or folded blanket behind your neck for support, and use another pillow or folded blanket under your knees for added comfort.
2-Close your eyes.
3-Repeat the clear intention you chose in Step 1 three times.
4-Take a couple deep breaths, emphasizing exhalation.
5-Starting with your right side, rotate your awareness through all parts on that side of your body — limb by limb — in fairly quick succession. Follow this progression: each finger, palm of the hand, back of the hand, hand as a whole, forearm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder joint, shoulder, neck, each section of the face (forehead, eyes, nose, and so on), ear, scalp, throat, chest, side of the rib cage, shoulder blade, waist, stomach, lower abdomen, genitals, buttocks, whole spine, thigh, top and back of knee, shin, calf, ankle, top of foot, heel, sole, toes.
6-Be aware of your body as a whole.
7-Repeat the rotation in Step 5 on the left side, ending with the whole-body awareness described in Step 6.
8-Repeat Steps 5 through 7 one or more times until you achieve an adequate level of relaxation.
9-Continue to be aware of the whole body and the space surrounding it, feeling the stillness and peace.
10-Reaffirm your initial intention three times.
11-Mentally prepare to return to ordinary consciousness.
12-Gently move your fingers for a few moments, take a deep breath, and then open your eyes.
THE KEY POINTS ;--
1-No time limit applies to your Yoga Nidra performance unless you impose one. Expect to come out of Yogic Sleep naturally, whether you return after only 15 minutes or a whole hour. Or you may just fall asleep.
2-If you have things to do afterward, make sure you set your phone or meditation app for a gentle wake-up call. Don’t rush .Take your time to reintegrate with the ordinary world.
3-This is the most powerful yogic technique for personal change at the beginner level. Only the ecstatic state (samadhi) is more transformative. Several good recordings for practicing Yoga Nidra are available, but don’t be surprised to discover that the instructions vary from recording to recording.
4-You can listen to a friend reading the instructions, but listening to a recording by someone else or by you yourself is more practical.