Written by Dee Oh (referencing Jennifer Fitzsimmons' Pathways Academy of Life Yoga Teacher Training and various other sources)
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra, also known as yogic sleep, guided meditation/relaxation, is a practice that systematically brings a person into deep relaxation of the body, mind and spirit. In this deep state of relaxation, one experiences healing of the body, mind and spirit in various forms depending on the meditation script that a yoga nidra teacher goes through with the student.
The level of relaxation attained in Yoga Nidra lessens the harmful effects of the fight and flight response and also alters the circulating levels of the stress hormones, adrenalin and cortisol secreted by the adrenal glands. The deep, physiological rest obtained by the organs and body systems in the practice sets the body's powerful inbuilt regenerative devices into action, bringing balance and health back to the body, mind and emotions.
There is a systematic procedure that is followed:
1) Preparation - students are required to ease themselves into a relaxing body position, normally the dead corpse pose (Savanasa), where one lies with feet wide apart, hands beside the body with palms facing the ceiling, eyes closed and making any adjustments to the body to allow it to melt into the ground in relaxation.
2) Relaxation - students are induced into deeper relaxation through various methods including being told to relax by the instructor, the student telling each and every part of his body, mind and spirit to relax. Usually when in a Yoga Nidra session following a Hatha Yoga or Vinyasa Flow Yoga physical class at Dee Dream Life, the students should be already more relaxed than prior to the class from the physical poses, breath control work, meditative work and stretching.
3) Breathing - students are told to breathe more and more deeply into the lungs and synchronise the breath to the rising and sinking of the navel. To further induce deeper relaxation, students are also asked to count their own breaths from 10 down to 1. With each new inhalation, the navel rises higher and higher towards the ceiling and with each exhalation, the student should feel more and more relaxed as the navel sinks further and further into the ground.
4) Rotation of Consciousness through the Body - students' awareness and attention are taken to each part of the body from the feet up to the crown of the head to mentally send signals to all of the bones, joints, muscles, tissues and cells to release any tension and relax.
5) Visualisation - students are brought to visualise an imaginary beautiful atmosphere where they experience relaxation through all senses which are heightened. Many different visualisation atmospheres are available and mostly involve the students being in a relaxing, peaceful and quiet natural environment. The cleansing of the body, mind, spirit and aura takes place during visualisation and is followed by the re-balancing of the 7 chakras (energy centres) through the imaginary immersion of one's inner body and surrounding electromagnetic field with the colours of the rainbow.
6) Inner space - students are guided to find their own inner space and to fill it with positive feelings and vibrations of love, peace and calm. Students are also reminded how loved and blessed each and every person is on this earth by God/The Creator as he/she envisions strong vibrations of love surrounding and saturating his/her body.
7) Resolution - resolutions are short mental statements that students are required to remind themselves as positive reinforcements of their own personal goals, desired destiny in life, personal beliefs of life and themselves, amongst many other things. For example, a student can tell oneself "I am positive, I am beautiful, I am healed, I am blessed, I am loved, I can do things by myself, I can achieve things I set my mind to, I can control my thoughts, words and actions, I can be loving and kind, etc...". It is recommended that rsolutions are made to assist in the transforming of one's nature and stated as though it has already occurred. Some people use it to break a habit/addiction or achieve goals.
Hope this article helps you in further understanding and deepening your yoga practice.
Peace be with you always.
Lots of love,