"Yoga nidra is a powerful and unique state of awareness in which the body profoundly relaxes, the thinking mind fades away, emotions seem to evaporate, alertness magnifies, and awareness becomes crisp and clear." - Julie Lusk
Yoga nidra is also known as "yoga sleep." It is the state between sleeping and dreaming. A transitional experience. It is done in the relaxation pose, shavasana. It combines breathing techniques (pranayama), sensory training and control (pratyahara), and meditation (dharana, dhyana, and smadhi). This progression naturally leads us into conscious deep relaxation. It is believed that one hour of yoga nidra is equivalent to four hours of regular sleep (Goel, 2001).
Pratyahara is training and control of the senses. Yoga nidra is a technique used to redirect sensory awareness from an external focus to an internal one. It is not withdrawal from living life. Instead, the process of pratyahara expands our awareness and we become more sensitized to living life more authentically. With practice, our senses are no longer outwardly active (noticing sounds, smells, etc.). When this happens, our attention naturally turns inward and we are lead into a natural state of inner concentration or meditation.
Yoga nidra gives us techniques, via the koshas, to understand and go through and experience our true Self. Through the systematic process of yoga nidra, our senses move inward and past each of the kosha layers bringing us into profound relaxation and renewal, allowing us to be inwardly reflective. It is meditative, revitalizing, and enables us to remember our true Self.
1. Preparation 2. Sankalpa 3. Rotation of consciousness 4. Breath awareness 5. Opposite feelings and sensations 6. Visualization 7. Sankalpa 8. Ending the practice
You can experience yoga nidra by downloading yoga nidra apps on your phone or finding recorded sessions on YouTube. My favorite teachers of yoga nidra are Rod Stryker and Richard Miller. Richard Miller's yoga nidra practice is also known as "eye rest."