Monday, March 26, 2012

Yoga Nidra - The Yogic Sleep

Yoga Nidra or the Yogic Sleep is one of the practices that the yogis have been practicing for going deep into their being or getting established in the awareness of the self, the natural state of existence.

A combination of Yoga nidra and the sitting meditative pose will help one realize the natural state of awareness quicker. If one is already an advanced student of meditation, one does not put any special effort to do yoga nidra as it naturally happens. If one is in the early stages of the practice, it will greatly help to progress faster. 

Yoga nidra is not a special technique. It is simply the way of observing. Just by observing, one gets established in the natural state of awareness and not by doing anything. If you know what to observe and how to observe, you achieve best results.

One of the main requirements of yoga nidra is the ability to relax the body completely. Just completely let go! The technique that I am going to share will help one relax better. The next step is plain observation. The rest will happen on its own.

For a proper relaxation, savasana or the corpse pose is the best. Being in the corpse pose, passing your mind through each and every part is the best way to relax. While passing through the individual body parts, you could feel the warmth of the body, the blood circulation, the pulse or anything that you are able to feel. But, to get the feel is quite important. When your mind gets sharp enough,  as you practice, you shall be perfectly able to feel the subtler vibrations. If you are a practitioner of Vipassana, in the tradition of Goenka, this is going to be a very easy task for you. It is because, in Vipassana, the whole importance is on the sensations of the body. Working with the sensations makes the mind sharp and piercing. Only when you are able to feel the subtler vibrations of the body (I would prefer to call it the feel of etheric body), a perfect relaxation is possible. When the mind is not sharp enough, we may not notice the tensed regions of the body and we may think that each and every part is relaxed. When the mind is sharp enough to feel these vibrations, the rest of the job is very easy and it will just happen.

The next step is observation. When we speak of observation, we have to either observe the mental contents (the thoughts) or the contents of the body/matter (the sensation). Both are just two sides of the same coin. Observing the mental content may be good for meditation. But, for yoga nidra, it is better to stick with the sensations of the body as you have to allow the mind to completely relax or dissolve to enter the state of yoga nidra. In yoga nidra, you become a perfect observer of the mind. Once you advance, you may enter the state of yoga nidra by observing the mental contents too. But, it is always easier to enter the state of yoga nidra by observing the sensations.

One should perfectly understand the importance of a pure observation. Let me give an example. Let us suppose, you are watching your favourite TV programme. You are so involved in it, that you may even miss someone passing near you. Here your mind was so immersed in one thing, that you are not aware of the rest of the world (a sort of samadhi). In the same manner, if you just stick with the sensation/the subtler vibrations, you would naturally not be bothered by the passing thoughts. When you reach that state, you naturally enter the state of yoga nidra. 

So, what you are going to do is, completely relax and start observing the sensations. Just keep on observing the sensations. You may fall into a sort of sleep in a deep relaxed state. But, you just keep on observing the sensations.  You need not note that you are falling asleep. When you are an adept in pure observation, your body will naturally sleep and you shall be able to observe it. You shall be aware of what is happening in that state. It is called yoga nidra. It is not a state of unconsciousness as in the case of deep sleep. It is a state where your are in a deep awareness. You are awareness itself.

Some additional points that may help you:

If you are new to observing the sensations of the body, it is better to feel the sensations part by part, moving your mind slowly. Once you become good enough in doing that, you would be able to observe the whole of your body as a mass of vibrating particles. When you are able to observe the whole of your body, it is easier to fall into the state of yoga nidra.

Do not expect to enter the state of yoga nidra on the first day of your practice. It takes time. We have to allow the things to happen on its own. That is the state of the mind which is 'just observing'. You need not have to do anything.

1 comment:

  1. With Yoga Nidra, We will get body relaxation. this is the one of the great pose of Yoga.