Yoganidra is a yoga routine which helps in the recovery of your body. It is a state of deep sleep but wherein you are aware of yourself and your thoughts and is a phase between waking and sleeping. Yoganidra is practiced for extreme relaxation. It is a sleep meditation for the restoration of your body and one of the most deepest meditative states.
Why should you do it and how does it help you?
Yoganidra, as mentioned above is a state of conscious deep sleep resulting in restoration and relaxation of your body. It is an easily accessible form of meditation. It can also be done after all your yoga postures and also works as a cool down after a strenuous physical activity. Yoganidra makes your meditation practice effective when added at the end. People of all age groups can do it and does not have a flexibility parameter either. As you practice yoganidra, you unfold the 5 layers within yourself called as the 5 koshas which are - the physical body, energy body, mental body, wisdom body and bliss body. You can understand your emotions, fears, desires and let go of any negative thoughts which have had a strong hold over you for a long time. Yoganidra helps in stress reduction and emotional healing. It improves the quality of sleep and generally said that 30mins of yoganidra is equivalent to almost 2 to 3 hours of deep sleep. Depression, insomnia, hypertension, migraine and even asthma can be controlled by yoganidra. It is believed to improve concentration, grasping and memory, making the mind sharper. The entire body relaxation technique relieves all the physical pain.
Here is a link to a scientific article which shows the images of the brain along with explanation while meditators practicing yoga nidra.
How to do it?
Yoganidra is a feeling process more than a doing process. You have to feel the awareness in your body sliding to every muscle. Don't worry if you fall asleep during the process as you will experience the effects when you wake up. Here are a few pointers on how can get into this conscious deep sleep.
1. Lie down in the shavasana position (corpse like posture) and give your body the proper support especially your neck and knees by keeping a pillow. Keep a comfortable distance between your body and arms and also between your legs.
2. Close your eyes and relax them. Do not squeeze them shut forcefully otherwise it will cause a strain on your eyes.
3. Take deeps breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Emphasize more on exhaling.
4. Focus and be aware of every body part one by one releasing the tension and relaxing as you move further.
5. Repeat step 4 and then be aware of your entire body as a whole and feeling absolutely relaxed.
6. Prepare yourself to get back to your ordinary senses by moving your fingers gently, taking a few breaths and then open your eyes.
7. Slowly get up and sit in your traditional meditation posture and take a few breaths.
8. You can finish off with some asanas to fully come out of your yogic sleep.
9. Time is not a barrier for this practice. You can do it for 10 minutes, an hour or even fall asleep gradually.
Meditation is not always about sitting in a particular position and connecting with yourself. Yoga nidra proves that there is no such barrier on how to relax. Practice yoga nidra, get in all the positivity and wash off every toxic thought that is troubling you and acquire a peaceful inner self.