Process and Stages Of Yoga Nidra
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Yoga

Yoga for Complete Relaxation – Yoga Nidra.

Yoga nidra is a simple process of relaxation done in a few simple steps. These steps will now be described in greater details. It is a process that is useful for people of all age groups. Everyone can safely practice yoga nidra and reap the benefits of reaching out to the subconscious mind. The care should be taken to go slowly and move up the stages only when the previous stage is mastered.

Basic requirements:

  • Yoga nidra should be performed in a quiet, closed room with comfortable temperature and ventilation.
  • Sudden interruptions should be completely avoided.
  • The room should be semi dark as complete darkness induces sleep and proper relaxation cannot be done in good light.
  • Light, loose fitting clothing should be worn.
  • The temperature of the body falls during the process so a light blanket is advised to be taken.
  • Yoga nidra should be practiced on empty stomach. Time lapse of at least three hours from a heavy meal and half an hour from a light snack is advisable.
  • Yoga nidra can be practiced with the aid of audio tapes but the need for a qualified guru cannot be overruled in any of the yogic processes. Instructions can be read out to the practitioner also.
  • It should be practiced early in the morning between four and six or just before going to sleep at night. It should be done at the same hour everyday. People can practice five to ten minutes of yoga nidra after returning from work in late afternoons also. This makes the transition from office to home life easier.

Basic practice of Yoga nidra:

Stage1 Yoga nidra:

This is the introductory stage of yoga nidra.

Preparation:

  • Prepare for yoga nidra by lying on the back in Shavasana and adjusting oneself for maximum comfort. There should be no movement during the whole practice thereafter.
  • Eyes should remain closed.
  • Relaxing by breathing deeply is done. Feeling of relaxation should be deliberately felt with each breath.

Relaxation:

  • Concentration on the deeper feeling of relaxation inside the whole body is to be felt. Chanting 'O-o-o-o-m-m-m' is done to feel the innermost energy in this deepest state of relaxation.
  • Let the body be aware that one is practicing yoga nidra. It should be told by thinking about it.

Resolve:

  • At the first stage the resolve should be made to self in an assertive way in a short, positive statement in simple language.
  • The resolve has to be stated three times with empathy, feeling and emphasis.
  • It is seen that any resolve made during this time comes true in life so it has to be chosen with great care.

Rotation of consciousness:

  • This is done by taking a trip to different parts of the body with simultaneous awareness of that part.
  • The part is thought about and awareness is created of that part of the body and moved to another part very quickly. This is called rotation of consciousness or rotation of awareness.
  • This rotation of awareness is done from right to left of the body beginning with each part of the right hand reaching out to the shoulders. Then reaching out to the hips and going lower to the toes.
  • After reaching the tips of legs again awareness of the shoulders and arms is done.
  • Then awareness reaches the head and both sides of the head, face and forehead. Then to the throat, chest, navel, abdomen, whole of the back and front. Then the whole body together has to reach a state of awareness.

Breathing:

  • Concentration of breathing is done without any extra effort.
  • Concentration of the movement of the navel with each breath along with synchronization with the breath is done by counting backwards from 27 to 1 with each number corresponding with rise and fall of the navel.
  • In the same way shifting the attention to the chest counting has to be resumed with chest.
  • Same way attention is moved to the throat and counting resumed.

Image visualization:

In this stage a number of objects are named and they have to be visualized with as many details as possible without concentrating too hard. The visualizations have to be done with empathy, feeling and vividness.

Resolve:

The same resolve as earlier is repeated thrice with empathy, feeling and full awareness.

Finish:

  • All efforts should now be slowly relaxed; awareness of your natural breathing should come gradually.
  • Awareness of the body with respect to the surroundings should slowly come back.
  • A sense of development of awareness of the body from top of the head to the tip of toes is to be done with mental chanting of 'O-o-o-m-m-m'.
  • Start moving and stretching the body, lie quietly for some time before getting up.

This remains the basic practice of yoga nidra although in subsequent stages the visualization and awareness of consciousness is made more vivid.

Stage 2 Yoga nidra:

  • The basic stages remain the same, at the step of image visualization feeling of heaviness and lightness of the body is practiced alternately. Same way visualization of cold and heat is awakened. And pain and pleasure are also alternately experienced.
  • Mind is withdrawn and concentrated on the space in front of the closed eyes. This space is called Chidakasha. Imagine a transparent screen through which infinite space can be seen. Concentrate on this space in a detached way without becoming involved.
  • Visualize a park or temple or mountain top during the early hours of the morning with all finer details of nature.
  • Bring the awareness back to Chidakasha.
  • Make your resolve again thrice.

Stage 3 Yoga nidra:

  • During the Chidakasha stage imagine yourself watching the space in an uninvolved way. If you see patterns it is just how the way the mind is manifesting the experience.
  • The attention is to brought now to the centre of eyebrows and imagining that you are sitting in meditative posture chanting 'Om' in synchronization with the breath. Alternatively visualization of a golden door opening is also done. After opening the golden door and coming to the entrance of a dark cave moving inside until reaching a flaming golden egg is done. This is awareness of the big self and the little self.
  • Return awareness to Chidakasha.
  • Repeat the resolve.

Stage 4 Yoga nidra:

  • Visualization includes doing yogic asanas. All postures are done mentally without moving the body.
  • Traveling into the past to the present to the past is done. This is done to access the hidden recesses of the subconscious mind.
  • Intense and vivid visualization of the temple or the golden egg is to be followed.

Stage 5 Yoga nidra:

  • This is the final stage of yoga nidra and so the visualization intensifies tremendously. There is intense concentration on all chakras of the body.
  • Intense realization of the body and all its organs is done.
  • Awareness of one's aura as if one is looking at oneself in the mirror is done. Awareness of various colours of the aura in all their vividness is done.
  • Awareness of the flaming golden egg visual intensifies and reaches its peak here.

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