Yoga Nidra and Samadhi
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Yoga for Complete Relaxation – Yoga Nidra.

The Sanskrit word nidra means sleep. Yoga nidra is different from normal sleep. Yoga nidra is used as one of the pathways to enter Samadhi in Raj yoga. The methodology of yoga nidra suggests that the awareness of the physical self can be used to look inside the self and magnify the inner vision and inner awareness. Raj yoga follows the path of awareness of subconscious and unconscious self so that the individual enters the final state of super consciousness or Samadhi. Yoga nidra is used a methodology to do just this.

The Sanskrit term Chitta is used to represent the expanse of human consciousness. The patterns created on the Chitta because of the various experiences that a person undergoes are known as Vrittis. The Vrittis produce wave like patterns in the mind and the entire area of consciousness. These patterns are created by all the possible stimuli. These wave patterns can be caused as an effect of any kind of stimulus that reaches the brain through the sense organs or they can be through the remembrance of any memories. Even long lost and almost forgotten memories create wave patterns. The conscious mind may have forgotten them but they remain in the subconscious mind. Psychologists take the expanse of the human consciousness as a room that has no exits. Anything that goes in stays in. There are no outlets. There are just compartments like conscious mind and subconscious mind. The memories just slip from the conscious mind to the subconscious mind. Yoga believes in the existence of the super conscious state of mind also. This is the stage of Samadhi. The ultimate goal of all yogic practices, including yoga nidra is to emerge into this state of super consciousness or Samadhi.

It is important to understand the similarities and differences between nidra or sleep and Samadhi. In yoga nidra the sleep is considered to be a very potent form of Vritti. The basic Vrittis recognized by Raj yoga are right knowledge, wrong knowledge, imagination, sleep and memory. It is believed that sleep also causes wave patterns in the brain. This has also been proven scientifically. Sleep is akin to a state of temporary Samadhi because in the state of sleep the ego is temporarily withdrawn and in the state of Samadhi the ego is permanently withdrawn. But the basic difference between sleep and Samadhi is that in the state of Samadhi there is absolute awareness of the inner self while in sleep there is only a trace of inner awareness. So sleep is considered to be a state of hibernation and Samadhi is a state of Chaitanya or marvellous state of supreme consciousness.

According to the Tantra and Kundalini yoga the state of sleep and consciousness are explained dependent upon the Chakra where the prana rests. When the sleep occurs the prana are brought down through various Chakras. This is dependent upon the level of consciousness and experience potential of an individual. In the individuals who are not highly evolved mentally the prana rests in manipura and swadhisthana chakras in the state of dreams. This state is similar to their active waking state also. The people with more evolved and sattvic or pious temperament the prana operates in the vishuddhi chakra in times of complete unconsciousness and in the dreaming state in the anahata chakra. In the humans who are highly mentally evolved the prana rests in sahasrara chakra during the state of unconsciousness and in the ajna during the state of dreams and visualization.

The state of sleep in the situation where the brain shows the wave pattern as completely homogenous is the state of total unconsciousness. In yogic beliefs this state of total unconsciousness is called Hiranyagarbha. This is a state where no differences are perceived. This is a point in perception from where all the creation proceeds further.

The secret of emerging into the state of super consciousness or Samadhi from this state of total unconsciousness is to open up a minute point of awareness into total unconsciousness. This then goes on expanding and the person finally emerges into the state of total awareness or Samadhi.

Many people advocate the usage of various symbols to guide the consciousness through the state of total unconsciousness into complete awareness. If one sees a symbol the individual is in the state of conscious plane. When the symbol is visualized the individual is in the subconscious plane. When the individual has visualized the symbol in its exactitude and one is neither aware that one is visualizing it nor one is aware of time nor space, the person is beyond the plane of all cognition. This is the state where there is no awareness of the symbol also. The symbol becomes a complete entity. It is like opening of a minute window in the darkness of the soul. This is like coming out of the state of total consciousness. The last and final stage is when the symbol is also eliminated completely. This is the state of Samadhi. In this state there are no forms or symbols just complete blissful consciousness.

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