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Download Yoga Nidra

The practice of Yoga Nidra

Medical practitioners and health professionals are agreed on the importance of relaxation as a remedy for the over wrought nervous system, work pressures and emotional upheavals. The question, however, is how to accomplish the deceptively simple task of relaxing. People feel they are relaxing when they slump into an armchair, read a newspaper or watch television. This is merely a diversion, however, and stress remains unresolved. Even a night's sleep rarely leads to complete recovery. Most people think that relaxation is very simple. If you are tired, you go to bed and think that should be sufficient. But unless you have released your muscular, mental and emotional tensions, you are never truly relaxed. Sleep will be fitful even if you manage to get to sleep in the first place. The worries of the day revolve continuously in the mind and the tense person often wakes up feeling even more exhausted than when he went to bed. Unresolved tension is thus carried over into the next working day, accumulating over the weeks and months, and eventually culminating in a host of degenerative disorders that have become a plague in modern society.

A very ancient practice called Yoga Nidra or yogic sleep provides a solution, if practiced regularly. Yoga Nidra is a systematic method of inducing complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation. During the practice, one appears to be asleep, but the consciousness is functioning at a deeper level of awareness.

Yoga Nidra was devised by Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati from traditional Tantric practices. He describes it as psychic sleep, in which the person is neither fully awake nor is he fast asleep. The practice involves following a set of instructions that leads to a state of being in which the person is held in a borderline state between waking consciousness and unconscious sleep.

You, literally, fall asleep to the world around you and awaken to the world within you. Unlike ordinary sleep, however, you remain aware of the whole experience. Basically, you are aware of your surroundings, but are still able to distance yourself from it, achieving a state of relaxation that leaves you totally receptive to healing and regeneration.

All the three kinds of muscular, emotional, and mental tensions are released in yoga nidra and thus it is highly beneficial for people suffering from psychosomatic diseases such as hypertension, stress, diabetes, migraine, asthma, ulcers, digestive disorders that are caused by the tensions in the body and mind.

In yoga nidra, you not only enjoy the complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation but also get to explore the tremendous powers hidden in the deeper layers of the mind, the subconscious and unconscious. By making yoga nidra a part of your daily life, you not only relax completely, but you can restructure and reform your whole personality from within. The subconscious mind comes more the foreground while the conscious mind moves to the background.

This is why having an intention for the practice, a sankalpa, you can reprogram your mind in a more positive way. A sankalpa is a short affirmative statement of intent. It should be based on a truly heartfelt desire, for example:

I am healthy and happy.

I am self-reliant and resourceful.

I am full of confidence.

I am creative; I have an endless supply of new ideas.

My body is healthy and strong; my heart is pure and loving; my mind is open and clear.

This is planted like a seed deep in the subconscious, bypassing the critical and judgemental conscious process, and will in time become true in outer reality.

A few tips for effective practice

Practice a minimum of three times a week in a place where you are not likely to be disturbed. Turn off the phone.

Practice any time, day or night, but not immediately after meals.

You can practice in bed, if you have trouble sleeping.

Make sure that you are comfortable and warm; place a pillow under the head, also the knees if the back is sore. Cover yourself with a light blanket.

It's important to lie still, avoid fidgeting as much as you can. You need not feel very peaceful at the start.

Remember your intention for the practice and keep to the same intention until you feel it working in your reality.

There is nothing to do, just listen to the instructions and remain aware.

Download a short form of the practice. I sincerely hope you use it and find it beneficial.

Please email me at mary@limerickyogacentre.org with your feedback, suggestions for improvement, questions etc.



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