Meditation techniques like Vipassana, japa, and walking are found within Buddhist lineages. Yoga nidra, or yogic sleep, is related to the fifth limb of yoga, pratyahara where the senses are withdrawn. It can be done consciously when we take breaks from computers, phones, media, and other people.
Yoga nidra is a guided meditation that relaxes the body in order to calm the mind. According to yoga master Sri Swami Satyananda Saraswati, yoga nidra can heal the mind and body. It is sometimes offered at the end of yoga classes while in Corpse Pose (Savasana). The senses are withdrawn while listening to the guidance to scan the body, which leads to a relaxed state between being awake and asleep.
There are several tools used in yoga nidra that facilities a calm body and mind. Lying down on the back or side is key and encouraged so the body is completely relaxed.
Thoughts Become Things
The sankalpa, or resolve, is a positive affirmation in the present tense. Example: I am worthy of unconditional love. It is a seed of intention that changes beliefs, behaviors, and direction of life. Repeating the sankalpa reinforces changes in the subconscious mind by replacing the old ways of thinking with new.
Visualizations are also given to heighten the brain’s capacity. Some yoga nidra meditations use colors, symbols, and locations to improve memory. Similar to the use of sankalpas, repetition creates healthier mental activity.
Sitting Meditation or Yogic Sleep
Many individuals jump around doing various meditation practices and complain of not getting what they want from it. It is beneficial to experience different techniques to know which resonates best.
Sitting meditation sharpens focus and deepens concentration. It then leads to bliss. Yoga nidra calms mind and body so one can focus and concentrate better. It is often used as a step before doing sitting meditation.
The ultimate goal of yoga nidra is to do it as a self-guided practice. It is a foundation for a healthier lifestyle. If frustration comes up during sitting meditation, take a step back and relax into yoga nidra.