Yoga nidra, meaning yogic sleep, is a practice of systematically peeling back the various layers of consciousness in order to bring awareness and balance to the conscious, subconscious, and normally unconscious aspects of self. Unlike typical meditation, it requires absolutely no effort. All you have to do is lie back, relax, and listen to the instructor. You will then be guided through all layers of being- the physical form, the energy body, the mind, and the subconscious mind until reaching a point of complete stillness and deep rest. Just one hour of yoga nidra is worth about four hours of deep sleep, making this practice hugely beneficial to those who struggle with insomnia or other sleeping issues, as well as general stress, anxiety, depression, and more!
Through the practice of yoga nidra, one learns to move beyond the body, beyond the mind, and into the superconscious state known as Turiya, where one is simultaneously aware of the waking, dream, and deep sleep states without being affected by any of them. From this space one can see thought and behavioral patterns clearly, including where they originate. Negative patterns can then be uprooted and replaced with new guiding thoughts that promote internal peace, balance, and personal fulfillment. One’s deepest and truest desires are also uncovered, giving you access to a sense of purpose and a meaningful direction to move in. With yoga nidra, realigning with your highest purpose and reprogramming the mind to match this purpose happens automatically, enabling personal growth to happen smoothly at a very rapid rate.
While this experience has been described in yogic texts for thousands of years, it is now being observed in the laboratory as well. The superconscious state of Turiya shows up in the brain with enhanced operation in the higher cortex, the conscious brain, and less arousability in the limbic centers of the emotional brain. In this “cerebral awakening” we find “heightened levels of internal and external awareness with simultaneosly decreased emotional reactivity,” leading to “greater autonomic stability, enhanced emotional control and an increasingly conscious destiny” (Satyananda, Yoga Nidra).
I have been guiding yoga nidra for two years now, and I love to share this practice with anyone and everyone I can. It doesn’t require dogma or belief in anything but your self, making it accessible and beneficial to people from all walks of life. This practice can also enhance the affects of other healing modalities. By incorporating it into massage, yoga, and energy work sessions, one can drop into full relaxation immediately and speed up the healing process. If you are someone who has been receiving bodywork regularly without accomplishing any lasting change, incorporating yoga nidra may help you to fully break your current holding patterns and alter the way you think and move through the rest of your life.
If you’re intrigued, give it a try! I have just posted my first free session on soundcloud, and will continue to do so on a monthly basis. These sessions are general, but powerful. I am also happy to create specialized sessions for anyone who is looking to work on any specific issues.