Yoga Nidra is a highly powerful ancient meditation technique originated from the Tantras. It is the scientific way to eliminate the root cause of all the negativities. Yoga Nidra comprises of the secrets of total transformation which give a real positive direction to our life and eliminate the root cause of all negativities like stress related disorders, ailments like hypertension, depression, insomnia, asthma, digestive disorders, etc which drain our life energy. It is the key to penetrate the latent realms of mind, and train the mental faculties to access the immeasurable powers of the subconscious and unconscious mind.

The Sanskrit word Yoga means ‘union’ or ‘one pointed awareness’ and Nidra means ‘sleep’. In Yoga Nidra, the body, mind and intellect are completely relaxed and one appears to be sleeping but the consciousness is functioning at a deeper level, and the subconscious and unconscious realms of mind get opened up. So Yoga Nidra  is ‘dynamic sleep’ or in other words ‘psychic sleep’ in which you learn to relax consciously.

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 subconscious and unconscious mind.

In the deep relaxation state of Yoga Nidra, the mind is in a state between sleep and wakefulness and its receptivity is many times more than its receptivity in wakeful state. The secret is that the subconscious mind is at front in this state while the conscious mind takes the back seat. The subconscious mind is a very obedient disciple and immediately carries out the orders that you put to it. By practicing Yoga Nidra you can completely train your subconscious mind. Then the ordinary conscious mind and intellect will follow the suit. The subconscious and the unconscious mind are the most powerful forces in the human being. In Yoga Nidra you learn how to access these powerful forces to gain knowledge, cure diseases, increase creativity, and to realize your true self.

When the consciousness is connected to all the senses, the receptivity is less while in the deep state of relaxation, the senses are withdrawn and the receptivity is much greater. Normally, when we sleep, we loose track of our self and cannot utilize this capacity of mind. Yoga Nidra enables the person to be conscious in this state and nurture the seed of great will power, inspire the higher self, and enjoy the vitality of life. So the nature of mind can be changed as required, because when you withdraw your mind from outer world and you are neither in deep sleep nor completely awake, whatever impressions you plant at that time grow and enrich your life.

Yoga Nidra: the holistic relaxation technique

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, and skin diseases that are caused by the tensions in the body and mind. Yoga Nidra is a systematic way of relaxing your body, mind and intellect.

Most people think that relaxation is very simple; just recline and close your eyes. You are tired so you go to bed and think that is relaxation. But unless you have released your muscular, mental and emotional tensions, you are never relaxed. Some symptoms of the people having these tensions are that they habitually bite their nails, scratch their head, stroke their chin, tap their feet, talk compulsively, display constant irritability, or chain smoke. They do these things because they lack awareness of their own inner tension. Even while sleeping the worries and thoughts revolve continuously in the mind and the tense person wakes up feeling exhausted. And that’s exactly where Yoga Nidra helps. Yoga nidra is the scientific method to remove all these tensions.

Yoga Nidra is a more efficient and effective form of psychic and physiological rest and relaxation than the routine sleep. A single hour of Yoga Nidra is as restful and refreshing as four hours of conventional sleep.

By making Yoga Nidra a part of your daily life, you not only relax completely, but restructure and reform your whole personality from within. This process of transformation is not only quicker than the other systems which work on an external basis only, but the results are also more reliable and permanent.

Benefits of Yoga Nidra

o Yoga Nidra induces deep relaxation at all the levels – physical, mental and emotional.
o Yoga Nidra can be used to change the nature of mind along the positive lines.
o The quality of sleep improves dramatically by practicing Yoga Nidra.
o The work efficiency increases manifolds by practicing Yoga Nidra.
o Yoga Nidra is highly effective in removing stress.
o The diseases like insomnia, hypertension, depression, asthma, digestive disorders, migraine and ulcers can be cured by Yoga Nidra .
o The practice of Yoga Nidra shifts pressures from the coronary system.
o It exerts positive influence on the physical matter in the brain.
o Yoga Nidra awakens the psychic body and gives the practitioner, experiences of the astral plane.
o The process of learning anything becomes very quick by Yoga Nidra.

Be the Master of your Mind

By practicing Yoga Nidra, the nature of the mind can be changed, knowledge can be gained and your creative genius can be restored. When you practice Yoga Nidra you are opening the deeper layers of your mind. Right now, your intellectual mind is in operation but when you are able to relax, the subconscious and unconscious level of mind open. The unconscious mind is the base of man’s normal and abnormal behavior, the base of all that we are is in the subconscious and unconscious dimensions of our mind. And yoga nidra helps us dive deep into the depths of our mind and puts us in touch with our psychic personality which is responsible for all that we think and do.

In Yoga Nidra you learn to train your subconscious mind. Since the subconscious mind is much more receptive than the conscious logical mind, whatever impressions you plant in the subconscious mind will grow and enrich your life.

Sankalpa: the Secret of Total Transformation
In Yoga Nidra, the most effective means of training the mind is found in sankalpa – resolution, which you make for yourself during each practice. Anything in life can fail you but not your sankalpa. It is an important stage of Yoga Nidra and a powerful way of reshaping your personality and giving a new direction in life along positive lines.
When conscious mind-body is in deep relaxation, at that time, whatever sankalpa – resolution you will make, it will get fulfilled.

The resolution you make at the beginning of the practice is like sowing a seed and the resolution at the end is like irrigating it. The sankalpa is a short mental statement which is impressed on the subconscious mind when it is receptive and sensitive to autosuggestion during Yoga Nidra. Sankalpa is a determination to become something or to do something in your life. The sankalpa has to be made when you are not intellectually active, but when your mind is calm and quite. Sankalpa is a seed which you create and then sow in the soil of your mind. When the mind is clear the sankalpa grows well.

Intellectual resolves are not deeply planted and rarely bring results. But once the see of sankalpa is planted deep in the subconscious, it gathers the vast forces of the mind in order to bring fruition. This deep and powerful seed will eventually manifest itself again and again at a conscious level and bring about the desired transformations in your personality and your life.

No personality is beyond reformation through Yoga Nidra. No fear or obsession is so deep rooted that it cannot be changed by the sankalpa made during yoga nidra.
However, the purpose of sankalpa is not to fulfill desires but to create strength in the structure of the mind. A sankalpa should only be made when one understands its real purpose and meaning.

Yoga Nidra for Stress Relief
Mental stress is the penalty human beings are paying today for becoming civilized. It is true that some people are more prone to suffer from the effect of stress, but no one is immune to it. Only the threshold varies. It has been seen that urban population have higher blood pressure levels. The higher standard of living, higher education, higher incomes and more skilled occupations are associated with higher level of stress. Executives, professionals and people working on jobs with deadlines are under stress most of the time. It has been noted by Russek & Zohman in a study of coronary patients and an equal number of controls, that job stresses accounted for greater differences between the groups than other risk factors like diet, heredity, obesity, smoking or exercise.

Other than keeping stress out of their lives Yoga Nidra can make executives more efficient by enhancing their creativity, receptivity of knowledge and problem solving skills. The research done by Dr. K.N Udupa of Banaras University suggests that stress-related disorders evolve gradually through four recognizable stages. Firstly psychological changes such as anxiety, irritability and insomnia arise due to over stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. In the second stage symptoms such as high blood pressure, elevated heart rate and increased intestinal motility surface. In the third stage, a more profound physical or biochemical imbalance sets in, while in the final fourth stage, irreversible symptoms that often requires surgical or long term management appears.

Yoga Nidra is increasingly becoming popular and is now being prescribed by doctors in many countries as a preventive and curative therapy in earlier three stages of stress related diseases. In addition, Yoga Nidra is effective in management of psychosomatic disorders that have progressed to an irreversible stage by providing effective symptomatic relief, treating depression and deep rooted anxiety and evolving the best possible outlook of the sufferer towards the disease. Yoga nidra being subjectively oriented and internally directed, comes as a great savior for them. The ultimate objective of Yoga Nidra goes far beyond rectifying the imbalances created in the body by poor stress management. It lies in actually teaching the sufferer to thrive on the same difficulties, anguish and tensions and positively utilizing tension as a stepping stone to greater awareness.

Yoga Nidra and Hypnosis
Yoga Nidra and hypnosis bring about a state of sensory withdrawal. But they are two very different sciences. Although they may start at the same point of relaxation and receptivity, Yoga Nidra proceeds in one direction and hypnosis in another. When the mind is dissociated from the sensory knowledge, it passes through a hypnotic state but the state of mind achieved in Yoga Nidra is far beyond hypnosis. The aim of Yoga Nidra is to take consciousness as far as you can lead it. When you are transcending up to a certain point, you are actually passing through the range of hypnosis.

During Yoga Nidra , the brain is completely awake and it receives a higher quality of stimuli and develops a different type of awareness. However in hypnosis, the subject is led into a deep sleep in which the brain is completely shut down. The consciousness in hypnotic state is very limited and confined to a very small area. This is tamasic condition, while Yoga Nidra creates a sattvic condition.

According to Yoga, there are three important nadis or energy channels in the physical body known as ida, pingala and sushumna. Ida conveys the mental force, pingala the vital force and sushumna the spiritual force. Throughout our lives, ida and pingala nadis are continually feeding the brain with the necessary stimuli which enable it to cognize an object, a sound, an idea. If you close off ida and pingala, then brain is isolated. That is hypnosis. But in Yoga Nidra, the sushumna nadi is activated and provides the necessary energy and stimuli to the brain. Because of sushumna activation, the brain receives a higher quality of stimuli and a different type of knowledge.

Yoga Nidra and Disease Management
Yoga Nidra has widespread application in the management of diseases of all kinds, and promises to play a far greater role in the future. Yoga Nidra can be utilized either by itself or in conjunction with other conventional forms of medical therapy. It has been found useful in both acute and chronic conditions, especially in degenerative and stress related conditions such as hypertension, heart diseases and arthritis. Diseases with high psychosomatic component such as asthma, peptic ulcer and migraine headache respond favorably to Yoga Nidra . Yoga Nidra can be really helpful in psychiatric treatment especially in cases, which are unresponsive to routine psychotherapy.

The practice of yogic relaxation has been found to effectively reduce tension and improve psychological well being of people suffering from anxiety. The autonomic symptoms of high anxiety such as headache, giddiness, chest pain, palpitations, sweating, abdominal pain respond exceptionally well to Yoga Nidra. Practicing Yoga Nidra successfully decreases the time required to fall asleep, thereby curing insomnia. It is a wonderful aid in curbing excessive consumption of coffee, cigarettes and alcohol and drugs by reducing deep seated conflicts and tensions. Its influence in removing pain by stimulating the pituitary gland to release its own potent pain suppressing compounds is remarkable.

If all this is not enough, Yoga Nidra if practiced regularly in pregnancy creates the most favorable conditions for intrauterine growth. This divine practice is also recommended for cancer patients in conjunction with meditation therapy. In this way crucial balance between concentration and relaxation is established, While meditation involves relaxation, surrender and letting go, Yoga Nidra is emerging as an excellent preventive and curative procedure in cardiovascular management because it works by inducing a more relaxed mental attitude and emotional climate.

About the Author:
Tannu Aggarwal is a freelance writer and immense interest in Vedic science & like to share knowledge on Vedic Sciences.