Yoga is an ancient health science of India that has been practiced for thousands of years. It is consists of ancient theories, observations and principles about the mind and body connection which is now gaining attention of the modern world.
Yoga is becoming more popular in recent years. The practice of yoga has innumerable health benefits that can improve everyone’s health. In fact, yoga is an ancient way of life, inexpensive and effective to improve all areas of one’s life. Excavations of Indus Valley civilization give evidence of yoga’s existence thousands of years ago.
Yoga nidra is a branch of yoga exercises devised by an ancient Indian sage called Patanjali who codified the methods of yoga which aims at disciplining body and mind. According to Patanjali, meditation helps to control the mental modifications called vrittis. It is only when the obstructions in the mind are eliminated that the true self is revealed.
Patanjali classifies the mental modifications of yoga into five types
They are: 1) Pramana- true cognition, 2) Viparyaya- false cognition, 3) Vikalpa - verbal cognition, 4) Nidra - deep sleep and 5) Smriti – memory.
Purpose of yoga nidra
The ultimate goal of yoga is to help the individual to transcend the self and attain enlightenment. Through yoga sleep a person can achieve union with the self, when the perfectly disciplined mind gets freedom from all.
Yoga nidra is a promising technique which enables students to assimilate knowledge without much effort.
Yoga nidra postures and method
1) Yoga nidra is just to lie down slowly on your back and practice breathing consciously.
2) Wear minimal clothes with loose fitting. Spread a mattress on the floor and lie down on it slowly.
3) Concentrate on your breath, while inhaling and exhaling. Breathe deeply from your abdomen for three times.
4) There should not be any tense feeling. In a relaxed state, concentrate on 16 vital points of your body. Those vital points are: toes, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, abdomen, chest, shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingertips, neck, chin, lips, nostrils and the forehead.
5) Begin your cycle of concentration from the forehead and one after another progress to your toes. You need not be in any hurry. But just breathe deeply concentrating on the body parts.
6) When one cycle is over, reverse this cycle, going back from toes to the forehead.
7) Repeat this cycle two to three times. Imagine that your limbs are totally detached from your body and there exists only the part that you are concentrating.
8) Breathe and feel the air entering into your body to the part you imagine and cleansing that part. The cool, inhaled air aids in secreting stress-relieving hormones in the brain.
9) Now concentrate on the different vital nerve that is the most vital part of the nerve functions, called chakras. They start from the mooladhara or root plexus (space between your anus and genitals). From there concentrate on the chakras: 1) root plexus, 2) four fingers above the naval, 3) the midpoint of chest, 4) the throat, 5) the point between the eyebrows and finally 6) the mid point of the skull.
10) Breathe in and out 10 times while concentrating on each chakra. Now imagine as if the limbs have been attached to your body. Finally, be aware that your whole body is one single unit.
Yoga nidra to cool your body and mind
Yoga nidra promotes self- healing, removes negative blocks from the mind and toxins from the body, enhances personal power, increases self-awareness and helps in attention focus and concentration.
Yoga is not a religion or some superstitious mantra. It is a way of living aiming at ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’. Yoga exercises recharge the body with cosmic energy and facilitate healthy living.