Yoga Nidra is an ancient practice, it has been practiced for as long as yoga. It is a form deep relaxation. The technique encourages complete physical and emotional relaxation whilst maintaining awareness. It is often referred to as yogic sleep or wakeful sleep. It is the deepest level of relaxation you can obtain without falling asleep. Yoga Nidra is guided audibly, slowly you are led through different stages of relaxation until body and mind are completely relaxed.
Prior to the practise an intention is usually set. The intention should be positive and in the present moment. Before your practise spend a little time considering what you would like to welcome into your life or any negative patterns or habits that you would like to eliminate. Create your intention with these goals in mind. If you cannot think of an intention a positive quote or affirmation may be used instead.
When a state of deep relaxation is experienced the sub conscious mind and the conscious mind can pass information between the two. This means that anything unpleasant hidden deep in the psyche may then be processed and negative thoughts and emotions could dissipate. It also provides the perfect opportunity to plant new positive seeds in the form of your intention and allow them to grow and override negative thoughts or patterns.
Yoga Nidra has stood the test of time, it has been practiced for thousands of years and today Yoga Nidra is the subject of various clinical trials. As well as all the many benefits to be experienced, Yoga Nidra has shown that it may well help combat some forms of chemical addiction, chronic pain and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
Yoga Nidra is different to meditation. Some forms of meditation maintain focus on a point or the breath, Yoga Nidra passes through some of these stages and draws on similar techniques but then settles in a deep state of wakeful relaxation. Meditation usually maintains focus throughout to help prevent the mind from wandering. Meditation is practiced whilst seated, Yoga Nidra is followed whilst in Savasana. Both techniques bring many benefits.