This is not pretzel yoga, or kick-butt yoga, or sweat-your-bits-off yoga … it’s Anyone-Can-Do-This yoga. You need nothing more than your desire to create a sense of calm in the body and the mind — no special skills required. In fact, the most challenging element of Yoga Nidra is often the ability to stay awake!
Yoga Nidra places you in a state of tranquil awareness, preparing the mind to receive positive messages, at a subconscious and emotional level. In my experience, two major things happen:
1 — Relaxation
Lying down (or seated), listening to a specific system of guided relaxation, your body comes to a place of complete rest, while the mind remains alert and yet calm. Even as you enter a dream-like state of consciousness, your mind stays awake; following the verbal cues, becoming aware of sensations in the body, and using sensory perception and visualization techniques. These methods for calming the body, the subconscious mind and the sympathetic nervous system, are extremely grounding and relaxing.
2 — Intention
This is a powerful aspect of Yoga Nidra, when you introduce your intention (or sankalpa in Sanskrit). Here, you state your affirmation for personal transformation; your wish for what you would like to be, or have, in your life — good health, calm mind, confidence, success, a change in your relationships — whatever your heartfelt desire is. Think of your sankalpa as a vow between you and the Universe, or a higher being.
Some examples are:
- I am happy and healthy in body, mind and spirit.
- My dreams and aspirations become reality.
- I breathe in calmness and breathe out peace.
Yoga Nidra creates the perfect setting for you to initiate change in your life, because it is easier to alter habits in this “conscious sleep” state than in the waking state, when we are typically more resistant to change. Although you are not trying to actively fix or change anything during the Yoga Nidra practice itself, regular repetition of positive affirmations in this state, can be transformational.
And for those who would like to do guided relaxation at home, I’m delighted to have just finished recording a Yoga Nidra album, accompanied by the peaceful music of Richard Brookens, available here as well as on Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, Apple Music, iTunes, and Google Play.
To your continued physical, mental and emotional good health!