What is Yoga Nidra?
Frissítve: feb 3
Yoga Nidra is a wonderful practice a series of meditation techniques that can assist you in deepening your understanding of yourself.
I first became interested in Yoga Nidra when it was pointed out that aspects of the Hypnotherapy were very similar to the practice of Yoga Nidra
I have meditated for many years on my own and with different schools and methods and for different reasons. I’d learned to trust what arises, I call them seeing’s. These things are not daydreams; there is a different quality to them. But many times whilst in the meditation, observing, I had slipped over that line and into sleep, which has always been rather frustrating.
Yoga Nidra means “Conscious Sleep” so the idea very much appealed to me. If there was a way I could stay consciously on that line, not slip over into oblivion I felt there was knowledge and understanding to be had there.
I found it not only useful for personal revelation, but perhaps more importantly found it deeply beneficial for health, peace of mind and awareness of the body.
Other aspects of Yoga Nidra I found also fitted nicely into my understanding of Hypnosis; taking a person inwards to a deeper level, uncovering reasons for unhealthy thoughts and ideas that quietly pull the strings behind many scenes in our lives, then introducing healthy thoughts and ideas that the observer sincerely wish to be there.
Yoga Nidra is the practice of observing what the subconscious mind presents, watching it pass by, noting feelings that are triggered by the images or thoughts, simply witnessing them, then from this place of awareness consciously changing the feeling to something that brings you peace
People can and do bury emotions in different parts of the body and has always been of great interest to me as to how this is done as I have practiced Hypnotherapy in Exeter Teignmouth and around the UK. Our emotions are huge sources of pent up energy that many of us can experience as an avalanche or a volcano when triggered. Pent up emotions do manifest in our bodies in various ways, we are afraid of them and so they are locked even further away, but that energy could be used to benefit our lives.
We can come to realize that we are not our emotions; that we experience them, that they are triggered by thoughts that are only memories, old ideas that no longer serve any purpose. It seems with Yoga Nidra a person is able, with practice, to observe them and change the response in your own time and in your own way.
Nidra differs from Hypnotherapy because a person may wish to simply meditate, be quiet; we are all on our own voyage of uncovery, so everyone in their own time and perhaps once this relaxation is achieved a person may wish too plant their own seed of intention into the unconscious.
This aspect of Yoga Nidra is called Sankalpa which is “an intention” a “heartfelt desire” a fertile seed placed into the deeper mind, then as they say “the intensity of the longing does the work” This idea apparently comes from the western relaxation techniques the Mesmeric hypnotic schools which is what I recognized
In the 1970’s a man called Swami Satyananda introduced the western hypnotic techniques to Nidra, simplifying the ancient yoga-tantra methods and made them more accessible and practical and it became a series of techniques. The older Yogi teachings for instance Yoga Taravali describe Nidra as “a state that arises” not a set of techniques. In older tantric texts it is described as a place beyond worlds, a place to receive secret knowledge.
Traditional yogic philosophy is more passive, allowing things to arise. Western ideas or influences are more active, placing intentions into the deeper mind
I learnt through the teachings of the Late Great Hypnotist Gil Boyne that an intention should be infused with emotional power and desire so that it registers deeply in the subconscious and if accepted will begin to transform a life, this aspect of Nidra has the same intention.
Students of Nidra are encouraged to listen and open up to what arises from within, to just observe, which at times may seem disturbing, but as we go deeper we realize we don’t have to keep reliving the old script, we can simply observe and by doing so change the feeling and with this develop compassion for ourselves. Remarkably tests have proven, Yoga Nidra does increases self compassion which as a Hypnotherapist I am very keen on
To begin with; the practice of rotating the awareness around the body, slows down our thoughts; we can’t it seems think and be in the body at the same time. Practicing this often slows downs and stops thoughts that can distract us.
I have always said “where ever you put your mind; energy flows too” so the practice of rotation of awareness around the body can have many health benefits creating deep relaxation, stimulating the nerves, releasing tensions and stimulating healing.
Another step is holding our awareness on the breath. The breath and energy are directly linked, controlled breathing naturally slows the heart rate and so further relaxes the body and will take us down to much deeper levels of relaxation.
Watching the breath in this way, guiding its flow and counting down as we do with Nidra is a form of mindfulness which develops focus and staying power, a person develops strength of mind and learns to regulate the breath and so their emotions
Then there is the practicing of opposites in the body; every thought or emotion has an opposite
I recognized this practice from Hypnotherapy. People can whilst in a deep relaxation/trance affect different parts of their body with ease, heavy as lead or light as a feather almost instantly. The Logic here is that if we are able to experience anger then we can also experience its opposite say, calm, we can make that choice. If the anger is triggered by a thought we can with practice change and choose a healthier response
Practicing feeling opposites Light then heavy, hot then cold, strong weak, floating then sinking; is invaluable and an empowering way to release feelings we no longer need
Then there is Image awareness: The practice of visualising changing images is given fairly rapidly so a person doesn’t start to analyse. Coming from the European Spiritualist school I was also taught to build up a library or catalogue of images and symbols to understand the messages received from these images. Learning this practice of rapid changing visualisation I liken to being at the gym in the mind, the same principle is also true for sensations in the body
And then there is the free flow where by this time with practice a person is in the state between sleeping and awakening and where deep therapeutic changes can take place, insights can be experienced and learned, or deep peaceful still ness can be consciously experienced. The hypnogogic state is a place where images are allowed to flow freely
I have found this to be the way with me, the images are metaphors and messages from the unconscious. And so it is also possible to give a message to the unconscious in the very same way and again this ties in with hypnotherapy. This is the point when a Sankalpa can be effectively and successfully introduced into the deeper mind
Yoga Nidra is designed for you to recognize when your deeper mind is communicating, it places control right in your own lap or you may simply be after a deep peaceful meditation and Yoga Nidra is especially good for this. Click on the link below and give it a go.