The term Yoga Nidra means sleeping in a yogic posture. It is a state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep. Hence, in this state the body experiences complete relaxation. A set of verbal instructions increases the awareness of the inner world.
Yoga Nidra has its origin in Hinduism and Buddhism. The epic Mahabharata portrays Lord Krishna in the position of Yoga Nidra and the same could be seen in many presentation of Gautama Buddha. However, in modern era it was SatyanandaSaraswati who first experienced Yoga Nidra while living in Rishikesh with his guru Sivananda Saraswati.
The Yoga Nidra asana is practiced to provide rest to the body. The advantage of this asana is to get rid of depression, high blood pressure, heart problems and sleeplessness. The patients of these diseases should practice this asana regularly to live a healthy lifestyle. Weakness of nerves, fatigue and negative thoughts are definitely cured by practicing this asana. It provides complete relaxation, enthusiasm, and happiness to body, mind and brain. It develops the status of meditation. Should this asana be interrupted by shvasana, intermittently, tiredness is driven away soon.
The process is to lie down on your back keeping the feet about a feet apart and hands also a bit away from the thighs with palms open facing upwards. Eyes should be closed, neck straight and the full body should be stress free. Inhale slowly 4-5 log breaths and exhale. Gradually start seeing through mind’s eyes and determination, each part of the body in relaxed and stress free. Taking oath in the mind is the main strength of one’s success in all the work and great mission of life. Right now we have to provide complete rest to our body. For this we have to take oath in mind about the rest or relaxed status of our body. Starting with the thumb and fingers you should think with your mind’s eyes about them to be completely loose and stress free. Then you should feel the heels to be relaxed and stress free. Then think about your ankles to be healthy, stress free and completely in rest state. Then feel that just by thinking about relaxing, your body is getting complete rest. As you feel like weeping while thinking about sad incident, feel joy while thinking about pleasant moments and feel hot blooded while thinking about bravery; similarly, you would feel very relaxed just by thinking about having rest. After the ankles, think about your knees and feel them t be healthy, stress free and completely in rest position. Then in your mind think about your thighs and feel them to be healthy, stress free and completely in rest. Then gradually think about your hips, waist, stomach, back and chest to be in the relaxed position. Then peacefully try to focus your mind over heart and try to listen to your heart beats. By listening to your heart beats try to think that your heart is completely healthy, stress free and in a position of complete rest, and there is no problem with your heart. After relaxing you heart and lungs, think about your solders and feel them to be completely healthy and in relaxed position. Then gradually think about your arms, elbows, wrists, and thumb to be completely healthy and stress free, loose and completely in rest position and feel about your complete hands to be healthy, relaxed and stress free. Now think about your face with all your lips, nose, eyes and ears with the feeling of happiness, hope and peace. So far we have provided complete rest to our body just by the thought of mind with pure and divine determination. So far we have come to provide rest to our body through controlling our mind. Now we should do something to provide complete rest to our mind, we have to relax our mind also. We have to go ahead of the thoughts generating in our mind. For this we have to take help of our soul. Think that “I am a pure, pious, peaceful and happy soul. I have always been full and complete. I don’t lack anything. I am a part of God. I am free from thee bindings of nature, body, senses and mind. My true abode is my God. With the loss or gain of material wealth, I don’t become poor, orphan or rich. I am changeless. Whatever change is coming in the world, it is the nature of universe not of my soul. Thinking like this about the divineness of soul, you should remove the negative thoughts from your mind. Negative thinking brings mental depression to a person and the person is always sad and restless. People with positive thinking are always able to remain happy and peaceful even in adverse conditions and are able to overcome most of the difficulties of life. Therefore not only during Shvasana and Yoga Nidra but a person should always be thinking positively.
Now feel that your soul has come out of your body and moved up in the sky. Feel that your body lying on the floor is like a dead and inert body, thus the posture is called SHVASNA. Now try to feel your soul along with your senses immersed with the God and enjoy the divine pleasure of the creation of God. After enjoying of being with oneness with the God, think about coming back to your inert lying body. At last feeling about both the hands to be healthy and strong rub both your palms and putting the warm palms over your eyes open your eyes slowly. This is the brief process of Yoga Nidra and breathing.