Yoga nidra literally means ‘sleep of the yogis‘. It is a technique by which one reaches deeper levels of awareness as one sleeps. This explanation seems incredible because we cannot associate awareness with sleep. However, as per the beliefs of Hinduism to which this technique traces its roots, there are three levels of consciousness. They are waking, dreaming and deep sleep. Though we lose awareness while we sleep, our consciousness reaches a different level than it achieves while we are awake. Through this meditation, we try to take our consciousness to a sublime level of consciousness.
How to do Yoga Nidra Meditation?
Here are the steps that would guide you to do yoga nidra meditation. It needs to be done in a place that does not have too many distractions. This technique requires a relaxed mind and a calm and peaceful place. One should also ensure that one is comfortable as one lies down for this yoga meditation technique. The steps to be followed are:
Lie down on the floor in a relaxed state. Keep legs apart at a distance of 1 to 1.5 feet. Lay your hands by your side, not touching your body but a little away from it. Let the palms face upwards. Relax your entire body.
Take a few deep breaths to first relax yourself completely. Now instead of concentrating on your breath, start with concentrating on the toes of one leg. Say, start with those of left leg. Start with the big toe finger and then, shift on to the smaller ones, one by one. The key to this meditation technique is to feel the sensations in one’s body as one shifts his consciousness from one part to the other. Feel the vibrations, the warmth or the tingling sensation, whatever you feel in your toes.
Now slowly move up your left leg. Concentrate on your sole. Let your mind linger on that part for a few moments. Then move on to the ankle, calf muscles, knee and thigh. As you make your mind trail up your leg, spend some time on each part. Repeat the step with your right leg.
After you are through with the pelvis region, focus your awareness to the abdominal area. Concentrate on the falling and rising of the abdomen. Try to feel your muscles relaxing and getting rejuvenated. Slowly move up your awareness from the abdomen through the stomach muscles to the bottom of the rib cage. As you do so, spend some time on each of these parts and try to visualize the muscles as they should move with every breath you take.
Now slowly move down to the lower back. Try and concentrate on the base of your lower back. Then slowly move your awareness up the spine, concentrating on the lower back, middle back, upper back and finally, reach the shoulders.
Bring your consciousness to your chest. Focus on the heaving of the chest as you breathe in and out.
Now move your awareness down along the upper arms, lower arms to each of the fingers, one by one. Then, move back up and move up along the neck and throat. Focus your awareness on various parts of the face starting from the jaws, cheeks, mouth, eyes, temple and finally, the forehead. Let your awareness remain on the head for sometime. Now move down your body doing the meditation in the reverse order.
The yoga nidra meditation needs some practice before it can be done perfectly. However, it is believed to be one of the most effective forms of meditation that allows one to develop a stronger will power and improve one’s personality from within.