Last Updated:

January 12, 2021

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Relaxation is a state of mind, however, it’s not as simple as just laying your head back and closing your eyes. Often people believe if you simply go to sleep after a long tiring day you are giving your body the relaxation it deserves. In reality, there’s a little more to it than that. To truly go into a state of deep relaxation you must relax your mind, muscles, and emotions, and only then can you access the inner peace available to us all.

Yoga Nidra can help you with this. 

What is Yoga Nidra?

Yoga Nidra is becoming increasingly recognised within the scientific community as a proven method for managing and removing the burden of emotional, physical, and mental stress. With roots in the vedic traditions of yoga, it has evolved and was substantially developed in the 20th century. the term yoga nidra is derived from two Sanskrit words, yoga meaning union or one-pointed awareness, and nidra which means sleep. During the practice of yoga nidra, one appears to be asleep, but the consciousness is functioning at a deeper level of awareness. This allows you to tap into your unconscious mind enabling you to reconstruct and reform yourself from within. 

But all this might sound a bit complicated. 

While it’s true that there are numerous variations on how Yoga Nidra is guided and that yogic practice affects everyone differently, there are some simple steps for Yoga Nidra that are clear and concise. Keep reading to find out about the typical 8 stages of yoga nidra that will lead you towards a place of deep inner peace and restoration. 

8 Stages Towards Ultimate Relaxation

The script for Yoga Nidra can change depending on the instructor and practitioner, however, a typical session ranges anywhere between 20 to 45 minutes and may include all or a few of these 8 stages. 

Come let’s take a deeper dive. 

Relaxation/Internalisation

  • A vital step to the start of any Yoga Nidra session. In this initial step, you lie on your back in Savasana, also known as the corpse pose, gently closing your eyes. Allow your arms to rest at your side with your palms in an upward facing direction and just focus on your breathing. 
  • The instructor may move on to ask the practitioner to listen to sounds external to the body. As strange as this may seem, this step ensures that the practitioner’s mind floods with every external sound, forcing the brain to become tired and ”internalize.”

Affirmation (Sankalpa)

  • Sankalpa is a Sanskrit word that more-or-less means to ’resolve.’ It’s an intent that is formed mutually between your heart and mind. It can be used as a powerful tool to harness your willpower and to join the mind and body to become one. 
  • In terms of Yoga Nidra, Sankalpa is used to access our subconscious mind. This is a key to gaining access beyond the limitations of our own thought processes and perception of self. Therefore, to plant a seed of change we generally perform this step twice in Yoga Nidra. It is done by whispering or speaking silently to ourselves the Sankalpa in a short and positive sentence. 

Rotation of Consciousness

  • It is important to keep things flowing. Often during other forms of mediation, the primary goal is to maintain singular ’focus’, yet on the other hand Yoga Nidra requires one to relax. Therefore we say that we are ’moving’ the awareness from one body part to the next rather than ’focusing’ on individual body parts. The mind is prone to becoming bored and this helps to keep its attention. 

Respiration Awareness

  • We must keep our focus on our breathing during Yoga Nidra. By slowing down our breathing we automatically send signals to our brain telling it to relax. More so, by calming the rate of breathing we move to Shakshi (Witness) awareness. 

Awareness of Opposites

  • Often described as the most unique part of a Yoga Nidra practice. During this step, the instructor asks the practitioner to become aware of the opposite sensations in their body. For example, associate hot with cold, heaviness with lightness, pain with pleasure, etc. But what’s the reasoning behind this? Different sections of our brain react differently to various sensations, therefore, experiencing one after another activates new neuron circuits. 

Creative Visualisation

  • Visualisation is an integral part of Yoga Nidra. Also called rapid imagery, it involves a number of different things being named in quick succession and the participant is asked to visualise each of them, then let them go and move to the next one. This process teaches the mind to allow images that produce subconscious reactions to arise and be released. It is a practice of non-attachment and helps in everyday life to reduce stress and achieve a more consistent sense of wellbeing.

Affirmation (Sankalpa)

  • This is the second round of Sankalpa where we reach a borderline state of sleep. Therefore, we must reiterate our resolution to ourselves on the border of this conscious and subconscious mind. 

Return To Full Awareness/Externalisation

  • To end the Yoga Nidra session, we must bring our minds back to the conscious state and become aware of our surroundings once again. 

Who Are We?

At Integral Tracks we offer Yoga Nidra as a proactive and preventative approach to help with a myriad of health factors and to encourage wellbeing. 

More and more studies are coming to this conclusion –   

Today, lifestyles such as smoking, excessive screen use, suspiciousness towards others, unbalanced diets, and a sedentary way of life are leading to many psychological and psychosomatic problems,” highlighting the need to take better care of ourselves. If you are experiencing symptoms of poor physical and mental health, we always encourage you to consult first with a medical professional. 

To begin the journey toward enhanced wellness, book a group livestream session with us today and take advantage of the special discounts we are offering to invite you into this beautiful practice.