YOGA NIDRA: Actualize Your Intentions with an Ancient Science
By: Yogi Amrit Desai
Imagine your life unfolding as you always wanted. See yourself letting go of the past. Envision yourself free of worries about the present or frustrations about the future. Picture a life of relaxed acceptance and fulfillment beyond your wildest dreams.
These promises may sound like a commercial. The truth is, all this and more is available to all of us, but not through external means. Attaining inner fulfillment and joyful living is an internal process which is easier to master than you might think. The answer is through the ancient meditation technique of Yoga Nidra.
Yoga Nidra is one of the most effective and least explored techniques to unleash the power within. It relieves us from the stress of daily life and reveals the deeper meaning of our lives. The literal translation of nidra is sleep. However, Yoga Nidra is a dynamic state, not the unconscious sleep of night time. While ordinary sleep can renew the body and refresh the mind, it cannot alter your unconscious programming. Yoga Nidra relaxes, rejuvenates, and renews the physical body. It also empowers you to eliminate unconscious obstructions and blocks that prevent you from connecting to the source from which your inborn potential may be actualized. Regular practice of Yoga Nidra empowers you to effortlessly realize your intentions. In this integrated state your body moves towards self-healing.
The technique we recommend, The Amrit Method of Yoga Nidra, is simple to practice yet profound in impact. It requires neither years of difficult practice nor intellectual understanding of its mystical powers. All it requires is focus, attention and an abiding trust in the process of revelation through direct experience. It is a unique combination of alert awareness and deep relaxation.
Yoga Nidra submerges your brain rhythms into the alpha state, where you drop into deep silence. You simultaneously access the power of the logical left brain and the intuitive, insightful right brain. Your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems move into alignment to restore the body and mind to homeostasis. This is a state of oneness, where you tap into creative powers beyond the ego-mind and have access to healing on a physical, mental and emotional plane.
Stress: The Malady of the Modern World
Stress is the underlying cause of 80 percent of illnesses. Stress is experienced in a myriad of forms, many of which are such a routine part of modern life that we fail to recognize them as the source of deep-seated conflict. These hidden stressors continually barrage us with feelings of anxiety. The emotional surges associated with everyday stress demand excessive use of energy. Cumulatively, they result in premature aging and degenerative disease. Stress-related conditions include insomnia, indigestion, high blood pressure, heartburn, and addictions to alcohol, drugs and tobacco.
Enter the Zero Stress Zone through Yoga Nidra
Struggle is not an effective solution when you want to change self-destructive behavior patterns. Such habit patterns are embedded in the pre-programming of the karmic body. These blockages are so deeply held that they are largely ignored. To release these blockages, you must dismantle them at the core. Subconscious issues related to health, relationships and finances are solved at a deep level.
Yoga Nidra opens the doorway to the non-physical world from where you go beyond the barriers of the five senses. In this realm, miracles of self-healing occur and you have the power to actualize your intentions, affirmations and prayers. Yoga Nidra initiates shifts from the deepest core of your being and provides you with powerful tools to eliminate stress and banish self-destructive unconscious fears, beliefs and habits. Your life begins to synchronize with your intentions because you no longer fight yourself. What you say, think, and do are now in harmony.
Yoga Nidra is neither logical nor psychological. It is a quantum leap beyond the dimension and comprehension of the intellect. It operates from the domain of trust and faith, love and compassion. It transcends the dimension of linear comprehension that works through logic, reason and memory. It is not like a rope that is wrapped a hundred times around a post which requires unwinding a hundred times in the opposite direction. Yoga Nidra burns the rope rather than unwinding it. It bypasses the linear approach and allows you to resolve karmic patterns of behavior at their source. Yoga Nidra is the single most powerful tool that can help you reshape and rebuild your life. It provides you with new insight and visions that can guide you toward the unfolding of a new life.
Elements for the Practice of Yoga Nidra
1. Create an Intention
Ask yourself: “What do I need to do to shift myself to release fear and resistance, self-judgment, illness, blame, shame, guilt or unhappiness?” Seek resolution from within rather than expecting external change. External changes are only a reflection of inner shifts. If you only ask for an external change, it will be temporary, not one integrated into your being. This does not mean you cannot address an external situation, but it must serve your inner shift. Explore core values that affect your entire life, not superficial solutions.
Tips: An intention is timeless and is written in present tense. One example of an intention is, “I completely accept myself as I am, and the world as it is.”
2. Prepare for Yoga Nidra
Create an environment that is conducive to practice by eliminating noise and distractions. Find or create a sacred space with pictures of masters who inspire you. Light a candle or incense. Your clothing should be comfortable. Consider using a pillow and blanket to stay warm. Practice a few stretching exercises, floor yoga postures, and rest lying down on the floor (in Shavasana).
3. Use Your Breath to Enter Deep Relaxation
Breath can be both involuntary and voluntary. It is your direct link to consciousness. Nature has provided us with an involuntary respiratory system to maintain existence. We also have the power to alter our breath to create calmness, clear the mind, and open passageways to higher states. Breath is the visible extension of the invisible spirit. Breath work is an essential technique for bringing our thinking, feeling and doing centers to function in harmonious action.
Use breath as a bridge to infuse your body with spirit. Begin with seven rounds of Ujjayi breathing. Ujjayi is deep breathing through your nose. Slightly constrict your throat. With each breath out, let go of all anticipation and expectation. Enter deep stillness. As you exhale, feel all the tension from your physical, mental and emotional bodies melt away. With each breath in, fill every nerve and cell of your body with healing energy. Empty your body and mind and enter deeper levels of stillness and silence.
4. Experience the Energy of Mantra
Chant OM seven times. Feel yourself melt into the vibrations created by this sacred sound. Chanting OM opens the heart and intensifies inward focus.
5. Follow Guided Instruction
It is preferable to have a facilitator guide you in a group or private session as you enter deeper levels of relaxation and move toward total stillness and integration. At home you can use a Yoga Nidra CD to maintain your practice. As you rest in Shavasana remain still. You have entered a non-doing space. Let awareness rather than effort guide you. Progressively bring your attention to the various areas of your body as guided. It is important not to fall asleep. Stay awake without strain. Now your body is relaxed. Your whole being is open and receptive. Whatever you visualize will be totally accepted. No part of you will doubt, resist, fear, hesitate, or question. Once you reach the deepest level of relaxation, plant the seed of your intention with complete faith and trust.
6. Let Go of All Effort
Do not induce struggle to make something happen. Simply let it happen. Allow a deep sense of sensitivity to sensation accompany your intention. It will gain impact from your feeling center rather than your thinking center. No effort is needed. Your intention will take flight on its own wings. It moves into a transcendental dimension where it receives nurturance and protection.
Visualize the impact of your intention. Feel the results of your intention happening now, not in the future. Stay present with your intention. Once you choose your intention with one-pointed resolve, do not change it or let yourself be diverted. Repeat your intention with clarity, deep feeling and sincere faith.
Bring your mind gradually back to the waking state. Gently return to the activities of your day with renewed awareness. Let your whole being be permeated with your intention. Carry the transformative impact of your Yoga Nidra session with you all day. In everything you do and everywhere you go. Do not judge its power by whether you think you have succeeded or failed. Simply return to your intention again and again. Do not be like the child who plants a seed in the backyard and pulls it out every day to see if it is growing. The moment self-protection and ego take over, the Higher Power disappears. Let the Higher Power be at work.