Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep) is a form of meditation which is very easy to practice. It is quite a powerful technique giving a sense of wholeness. It is done easily while lying down in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) and takes one through the 5 layers of the self (Panchmaya Kosh). It is a form of effortless “conscious” relaxation.
What are these five layers? The Panch Maya Kosh as they are called are described in the Taittiriya Upanishad as progressively subter bodies which surround our being. All these layers (Koshas) need to be nourished in order to have a balanced life. Yoga Nidra fosters a deep restful state which gives nourishment and rejuvenation.
Yoga Nidra is ideally done lying down which makes it possible for everyone to do it, but it can also be done seated in a comfortable position. It is a good practice to end any Yoga sequence with Yoga Nidra. One simply closes the eyes and brings the awareness to various parts of the body as one is guided by a voice. Each time one practices Yoga Nidra one has a new experience. Remember to take deep breaths as you navigate your attention as per the guided voice.
It is a good idea to incorporate Yoga Nidra in our bedtime routine. One can use headphones and tune in to one of the various meditations available online. Along with providing profound relaxation, Yoga Nidra helps in releasing long held emotions and deep seated impressions (samskaras) in our consciousness. As one practices, one moves into a deeper and deeper experience.
Enjoy this Guided Meditation on Yoga Nidra by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
This article is part of a series on Yoga.