“Yoga Nidra is a state of complete bodily relaxation,
in which the mind rests in a suspended state
awake, yet calm, and free of all distraction.
The body, senses and material mind are magnetized.”
–Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati
Yoga Nidra or “yogi sleep” is a very ancient Indian tradition having roots in Hinduism and Buddhism. In modern times, Swami Satyananda Saraswati, when he was living with his guru, Swami Sivananda, constructed a system of relaxation that was said to induce a state of mind between wakefulness and sleep. The ultimate state of yoga nidra is one in which there are no dreams, but only the deep sleep state with retained consciousness/awareness.
When I first became interested in yoga, I remember reading about Swami Rama, who was tested at the Menninger Foundation in Kansas, in 1971. It was fascinating to learn that researchers used an electroencephalograph to record his brainwave activity. Swami Rama progressively relaxed his entire physical, mental and emotional structure through the practice of yoga nidra. What Dr. Elmer Green recorded was a revelation to the scientific community: Rama demonstrated the capacity to enter the various states of consciousness at will, as evidenced by the remarkable changes in the electrical activity of his brain.
This month during your Savasana practice, we’ll be offering different spoken guided relaxation techniques that use suggestion, sensory awareness and time to facilitate this particular state of transcendental joy. Happy Relaxation!