By Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 250
New students visit Yoga centers every day. Each of them is looking for something different, but most want some form of sanctuary. Within a stress free Yoga sanctuary, one can learn methods of self-preservation. Eventually, the experienced Yoga practitioner applies these methods toward life. Yoga teacher training programs teach various methods for purging and reducing stress. These methods will do no good unless we pass them on to the public.
A Historical Perspective of Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra was defined decisively by Adi Shankara within his work, Yoga Taravali. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika used the same term with a somewhat different meaning. It has also been described as “a state of conscious deep sleep,” and in a more poetic form:
“In Yoga Nidra, you leave the Waking state,
go through the Dreaming state,
and into the Deep Sleep state,
yet remain fully awake.”
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
The historical precedent here shows that different approaches to the same subject are common.
Clearly, the experience of Yoga nidra is essentially very personal. Due to this, it is helpful to remember that there are many different approaches to Yoga practice for the same reason: different Yoga methods appeal to different types of people.
Like many things in Yoga, subjective elements play a key role in creating the various experiences during practice.
A Modern Therapeutic Approach
For the purpose of this article, the term Yoga nidra will be used in the context of the modern Yoga practitioner. These people may be unaware of the legacies of the various Yogas, but they still maintain a regular practice.
In this context, Yoga nidra practice has been successfully combined. Inducing a “still point” with Cranial-Sacral Therapy encourages the body to restore itself, and the cranial rhythm is momentarily still. Therapists have reported that their clients become deeply relaxed and responsive to therapeutic unwinding, sometimes reporting experiences similar to the description of Yoga nidra above.
These signs suggest that the internal environment of Yoga nidra has occurred. Other indicators are: Relief from symptoms such as headache, congestion, and nerve pain — because the depth of relaxation encourages the colloid fascia tissues to become pliable, releasing entrapped nerves. It is also common to feel heat in various locations.
Yet, these are just the outward signs. The inner experience of the individual always determines the depth of their experience. However, the healing potential of combining Yoga nidra practice in therapeutic settings is profound.
Therapeutic Obstacles of Nidra
A first experience of Yoga nidra can be difficult to induce. From a therapeutic perspective, many of the deep places of the mind remain inaccessible because the mind protects itself, always guarding against potential injury. Developing focused relaxation through practice can help overcome this obstacle.
The most promising aspect of Yoga nidra is that after having an initial experience, it becomes easier to induce a therapeutic nidra while practicing Yoga postures designed for deep relaxation.
© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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