Satyananda Saraswati created the practice of Yoga nidra.
Satyananda says, "Yoga nidra is the relaxation process which brings the mind back to a normal level of receptivity where the personality can be realigned and a greater destiny met.
Yoga nidra is a powerful technique derived from the tantras in which you relax with total awareness. In yoga nidra we do not regard sleep as relaxation. For absolute relaxation, you must remain aware. This is yoga nidra, the state of dynamic sleep. The 30 minute practice is equivalent to 3 hours sleep.
Ordinarily man's mind is constantly wavering, but in this practice you create a base for the mind, so that it can relax. This is the concept behind yoga nidra. When the same base is provided consistently, the mind becomes one-pointed and relaxed. Without any base, the mind becomes restless and tense. So, in the practice of yoga nidra, you maintain a rhythmic base for the relaxation of the mind."
You are required to lay still for 30 minutes and listen to the instructions. Take the phone off the hook and make yourself as comfortable as possible. Lay on a mat or folded blanket and cover yourself with an appropriate covering for the season as the body temperature does drop by one degree. Remove any tight clothing, watches and glasses.
If you do fall asleep, don't worry too much. But aim to stay awake and alert and listen to the voice. A sankalpa or positive resolve is needed. If you don't have one please keep reading as the process is described below. Yoga nidra can be done at any time of the day but the best time to do yoga nidra is around midday or half an before your lunch time.
There are a number of benefits of yoga nidra; it minimizes tension and stress, it trains the mind through the use of your own personalised sankalpa or positive resolve, it relaxes the mind, it clears up the unconscious mind, it awakens creativity, enhances memory and learning capacity, it counteracts stress, it manages psychological disorders, it manages psychosomatic diseases and yoga nidra can be adopted as a therapeutic model in the treatment of cancer.
There are 8 stages of yoga nidra.
3. Rotation of Consciousness
4. Breath Awareness
5. Feelings of Opposites and Sensations
"Yoga nidra must be practised with a specific purpose. It is the creator of your destiny. Whether you want to become a painter, writer, orator, or anything, you can train yourself, but first you must know what you want to become. There are many things that one can do in this life, but everybody needs a direction.
Most of us are floundering in the darkness, like ships without rudders, anchor sheets without sails. We don't know which way we are headed because we are being led, forced and pushed by the tempest of life. Sometimes we go the right way too, but that's usually because we are pushed into it; we have no choice. In yoga nidra, however, we have a choice, and that choice is created by sankalpa.
The sankalpa has to be made, not when you are intellectually active, but when you are intellectually quiet, when the child within you is awakened. Before and after the practice of yoga nidra there is a short period dedicated to sankalpa, the resolve or determination to become something. The sankalpa you make in the beginning of the practice is like sowing a seed, and the resolve at the end is like irrigating it.
The power of sankalpa is very great, and those who make a petty resolve misuse it. If you have faith in the sankalpa you have made, and if you use it consistently, then it will become a reality in your life. Though you can use the resolve for therapeutic effects, in my opinion it should be used for a greater purpose, for achieving the state of samadhi, enlightenment." ~ Satyananda Saraswati ~
Sankalpa is a short, positive sentence.
Some examples of a sankalpa;
"I nuture, fully accept and love myself."
"I live a balanced lifestyle."
"I eat wholesome food."
"I don't smoke."
"I practise loving kindness."