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The Sleep of the Yogis: Find Out More About Yoga Nidra Meditation

Yoga Nidra Meditation
Practiced by ancient Indian sages for centuries, yoga nidra meditation is a technique that has been used to reach a high level of consciousness while sleeping. It is a stage between 'going to sleep'. The concept of yoga nidra has its roots in ancient Indian traditions contained in Hinduism and Buddhism. Lord Krishna is often associated with yoga nidra in the epic Mahabharata.
Debopriya Bose
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Yoga nidra literally means 'sleep of the yogis'. It's a technique by which one reaches deeper levels of awareness as one sleeps. This explanation seems incredible because we can't associate awareness with sleep. However, according to ancient Hindu beliefs, there are three levels of consciousness. They are waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. Though we lose awareness while we sleep, our consciousness reaches a different level than it achieves while we are awake.
yoga nidra
The Steps
Here are the steps that would guide you to do the nidra meditation. It needs to be done in a place that does not have too many distractions. This technique requires a relaxed mind, and a calm and peaceful place. One should also ensure that one feels comfortable lying down, for this meditation technique. The steps to be followed are:

Step 1: Lie down on the floor in a relaxed state. Keep your legs apart at a distance of 1 to 1.5 feet. Lay your hands by your side, a little away from the body and let the palms face upwards. Relax your entire body.

Step 2: Take a few deep breaths to first relax yourself completely. Now, instead of concentrating on your breath, start with concentrating on the toes of one leg. Start with the big toe and then, shift on to the smaller ones, one by one. The key to this meditation technique is to feel the sensations in one's body as one shifts his consciousness from one part to the other. Feel the vibrations, the warmth, or the tingling sensation, whatever you feel in your toes.

Step 3: Now, slowly move up your left leg. Concentrate on your sole. Let your mind linger on that part for a few moments. Then move on to the ankle, calf muscles, knee, and the thigh. As you make your mind trail up your leg, spend some time on each part. Repeat the same with your right leg.

Step 4: Now focus your awareness in the pelvis region. Feel the mattress below, pressing against your lower pelvis region. Move your consciousness around the whole of the pelvis.

Step 5: After you are through with the pelvis region, focus your awareness to the abdominal area. Concentrate on the falling and rising of the abdomen. Try to feel your muscles relaxing and getting rejuvenated. Slowly, move up your awareness from the abdomen through the stomach muscles to the bottom of the rib cage. As you do so, spend some time on each of these parts and try to visualize the muscles as they should move with every breath you take.

Step 6: Now, slowly move down to the lower back. Try and concentrate on the base of your lower back. Then, slowly move your awareness up the spine, concentrating on the lower back, middle back, upper back and finally, reach the shoulders.

Step 7: Bring your consciousness to your chest. Focus on the heaving of the chest as you breathe in and out.

Step 8: Now, move your awareness down along the upper arms, lower arms, to each of the fingers, one by one. Then, move back up, and move up along the neck and throat. Focus your awareness on various parts of the face starting from the jaws, cheeks, mouth, eyes, temple, and finally, the forehead. Let your awareness remain on the head for sometime. Now move down your body doing the meditation in the reverse order.
Yoga nidra meditation needs some practice before it can be done perfectly. However, it is believed to be one of the most effective forms of meditation that allows one to develop a stronger will power and improve one's personality from within.