The ancient meditative practice which inspired Sophrology.
Yoga Nidra or "Yoga of Conscious Sleep" originated in the Tantras of fifth-century India and was popularised by Swami Satyananda Saraswati.
Its practice is simple : lie down comfortably, covered by a soft blanket, and let yourself be guided on an inner journey of deep relaxation to restore your body, mind and heart.
During this journey your consciousness will transition through different states, characterised by fluctuations in the frequency of your brain waves : electrical pulses from neurons communicating with each other — measured in cycles per second (cps) — which change according to what we do and feel.
The chatter of our everyday consciousness is produced by high frequency Beta waves
(13 - 30 cps) : while these are important for effective functioning throughout the day, they also can translate into stress, anxiety and restlessness.
Slower Alpha waves (8 - 12 cps) are present in deep relaxation or light meditation : the voice of our intuition, they bridge the gap between our conscious thinking and subconscious mind.
Theta waves have an ever lower frequency (4 - 7 cps) and are connected to us experiencing profound emotions, creativity, insights and spiritual union.
In Yoga Nidra we are guided to the threshold between Alpha activity (conscious mind)
and Theta waves (subconscious mind). In this hypnagogic state, we can consciously clear subconscious patterns, create new ones and awaken deeper states of awareness.
Our Subconscious Beliefs
We all carry deeply ingrained beliefs about ourselves, planted there during childhood — many limiting beliefs, such as "I'm not good enough, I'm not deserving, I am unlovable" were installed before age 6, when our minds were most receptive.
Many of these beliefs will remain unconscious throughout the rest of our lives, but they shape our behavioural patterns, our achievements, our goals, how we choose our friends, our life partners, etc.
Yoga Nidra uses the power of intention to replace unconscious patterns with new, positive affirmations. When the session begins, you are asked to create a personal Sankalpa : a positive statement in the present tense, the aim being happiness, balance and fulfillment.
Replace Subconscious Patterns
In the hypnagogic state between wakefulness and sleep, your conscious mind will plant
the seed of this Sankalpa into your subconscious mind. Any sincere resolve repeated at this stage will produce profound effects.
Watering of this seed happens through regular repetition : for best results, a resolve must be present both in the conscious and subconscious mind. With that repetition the seed steadily grows, helping you release negative patterns and creating a new reality for yourself.
Choose Your Sankalpa
Take your time to find your Sankalpa — remember that whatever you choose will come
to fruition. Here are some examples of affirmations to inspire you :
"I am at peace with life, I am free."
"I am healed, I am healthy."
"I find beauty everywhere."
"I am worthy, I am loved."
"I am happy and open to whatever life may offer me."
Other benefits of Yoga Nidra include:
deeper and more restful sleep (1 hour of Yoga Nidra equals 4 hours of ordinary sleep)
promotion of the body's natural healing process
enhanced memory and learning capacity
reduction of stress
relief from anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders.