Yoga Nidra is a practice developed by Swami Satyananda to enable one to experience deep relaxation. It is a practice where the body rests completely but the awareness remains awake as you listen to instructions. The practice is based on an ancient practice know as Nyasa where a “mantra” was placed on each part of the body as part of a systematic rotation of consciousness in the body.
In its present form Yoga Nidra offers the opportunity to completely let go of tension in the physical body which leads to a relaxation of mental tensions. Your teacher will guide you through the practice as you draw your awareness inward (the practice of pratyahara), rotate your awareness around each part of your body, explore your breath and breathing patterns and then gently return your awareness to the outside world.
These 4 parts form the basic stages of Yoga Nidra. As you develop your understanding of the practice other stages are introduced to help deepen the experience of relaxation and to enable you to introduce your own resolve or Sankalpa (more on this next week).