Quickest way to Reduce Stress and Anxiety? Lie down for Yoga Nidra Meditation

"The mental afflictions are, by nature, relative and subjective; they have no absolute or objective basis" - The Dalai Lama

Yoga nidra meditation, popularized by Paramhansa Satyananda, is based on the tantric practice of Nyasa.

Nyasa literally means placing, and refers to the practice of first becoming aware of each body part and then infusing it with a special mantra, creative visualization or feeling.

Yoga-nidra is a state of mind between wakefulness and sleep that allows a practitioner to establish contact with the sub-conscious and unconscious mind. It can be used to achieve lasting change through the process of sankalpa (resolve).

Yoga nidra meditation involves the following stages: Internal Awareness, Sankalpa, Rotation of Consciousness, Creative Visualization, Sankalpa and External Awareness. This is how you do it:

  • Internal Awareness
  1. Lie on your back
  2. Rest your arms freely by your side with palms facing upward and fingers relaxed
  3. Head in alignment with the body
  4. Legs slightly parted with feet falling open from the hips
  5. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath
  • Sankalpa

          Make a resolve on what you want to achieve; could be a material or a spiritual goal

  • Rotation of Consciousness
  1. Move your consciousness throughout the body starting with the right thumb
  2. Mentally repeat the name of each body part as you traverse it
  3. Follow this sequence: right thumb, second finger, third finger, fourth finger, little finger, palm, back of hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder, armpit, side of body, thigh, knee, back of knee, calf, shin, ankle, heel, sole, in-step, big toe, second toe and to the little toe
  4. Do the same on the left side
  5. Move on to the right side of upper back, left side, spinal column, right lower back, left lower back, right hip, left hip, whole back together
  6. Crown of the head, sides, back of the head, forehead, temples, right brow, left brow, eye lids, eyes, nose, cheeks, chin, neck (front and back), right chest, left chest, abdomen, whole of right leg, whole of left leg, both legs, right arm, left arm, both arms, whole back, whole abdomen and chest, whole head and finally whole body together
  7. Repeat once
  • Creative Visualization
  1. Imagine radiant white light entering and suffusing every single part in your body
  2. See your stress, anxiety, anger, frustrations leaving your body in the form of dark smoke
  3. Repeat your resolve
  4. Visualize your life after having achieved it - make it as detailed as you can
  • External Awareness
  1. Become aware of your body lying on the floor/bed
  2. Slowly move your limbs and stretch gently
  3. Open your eyes
  4. Slowly sit up

This meditation can be done without the Sankalpa and/or creative visualization. The mere act of paying conscious attention to individual body parts is enough to melt away any stress or tension in those parts.

You can do yoga nidra meditation twice a day - in the morning just after waking up and at night before going to sleep (but be careful lest you fall asleep during the meditation).

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