Yoga is a very powerful form of meditation in which one lies down in Shavasana and is guided vocally through their subconscious and unconscious mind. The goal is to do this with full awareness, therefore bridging the gap between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. This state is what is called Yoga Nidra. Many sages believe in Yoga Nidra as the most efficient form of meditation to reach enlightenment. This is because in Yoga Nidra you leave the 5% of your awareness, and enter the “all.” Our waking consciousness is just one small glimpse of what we are, who we are, and of the world. But entering into our deeper layers of consciousness we have access to all that we are. In this state, we can accomplish amazing things because the subconscious mind is impressionable. For example, if you want to quit smoking, you can intellectually understand why you should quit and you can tell yourself many times unsuccessfully, but in the state of Yoga Nidra, if you tell yourself that you don’t need cigarettes, you will easily stop smoking. This is because where you are completely relaxed, you can access the parts of your mind where most of your behaviors actually stem from. It can also be used to learn things at an incredible rate, to improve the health of the body, heal illness and injury, and drastically change patterns of the mind. It can be used to reduce sleep because 1 hour of Yoga Nidra is equal to 4 hours of normal sleep. However the most valuable is that it can be used to remove blockages. In our lives, we have many things that go unaccomplished because deep down we don’t believe in ourselves. We don’t believe that we can accomplish our goals or that we deserve to. This deep belief manifests in our waking lives as excuses and reasons not to. It manifests in our bodies as health problems and fatigue. With Yoga Nidra we can enter the deepest layers of our minds and remove those blockages, allowing us to access our highest human potential.
In Yoga Nidra, there is a time in the beginning and the end that is taken out to set an intention. It can be an intention to change a habit, break an addiction, heal some problem in the body, or reach a short-term goal. These are very beneficial uses of this intention, but the original hope of Swami Satyananda (who developed the technique) is that the intention is used to achieve the highest goal of the individual. It should be a small, simple phrase, that manifests while in the state of Yoga Nidra, not before, that sets the mind to fulfill the purpose of the individual without a doubt. In my personal experience, though, Yoga Nidra has had an amazing impact in helping me accomplish short-term goals, and I think that is an incredible use of the practice. But still, seeing how effective Yoga Nidra is when it is used this way, I have to be in awe of what it could do over a long period used to accomplish an awesome goal.
If you don’t have someone leading Yoga Nidra in your area, don’t worry. There are many free sources on the internet. Definitely take some time out and experience this amazing practice.