By Prashant Pandey
In today’s world, there is one essential need for all of us; and if we find that need, we will gain satisfaction – that need is peace of mind. The last couple of centuries have seen our way of life change dramatically throughout the world; it’s one in which many people have lost a sense of balance and harmony on every level of existence. Stress and anxiety have grown to dominate people’s lives, having become a problem for humanity as a whole. The consequence has been disruption to everyone’s peace of mind.
Though we all experience the suffering of stress and anxiety, we remain unable to find a sustaining solution; this is because our search hasn’t focused on the root cause. Now, the question arises: How do we find the root cause of stress and anxiety in order to experience peace of mind? For us, the answer to this question lies in Yoga Nidra.
There are three main areas of tension that are responsible for all the sufferings of modern life. They are all inter-linked and influence one another:
- Muscular tension – related to the body, an imbalance of the nervous system as well as malfunctioning of the hormonal system.
- Mental tension – related to excessive mental activity, conflicts, highly competitive atmospheres, chasing endless ambitions and desires.
- Emotional tension – related to dualistic emotions such as love-hate, success-failure, profit-loss, emotional suppression versus freedom of emotional expression.
Through the systematic practice of Yoga Nidra, these threefold tensions can progressively release. Yoga Nidra is the science of relaxation, which enables each of us to:
- Experience deep physical relaxation;
- Dive deeply into the realm of the subconscious mind;
- Relax the deeper layer of the mind; and
- Release mental stress and tranquilize the emotional body.
Yoga Nidra means sleep with a trace of awareness. It is a state of mind between wakefulness and dreams; it connects us with the alpha brainwave patterns responsible for deep relaxation. Through the practice of Yoga Nidra, we are not only relaxing, but we are restructuring and reforming our entire personality from within, restoring our creative genius.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati, who is the founder of Bihar School of Yoga, Munger, Bihar, conceptualized and developed the structure of Yoga Nidra. He discovered that direct knowledge can be gained without any sensory medium. He realized that sleep is not a state of total unconsciousness; it is rather, a state of potentiality – a form of awareness that is awake and fully alert to the outer reality. He found that through the training of mind, it is possible to utilize this state from which to learn and gain direct knowledge. This was the birth of Yoga Nidra.
The secret and the importance of Yoga Nidra can be glimpsed in the words of Swami Satyananda Saraswati:
“Most people sleep without resolving their tensions,
This is termed nidra.
Nidra means sleep, no matter what or why,
But yoga nidra means sleep after throwing off the burdens,
It is of a blissful, higher quality altogether.
When awareness is separate and distinct from the vrittis,
When waking, dream and deep sleep pass like clouds,
Yet awareness of atma remains
This is the experience of total relaxation.
Relaxation does not mean sleep.
Relaxation means to be blissfully happy,
It has no end.
I call bliss absolute relaxation;
Sleep is a different matter.
Sleep gives only mind and sense relaxation.
Bliss relaxes the atma, the inner self;
That is why, in tantra,
Yoga nidra is the doorway to samadhi.”
To conclude, I would like to make this wish for each and every one of us:
“May we all be inspired and motivated to practice Yoga Nidra and experience PEACE OF MIND.”
About the author
Prashant is a Yoga and meditation master, and alumni of the Bihar School of Yoga. For over ten years he lived a purely yogic life as a boarding student at the school, learning under the supervision of his Guru, Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, successor of Swami Satyananda Saraswati, the original creator of Yoga Nidra. He is the director of several programs at Kavaalya International Yoga Center in India and the master of a Yoga Nidra course for practitioners and teachers. If you would like to experience a Yoga Nidra class by Prashant Pandey, this video gives you a short glimpse of his practice.
Click here more information about Yoga Nidra at Kavaalya International Yoga Center