The Stages of Yoga Nidra

A group of women practicing yoga

Yoga Nidra, loosely interpreted as yogic sleep, is a yoga practice which takes you to a new level. It relaxes your mind and supercharges your intuition. Before yoga Nidra, deep relaxation exercises prepare your body and mind for the experience.

You practice Yoga Nidra when you lie down and follow a highly guided practice. You could begin your experience at a yoga retreat centre like Vagabond Temple to learn the basics or take your practice to a higher level. Yoga Nidra involves different stages, each projected to take you further into an altered consciousness state. Here are the basic steps.

Cycle of Awareness through Your Body

The main objective of this stage is to separate your mind. This focuses your mind and keeps it alert and detached from external stimuli. Rotation of awareness throughout your body creates a sense withdrawal known as pratyahara. Pratyahara opens your mind’s conscious and subconscious levels that could relax your mind and body.

Awareness of Pranayama

This stage allows your relaxed mind and body to connect with your subtle body through pranayama. Pranayama will enable you to become aware of the realms which lie beyond your body. It also opens up your body to experience pranic breathing. This further takes you on an inward journey to connect with your inner mind.

Awareness of Emotion and Feeling

This phase allows a yogi to dissolve conditional and emotional attachment. The yogi becomes more aware of their subconscious. This creates an equilibrium in your experience.

After creating an emotional attachment, a yogi needs to harmonise his or her emotional and mental patterns. Guided visualisation forms an intense psychological journey that evokes an emotional response in the yogi’s relaxed mind. This cleanses and heals the mind of deep-seated mental issues.

After this stage, your original intention is planted into your unconscious mind and awareness returns to your body.