Technique For Deep Relaxation:
Yoga Nidra is a deep relaxation technique which the yoga teacher Satyananda has promoted widely in his teachings. It is extremely effective and is very easy to learn. The more you practice it, the better your breathing will become and the more oxygen your body will take in. It releases tensions in both body and mind through the directing of the awareness in a disciplined way.
You will achieve peace of mind through the regular practice of Yoga Nidra.
It is effective, when done regularly, in changing patterns of behaviour, and in weeding out negative thought patterns from our minds. It is a very beneficial excercise, not only for those who are giving up smoking, but for all who want to improve health and gain peace of mind.
Yoga Nidra is an exercise which can help us achieve great things. It is an exercise which can inspire and influence people around us because of the good we promote within ourselves. The practice of Yoga Nidra can help shape events in our lives which will benefit others as well as ourselves.
The following is my own adaptation of Yoga Nidra as taught by Satyananda. If you want, you can omit the visualization section, but I have found this to be most helpful especially when people are sick, lonely or grieving.
This exercise is done with the eyes closed, but you can do it with these instructions in front of you until you get the hang of it. Even this will be helpful.
All you need is half an hour in a quiet space where you can remain undisturbed. Lie on the floor. You can cover the body with a light blanket.
This is ‘savasana’, or ‘dead man’s pose’. Put the arms alongside the body, slightly away from the trunk and thighs so that they do not touch the body. The palms are facing upward and the forefinger and thumb lightly touching. Legs are on the floor with the feet slightly apart from each other, not touching.
Close the eyes. Begin breathing slowly and evenly. Count the breaths and say OM to yourself as you breathe out. This must be silently spoken to yourself, as chanting or speaking while in a prone position is hurtful to the larynx.
Watch the tummy rising and falling with each breath. ‘One’ as you breathe in, ‘OM’ as you breath out. Feel your body relax totally as you breathe out. With each breath, the body is becoming more relaxed. Continue up to TEN.
Keep the even, regulated, deep breaths going. The tummy rising and falling.
Now, we are going to move through the body with our awareness. Don’t worry if you feel you can’t ‘get’ it or that you are out of touch with the parts of the body which we name. It doesn’t matter. You just carry on with the routine anyway and move onto the next body part.
Take your awareness to the right hand thumb—–forefinger—–middle finger—–fourth finger—–little finger—–palm—–back of the hand—–forearm——outer lower arm—–upper arm—–shoulder—–right arm pit—–right side of the chest—–right side of the stomach—–right hip—–right thigh—-knee—–shin—–calf muscle—–ankle—–top of the foot—–sole of the foot—–right big toe—–2nd toe—–3rd toe—–4th toe—–5th toe—–the whole of the right foot lying on the floor.
Keep the even breathing going. The tummy rising and falling. Feel the body becoming more relaxed on the floor.
Bring the attention to the left hand thumb—– forefinger—–middle finger—–4th finger—– little finger—–palm—–back of the hand—–wrist—–forearm—–outer lower arm—-upper left arm—–shoulder—–left side of the chest—–left side of the stomach—–left hip—-left thigh—–left knee—–shin—–calf muscle—–ankle—–top of the foot—–sole of the foot—–left big toe—–2nd toe——3rd toe——4th toe—–5th toe—–the left foot lying on the floor.
Be mindful of the breath. The tummy rising and falling as you keep breathing slowly and deeply. Totally relaxed.
Come back to the awareness of the feet on the floor. Bring the awareness up the backs of the legs, slowly as you continue your breathing, to the thighs, the bottom, the lower spine, on slowly up the spine until you reach the neck. Keep breathing deeply and slowly. Bring the awareness up the back of the head to the top of the skull, the forehead, the temples, the eyebrows, eyes, cheeks, nose, mouth, lips. Remember to keep a relaxed smile on the lips.
Repeat the whole exercise from the beginning – three times to this point. Now hold the awareness in the eyebrow centre. Watch this space for anything you might visualize here. Now leave the eyebrow centre. Move the awareness slowly around the body in a wide circle. Take your time. Just listen for sounds in the direction you have your awareness placed. No need to analyze these sounds. Simply hear, be aware, and move on your radar sensor further round. Listen for the sounds again. Keep this practice up for a few minutes.
Be aware of the breathing again. Nice, slow, even, energy filled breaths. Watch the tummy rising and falling with each breath.
Now visualize the moon coming up over the water. You are feeling totally at peace with yourself and the world. Watch the moon for a minute or two, rising up over the water.
Now you are walking through the garden of Paradise. Birds are singing. You can hear a stream nearby as you walk down a winding path which has all the plants in the world growing alongside and round about it. You can smell the beautiful fragrances from many different flowers As you walk along the path of the garden of Paradise, you can see a rock pool where a little waterfall is running gently down. You sit here for a moment and breathe in beautiful, cool, moist and fragrant air which heals and soothes you with each breath.
Higher up the path, you can see a Cathedral and hear Angelic voices singing. All the people you love, departed and living, are here, making their way with rejoicing up to the Cathedral. You can decide whether or not you want to continue further up to greet them.
Leave your friends and come back to the awareness of the body on the floor. Hear the birds outside. Move the awareness around radar-like again, but more quickly this time.
Move the awareness now to the throat. Keep breathing. Feel the throat relaxed. Move to the chest. Keep breathing. As you breathe, feel the chest relaxed and toxins and negative thoughts and feelings leaving the body. Come to the stomach. Breathe. Again, feel negative emotion leaving the body, and energy from your breath infusing the area. Move on down—–the hips—–the thighs—–the knees—–shins—–calf muscles—–ankles—–tops of the feet—–soles of the feet—–both feet lying on the floor.
Be aware of the legs on the floor, the trunk on the floor, the head on the floor. Continue to breathe.
The whole face is totally relaxed. You are smiling contentedly. Bring the awareness to the eyebrow centre. Feel at peace within this centre. Keep breathing evenly as you think of the thing which you would like to improve in yourself or within the world. Say a prayer for friends, family and the people in the world who have a need greater than our own. Pray, then, that we might get help with the changes we wish to make in our lives.
We might ask that all patterns of addictive behaviour will cease and that our waking moments be filled with creative, constructive, loving thoughts and actions which will benefit not just ourselves, but those around us.
Say your prayer three times. Give thanks for the blessings in our lives three times.
Prepare now to finish the yoga nidra practice. You can speed up the process of identification of body parts. Take the awareness to the whole body on the floor, the head on the floor, the arms, the trunk, the legs, the feet on the floor. Bring the awareness up the back of the legs, calves, thighs, bottom, spine, head, back of the head, top of the head. Face, neck, arms, chest, stomach, hips, thighs, knees, shins, calves, ankles, tops of the feet, soles of the feet, ten toes. Do this section three times.
Move the hands on the floor. Stretch the fingers. Move the head side to side. Move the arms, wriggle the toes, move the feet. Feel the whole body lying on the floor. You are leaving the yoga nidra state now.
Sit up with your eyes closed. Say OM aloud three times. Chant the sound in a relaxed, long breath. Your tone will be clear and strengthened by the yoga nidra practice. Open your eyes.
Thankyou. Yoga nidra is complete.