By Arun Goel
I received quite a few responses to my newsletter last week
on “Yoga Nidra”. It was particularly pleasing to know
that some of you were already on your way to explore its
However, the feedback also suggested that
many wished for a further elaboration on the “awareness
For the benefit of these, I shall try to put as much as I
can into words. If, however, youweren’t one of those
inquisitive few, please ignore this issue.
Ok, where do I begin? Before I do so, let
me clarify that Yoga nidra is done while lying down
flat on the back (Shavasana). While this may seem obvious to
some, there were many doubts on this score so that should
AIM OF THESE TECHNIQUES
The whole purpose of these “awareness
rotation” techniques is to “disconnect” from the
outside world and begin to relax INSIDE at the mental level.
This whole process is called involution of the senses.
Initially, when you close your eyes and
try to focus inwardly, your mind behaves like a naughty
child. It does the direct opposite of what you instruct it
to do!! So we use this mischievous tendency against itself.
The first part involves the “sound
rotation awareness”. In this you are asked to listen to
all the sounds that you can hear and rotate your awareness
from one sound to the next and so on. This is not easy – our
natural tendency is to focus and analyze each sound which in
turn triggers thought and memory. This must not be done. You
should move from one sound to the other just witnessing it,
without getting affected and moving on. With practice, the
mind starts getting bored of this stupid game and
disconnects itself from all sounds. This is the desired
The next phase is very important. It is
the rotation of body awareness and it involves two aspects.
One is to disconnect the tactile senses and the other is to
establish the link of mental / physical awareness. Just as
you disconnected the sense of sound previously, you are now
disconnected from the sense of touch by progressive guidance
of the instructor.
With practice, you will notice that you
cannot feel your body anymore physically – it doesn’t seem
to be there. This again is the desired effect. But it will
happen only if you are AWAKE and aware.
EFFECT OF BODY AWARENESS:
The rotation of body awareness stimulates
different parts of the brain that control each and every
body nerve. When you are aware of each part of your body,
you are actually massaging the corresponding part in the
brain as well. You establish the connection between the body
and the mind.
This powerful technique in Yoga Nidra
has in fact been responsible for several people with
disabilities experiencing a certain part of the body for the
From these physical and mental
experiences of body awareness, you are led to a more subtle
experience – that of breath or “Prana”. By lying
still and “watching” the process of normal breathing
in Yoga nidra, greater relaxation of body and mind is
achieved. In this stage, you are made to observe your breath
and its effects upon different parts of your body. When
practicing this, you are not supposed to alter your breath
in any way. Nor is there any effort imposed upon the natural
breath – just observe what is happening….
EFFECTS OF BREATH AWARENESS:
Through these methods, you will be able
to understand what really goes inside – which aspects of
your personality are the causes and which are the effects of
your thoughts, feelings and actions.
The breath is like the bridge between the
body and mind – a link between our conscious thoughts, and
feelings with the mental imagery stored in the mind.
Often during yoga nidra, repressed
material from the conscious and subsconcious layers of the
mind surfaces. This happens because the blocks and
psychological barriers have been removed because of the
induced relaxation. It is at such times that you see the
solution to such “repressions” clearly. That is why
people arise from Yoga Nidra feeling that a great burden has
been removed from within.
As you can see, the awareness rotation
techniques seek to create an environment of “enhanced
Once this environment is created, the
next step is to increase the performance, creativity and
capacity of the mind manifold through subtle vibrations of
mantra and visualization techniques. The Beginners Course
that I mentioned in my last newsletter, incorporates these
Mantra and visualization methods in its Yoga Nidra audio
CD. For your benefit, you can go there by
I hope that I have succeeded in throwing
some more light on this mystical topic WITHOUT it appearing
too far out. Hope it helps.
All the best,