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Yoga Nidra, a specific type of meditation that mimics the effects of sleep, can be utilized to put ourselves into a conscious state of rest. This meditative practice has been used to induce profound relaxation in the body and mind, eliminate stress, overcome insomnia, solve personal and interpersonal problems, resolve trauma, and neutralize and overcome anxiety, fear, anger, and depression. During Yoga Nidra, one can enter a profound state of relaxation, all the while remaining aware and alert. The mind is typically distracted and moving in many directions from object to object, thought to thought, sensation to sensation, never resting for more than a few seconds. A Nidra practice prescribes an effective approach to "shutting off" the constantly active mind.

How is a Nidra meditation different than a standard meditation?

Yoga Nidra is a scripted meditation with a rich history. It was formally transcribed around 700 B.C., but originated around 1000 B.C. The script for Yoga Nidra is one that utilizes the concept of duality. The philosophy of duality in this regard is that we as people have both an "observer," being consciousness, and "that being observed," which are physical sensations such as those in the body, but also thoughts.

By playing with the awareness of the "observer" as well as the sensations that are "being observed," we can begin to mimic the pyschophysiological effects of sleep. When we are in a state of rest, our perception and tether to reality is loosened. We are able to experience a multidimensional state of observation toward anything our mind wishes to observe.

How is a Yoga Nidra script designed?

A Nidra meditation is experienced through different guided stages. They are as follows:

  • Stage 1: Physical Body (annamaya kosha): The awareness of sensation
  • Stage 2: Energy Body (pranamaya kosha): The awareness of breath and energy
  • Stage 3: Emotional Body (manomaya kosha): The awareness of feelings and emotion
  • Stage 4: Intellectual Body (vijnanamaya kosha): The awareness of thoughts, beliefs, and memorable images
  • Stage 5: Joyous Body (anandamaya kosha): The awareness of desire, pleasure, and jo
  • Stage 6: Ego Body (asmitamaya kosha): The awareness of the witness or ego
  • Stage 7: Natural State (sahaj): The awareness of the changeless Being

    (Source: Yoga Nidra, A meditative Practice for Deep Relaxation and Healing. By Richard Miller, PhD)
Yoga Nidra is an approachable practice for all people, regardless of religion or spiritual belief.


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