Yoga Nidra is a scientific method for achieving a deep state of relaxation. It differs from many other methods of what we might consider to be relaxation. It is not hypnosis, although it is commonly mistaken for this. In its truest and most authentic method, it is a form of tantra; we remain in complete control throughout— if we do not succumb to sleep of course!
The practitioner is simply guided by the voice of the instructor deep into the mind. The brain waves remain predominantly in the alpha state and interchange with beta brain waves associated with wakefulness and delta – deep sleep brain waves. The alpha brain waves are the kind we experience when drifting off to sleep. Not yet in deep sleep, we are fully aware; we are deeply relaxed in the body, yet alert in mind. This is a place of great creativity, where it is possible to effect profound change in our bodies, minds and lives.
We might feel that we are most relaxed when slumped in front of the TV, perhaps with a glass of wine, which actually increases the ‘tamas’ guna or lethargy within us. Or perhaps we feel relaxed when curled up with a book. These are kinds of relaxation, it’s true – however from the yogic perspective, these may be considered quite superficial and once we have tasted the beginnings of ‘Yogic sleep’, or Yoga Nidra, which is a bridge to the higher branches of Yoga. Once we’ve experienced this, we will understand that there are far more profound states of relaxation available to us.
Gwendoline Odeluga is a Yoga teacher and Massage therapist in England. She has been practicing for over 20 years. Her teaching is influenced by her experience as a professional dancer and the dynamic form of Yoga associated with Ashtanga. Gwendoline met her teacher, Sri Prakash Shankar Vyas, ‘Guruji’ in 2007. Kriya Yoga is central to her way of life.
Website: Wise Moon Woman