“Most people sleep without resolving their tensions. This state is termed ‘nidra’. Nidra means sleep, no matter what or why. But ‘yoga nidra’ means sleep after throwing off the burdens. It is of a blissful, higher quality altogether. Bliss releases the atman, the inner self. That is why, in tantra, yoga nidra is the doorway to samadhi.”
-Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Founder, Bihar School of Yoga.
‘Yoga Nidra’ Guided Meditation and Relaxation Practice
Led by Sreedevi K. Bringi, M.Sc., M.S., M.A.
Background to the ‘Yoga Nidra’ Practice:
Yoga nidra is a systematic method of inducing physical, mental and emotional relaxation. The term ‘yoga nidra’ is derived from two Sanskrit words, ‘yoga’, meaning union of body-mind-consciousness, and ‘nidra’, which means sleep.
In yoga nidra, or psychic sleep, the consciousness functions at a deeper level of inner awareness and relaxation and is detached from the conscious mind. In this threshold state between sleep and wakefulness, contact with the subconscious and unconscious dimensions occurs spontaneously.
Yoga nidra consciousness is a powerful tool to develop higher states of concentration, relaxation, memory, creativity, and to promote self-healing and spiritual growth.
Tantric origins of yoga nidra can be traced to scriptures thousands of years ago in India. The secret intitiated practices taught by a guru to a disciple included a systematic rotation of consciousness throughout the body along with potent mantras/sacred sounds. Yoga nidra was designed to take the initiate to a deepened state of inner relaxation and receptivity for higher spiritual development..
The modern version of yoga nidra is now taught worldwide as a series of five progressive meditative practices in the beginner’s level. The advanced level incorporates chakra visualizations also and forms the basis for further practice into ‘kriya yoga’.
This methodology of yoga nidra was taught from the 1940’s by Swami Satyananada Saraswati, Founder of the Bihar School of Yoga in India. He based its development on his research into tantric scriptures and his own unfolding spiritual experiences, enhanced creativity and memory training. Instructions given by him in 1968 are published in his book “Yoga Nidra “ by the Bihar School of Yoga. and are useful for yoga practitioners, yoga teachers and all interested seekers.
Scientific investigations into the therapeutic uses of yoga nidra and various methods of meditation were initiated from the 1960s onwards and continue to document the value of meditative practices on overall health, well-being, stress-release, cognitive functioning and spiritual awareness,.etc. .
Sreedevi K. Bringi was intitiated into yoga nidra training and teaching in 1999 in Bangalore, South India by Swami Anandamangalam, a direct disciple of Swami Satyananda Saraswati.