Yoga Nidra is a technique of Pratyahara (the fifth stage of Astanga Yoga). It is one of the foremost contributions of Satyananda Yoga. Swami Satyananda Saraswati has derived it from the esoteric practice of Naysa as described in the ancient tantric scriptures. It has been widely beneficial to the people of modern age, leading suffering humanity towards a state of deep relaxation and a tension – free life.
Decreasing sympathetic arousals and cortical excitations in one side and on the other together stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system is one of the most influential effects of this practice. The other convincing aspect of this practice is the visualization that helps to divert the awareness towards positive direction.
During this practice, the individual is gradually liberated from the deep emotional complexes, fears, and inadequacies that are harboured in the subconscious mind. Often they are the impressions of remnants of unpleasant experiences from early childhood. These may never enter conscious awareness, but they nevertheless generate a high level of floating anxiety in daily life, affecting interactions, responses, attitudes and decisions. This is a root cause of constant tension and stress.
This practice unburdens the loads from mind and heart, leading one to regain a child’s emotions and outlook on life: open, simple and spontaneous. This provides enormous mental and emotional relief for the aspirants, who are frequently deeply entwined in the emotional complexes of fear, self-pity, aggression, betrayal or anger. As relaxation occurs, arrested emotions are liberated and the aspirant gradually learns to live, think and feel simply and honestly, expressing feelings openly and honestly. Personality disturbance, due to suppression, is avoided, and outbursts of anger, excitement or passion no longer overwhelm the mind and overtax the other bodily functions.
Imagine the deep relaxation the aspirant would experience if it were freed from lurking anxieties and subconscious tensions. That is what a person in 21st century needs more than anything else and that is what Yoga Nidra (yogic relaxation technique) brings about.