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Yoga Nidra
An important instrument of peace, tranquility and general improvement is the technique known as Yoga-nidra. Yoga-nidra is a kind of sleep when one is fully conscious and awake - The mind is fully conscious, and devoid of any tension, but the body is completely relaxed and every nerve is relaxed. The right time for doing Yoga-nidra is after a hard day's work, when one is most tired. Yoga-nidra can be practised by anyone who is overworked or stressed.

The procedure is quite simple. It is always preferable to do Yoga-nidra with the help of an instructor, even when one knows and is quite conversant with it. Often while doing Yoga-nidra one goes to sleep. Even when one is drifting into sleep, the statements made by the Yoga-nidra instructor goes into the mind and get embedded deep into the subconscious.

To start with, one should lie down with his face up, legs slightly apart, hands by the sides, eyes closed breathing slowly and deeply. The yoga-nidra instructor guides the mind from one organ of the body to another, instructing each organ to relax. The yoga nidra practitioner rotates the consciousness around the organ, feeling it, experiencing the relaxation of that part, and the draining away of all pain and stress in and around the organ.

First you call upon your Ishtadevata, the deity of your choice, whom you like most, or your Guru or a Saint or Jesus Christ or Prophet Mohammed to come to your mind in front of your mind's eye, in the Chidakasa (the sky of the mind - when one closes his/ her eyes, and looks ahead one can feel the infinite depth or expanse of the Chidakasa in front). Picturise your Ishtadevata in all splendour, as best as you can. Make your Sankalpa. Sankalpa is a statement made by oneself to oneself regarding one's targets or goals, a reminder of what one wants to achieve, in order of priority. One can change one's Sankalpa depending upon the changing scenario - for example an urgent problem, that is paramount and needs immediate attention can become the topmost priority.

But all yoga-nidra will start with the recitation of one's goals or Sankalpa, prefaced with the statement that "the Sankalpa made during yoga-nidra will never fail". Such a profound statement and a mental reassurance to oneself goes a long way in ensuring that one's fears are removed and the body and mind are cured with redoubled internal capabilities through improved brain response and interaction with them.The internal healing mechanism that has retreated into the background following the surfacing ofnegative expectations and fears, now comes back recharged to complete the healing process.

At this stage one gives instructions to the body organs, one by one, to relax, to remove all pain and tensions and to heal themselves. The order of calling should remain same every time one does yoga nidra. There should be no change in the order.

First, say 'Right thumb relax', rotate the conscious around the right thumb, feel it relaxing and being relieved of all pain, pressures, tension, stress and uneasiness, if any. Then say 'First finger relax'. Then feel the first finger of right hand relaxing and feel the tension and pain, if any, there slowly draining away.After the right hand shift attention to the collarbone, shoulder blades, rib cage, chest, right lung, the heart, the elimentary canal from mouth to stomach, and the diaphragm. If there is any particular health problem, rotate your consciousness around the organ contributing to the problem. Feel the problem vanishing or at least reducing. For example, for stomach pain, feel the stomach relaxing and the pain reducing. For irritation in the throat or cough, feel the throat relaxing and the conscious rotating around the area of irritation, with the discomfort slowly reducing. Feel the muscles around the named organs relaxing. Feel deep inside the bones, the flow of blood and nervous energy.

Then shift attention to the organs located in the abdomen. Depending upon the affliction the concerned abdominal organ is to be made to relax and return to its normal health.

Next the right hip, the hip bones, the right thigh muscles, the knee joint, the calf muscle, the leg, the ankle, the right foot, the heel, the sole and the toes of the right foot. Finally sweep the conscious around the whole of the right side of the body.

Now move on to the left side and repeat all the above stated steps.
[Note: If there is too much pain or suffering in/of any particular area or organ, completely avoid that area (and skip it) during yoga-nidra.i.e.., the awareness should be taken far away from the suffering/painful organ. It automatically starts relaxing and pain reduces this way Over a period of time when there is good improvement and much progress, one can directly focus 'awareness during yogs nidra on the afflicted part/s.]
Some organs of the chest and abdomen will be repeated in this process. It does not matter.

Finally rotate the conscious around the facial muscles, the eyes, the nose, the neck, the top of the head, inside the head - the brains, the back of the head and all along the back - from the top to the bottom.

One can also use the yellow prana (that is, feel a yellow colored glowing sphere enveloping the organ concerned) during this practice for relaxing and healing an organ.

After relaxing the whole body thus, one takes away the conscious from the body. Come out of the body and look at your own body from outside. Move your consciousness away from the body and feel the outside world, the land and the topography, the evening sun, or moon or the clouds - whatever gives total relaxation and sense of well-being. Create an atmosphere or a scenario, which gives a tremendous amount of satisfaction and peace of mind to you - like a temple, church or mosque, or a beach or a lake and totally peaceful atmosphere suiting your mental make-up. Hear the sounds, songs, prayers or bhajans (devotional songs), which should fill your mind and the whole of your being. After practicing this for about ten minutes, the instructor slowly brings you back to your body consciousness. If you have gone to sleep by that time, it does not matter. Your subconscious is listening to all this and healing you.

Yoga-nidra should be practiced daily to derive the maximum benefit. It is also to be practiced whenever one is very tired, worn-out or mentally fatigued. Normally one is tired in the evenings and hence yoga-nidra is best done in the evening hours. It is preferable to do it before dinner. However, if time is a constraint one can do it also before sleep.

You can have a cassette on yoga-nidra produced by Bihar Yoga Bharati from the AMC Trust or from the Bihar School of Yoga costing Rs. 100/- (approx) (Handling charges extra).