Yoga Nidra is an essential part of the Yoga practice during which the full effect of the Yoga asanas is imbibed deep within in order to achieve the Sattvic (balanced) effect of Yoga practice. The mind is trained to move through the specific points of the body, the sequence of which correspond to the centres in the cortex of the brain (read more about Yoga Nidra in the section below) Most of the points are in the hands, joints, feet and head, as represented by the Homunculus, “the small man” with bodily proportions which are distorted in accordance with the amount of mental space each organ takes up in the mind.
Devi conducting Yoga Nidra after Yoga class in Sedona, USA, at the Sedona Yoga Festival in March 2017
By relaxing our body following the points as per the cortex of the brain (as represented by the homunculus) the sleep in a state of inner awareness (Yoga Nidra) allows us to experience mental control, energize beautiful affirmations by allowing them to soak deep within and establish fresh neuronal patterns which will help us carry this control and positivity into the waking state of mind.
In the alchemical sense, the homunculus is our “inner observer”, representing “knowledge about knowledge” Find out more about the history of Homunculus here.
Yoga Nidra is an instrument of Pratyahara (withdrawal from the senses, 5th among the 8 limbs of Yoga). While the shorter version of Yoga Nidra (10-15 min) is an ideal way of soaking in the effect of any Yoga practice, as of August 2017 Devi started conducting a longer version (90 min) of Yoga Nidra called Awakening Yoga Nidra. In the Alfa state of mind, brain capacity is enhanced and there is literally no limit to what one can achieve (learn a new language in a very short period of time, enhance one’s creativity, concentration, focus, inspiration, self-confidence, overcome fears and blockages, etc.)
“Awakening Yoga Nidra is based on the ancient method of effective, progressive relaxation called Yoga Nidra (self-induced, conscious yogic sleep), a beautiful method of balancing and activating both sides of the brain, strengthening the inner witness (sakshi bhaav) and speeding up the process of spiritual awakening. In order to relax truly and deeply, it is necessary that one first gets free from the inner tensions at the level of mind, emotions and body. This is a great challenge, especially in the current fast tempo of life. Only when one is fully relaxed does the mind get fully receptive. Alpha state of mind, which is usually a very short transition into a sleep state hereby gets prolonged significantly and the right side of brain gets activated. That is why this method is amazingly effective.
Devi conducting Awakening Yoga Nidra in Novi Sad, Serbia, Oct 2017
Awakening Yoga Nidra requires no specific preparation. It can be done comfortably by people of any age group and fitness level. After light warm up exercises done in line with the program of Himalayan School of Traditional Yoga (HSTY), one relaxes in the comfortable lying position of Shavasana and follows the guidance.
During Awakening Yoga Nidra, the second part is essential as it relies on the Grace of Guru Tatwa (Guru principle) that moves us beyond all techniques into inconceivable possibilities. The initial part is the same as in any Yoga Nidra – one travels with the attention through different parts of the body in a set sequence (which corresponds to the centers in the cortex of the brain), with accent on certain parts of the body in line with the graphic depiction of the ‘Homunculus.’ This is followed by the experience of opposites (feeling heavy - light, hot - cold, pain-pleasure, etc.) During the process, while in Alpha state of mind, one can effectively plant the seed of ‘Sankalpa’ (firm decision/intention) where the Law of Attraction is truly at work.
The unconscious mind is activated through archetypes (e.g. dark forest / dark cave, golden egg, etc.) As the inner witness is strengthened, one can face the inner fears and blockages effectively and without trauma. Just like all darkness disappears in the presence of light, when the light of consciousness shines on the nonintegrated parts of our psyche which represent the darkness and weight within, our journey through life becomes much lighter.
Awakening Yoga Nidra however goes a step further – the Grace of Guru Tatwa (Guru Principle) is invoked and, as the person conducting the session connects with Mohanji’s consciousness, he/she guides the group through a process which brings back the memory of the soul’s journey and the Light beyond all veils of illusion. The process is very intense but completely safe as it is conducted through Mohanji’s expanded consciousness and subtle presence. The Love that is experienced is immense and melts the heart. Whatever one is ready to integrate and absorb at the present point in time is what emerges from the unconscious mind. Most importantly, the intense inner thirst for spiritual Liberation in this life itself is enhanced manifold! Even if one only touches the space of no mind briefly, once emerging out from the Awakening Yoga Nidra, it’s a new reality - the sense of inner richness, gratitude and empowerment is palpable. The direct experience of the inner witness and immeasurable Grace remains in one’s awareness as a precious blessing. One thus gets empowered to face any challenge of life more effectively and gets firmly set on the path of Liberation.
Devi conducting Awakening Yoga Nidra for 140 people at Bor Lake Retreat in Serbia, Nov 2017