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Yoga Nidra (Yogic Dream) - All Information


Yoga Nidra, also known as, Psychic Sleep Meditation, Yogic Dreaming, Dream Yoga and Divine Dreaming, is an ancient practice from ‘Meditation from the Tantras’. It is also state of mind. It is that state of mind between waking and sleeping. When you go to sleep at night or when you wake up in the morning you lie in bed experiencing a dream; you know that you’re lying in bed and you know that you are dreaming. In that state of mind both your conscious mind is alert and active and your sub-conscious mind is also active and you aware of it. So you can experience your deep sub-conscious. Normally this happens by chance for 2-3 minutes when we wake up or go to sleep. In the practice of Yoga Nidra we aim to get in that state of mind, at will, for 30 - 40 minutes, so that we can go into the sub-conscious while the conscious mind is aware and awake and experience and explore our deep sub-conscious. When we are able to access the sub-conscious mind we are able to ‘Know Thy Self’; we are able to know what is in there. When we get into that state of mind, with the conscious mind alert, all tensions, fears and phobias bubble to the surface of the mind and vanish, like bubbles coming to the surface of water and disappearing. At the same time, we are able insert positivity. We are able to access the natural healing energies and boost the auto-immune system. We are able to access creativity and get new ideas. We are able to watch the ‘movie’ of our mind that is playing in the deep sub-conscious. And we are able to connect with the Higher Consciousness within us.

Basically this is the practice of Yoga Nidra. It is done lying down in Shavasan (or sitting in a comfortable chair). This makes it very easy and enjoyable. You don’t have to worry about how you’re sitting or about not moving. You just lie down and relax. You take your awareness step by step, from the outer world of sounds and activities, through the body, the breath, the mind and into the deep sub-conscious, release tensions, put in positive energy, explore the deep sub-conscious, connect with the Higher Consciousness, experience Heaven, and come back feeling totally refreshed and recharged; in a totally different, uplifted mood; as if you have been on a good holiday without actually going away anywhere.

The Practice of Yoga Nidra is an ancient practice from ‘Meditations from the Tantras’. It was discovered by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, direct disciple of Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh. Originally it was meant only for initiated Saadhaks (spiritual ). Swami Satyananda practiced it thoroughly himself and simplified it so that modern people of today can do it easily with full benefit. It is really good for releasing stress and tension, for developing awareness, concentration and memory, for developing creativity and accessing good ideas, for therapy and healing, for discovering and experiencing our deep subconscious, for enjoyment and relaxation and for connecting with the Higher Self. It has become so popular that it is used all over the world under various different names and for various different purposes.  We are so lucky that such an easy and enjoyable practice exists, that Swami Satyananda made it available to us, and that we can experience and learn it to do it by ourselves.

YOGA NIDRA excerpt from article by Swami Dr Shankardev

In yoga the art of sleeping is called yoga nidra, psychic sleep. This technique should be practiced in shavasana (lying flat on your back) during the day. Whenever you feel tired or unable to concentrate on your work, take five minutes or as long as you can spare and go through yoga nidra. This will refresh you for the rest of the day. Half an hour of yoga nidra equals two hours of sleep.

When yoga nidra is practiced for insomnia it should be done on a full stomach after lunch or dinner. However, the opposite applies when practiced for hypertension. For insomnia yoga nidra should be practiced after sheetali and sheetkari pranayama. To permanently reduce insomnia, practice karma yoga, both physical and mental work; get up at four a.m. and do asanas, pranayama and meditation; do not sleep during the day; and practice yoga nidra before sleeping at night.

Physical effects

Yoga nidra commences by going through the physical body, part by part. Focusing the awareness on the different parts of the body affects that area of the brain's cortex where sensation and motor activity are mapped out. That is, the toes are represented at one end of a long line of cells and the head is at the other. By systematically going through all the body parts we stimulate each part of the motor and sensory cortex in turn, relaxing the brain's activity and putting the circuits which have been disturbed back into order. This effect extends into our daily life helping to co-ordinate and relax our physical movements. When physical tension disappears, the body can lie still in bed more comfortably. Relaxation of the muscle tone relaxes the mind and sleep comes more quickly.

K.K. Datey, a renowned Bombay cardiologist, reports on the effectiveness of relaxation techniques (performed in shavasana) for hypertension:

"The majority of patients showed improvement in their symptoms. Headache, giddiness, irritability and insomnia disappeared in almost all the patients. Even the other symptoms became less marked, and in general the patients experienced a sense of well-being after this exercise."


Yoga nidra is a meditative practice designed to induce pratyahara (sense withdrawal); the mind stays awake while the body sleeps. The brain activity quietens, alpha waves are increased, the body relaxes, but the mind is totally alert. Turning inwards and maintaining awareness on the border of the sleep/wakefulness state (stage one of the sleep cycle) allows contact with the subconscious and the unconscious. This awareness helps us gain deeper understanding of the parts of our mind that induce mental and physical tension resulting in insomnia. This leads to good sleep.


An important part of yoga nidra is the sankalpa or resolve, a short dynamic statement charged with vital energy from the will. At certain times during the practice when the subconscious areas of the mind open up, it is possible to plant the resolve firmly and deeply in the mind so that it will flower and bear fruit. A positive resolve such as 'I will sleep better', can help to remove insomnia.


When we were children without a care in the world, we could sleep deeply and peacefully, awakening to the rising sun with a relaxed and warm feeling inside. Through yoga nidra, asana, pranayama, meditation and a regulated lifestyle, you can recapture that childhood experience in adult life. When you learn how to utilise yoga nidra to remove sleep problems then you are on the way to greater understanding of yourself. Yoga nidra then becomes what it was originally intended to be, a method of diving deep into the self. From this experience we discover that actually we have been asleep all the time, even when we thought we were awake, asleep to the greater reality of life.