The Yogi's Sleep
Yoga Nidrā is a practice within modern Yoga that takes the form of guided meditation in a state between wakefulness and sleep. Innovated by Swāmī Satyānanda Saraswati from the Bihar School of Yoga in 1976, this method creates the conditions for a reviving relaxation at the deepest levels of the body and mind.
The entire session takes places in a comfortable reclining position. Moving through a series of stages: relaxation, circulating awareness through the body, breath-work, perceiving the senses, visualisations, and externalisation, the Yogi begins to explore the subconscious realms and be in complete control of their own healing.
Even though in a complete state of stillness, the emphasis is to stay awake and not sleep. Initially sleep feels unavoidable with complete relaxation but with enough practice sleep can be mastered.
With practice, the intentions we set in Yoga Nidrā tend to have profound results in waking life. More experience translates into lucid dreaming and sleep Yoga practices.
Addressed for the modern age, this practice is noted for improving sleep, creative inspiration, lucid dreaming, stress reduction, and overall better wellbeing. There are great applications for high performance and the practice of technical skills. Research into Yoga Nidrā as a treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has yielded interesting results.