Yoga Nidra and Meditation
People are sometimes confused about the similarities and differences between Yoga Nidra and meditation, and how they compare as separate and/or companion practices.
In Yoga Nidra we leave the waking state of consciousness and enter the Deep Sleep state of consciousness, whilst paradoxically, remaining fully awake. It is a deeply relaxing state, where the strength of samskaras (impressions or memories) of attachment and fear is reduced.
In meditation, we remain in the waking state of consciousness, and gradually allow the unconscious and subconscious layers to manifest themselves. We can then observe these layers from a state of single-pointed concentration and non-attachment.
Meditation and Yoga Nidra work very well together, enabling us to purify the deepest levels of the mind, and to allow what was previously unconscious into an expanded conscious state. This expansion includes the realization of the pure consciousness that permeates all levels.
Yoga Nidra brings incredible calmness, quietness and clarity; it is one of the deepest of all meditations, leading awareness through many levels of mental process to a place of stillness and insight. A sense of calm detachment arises when we step back and witness our dualistic feelings of attachment and aversion.
This detached observation allows us to remove obstacles to the process of self-realisation, without the need to add yet more information, or to remain a victim of our habitual reactions.
When meditation is impossible
Many people either don’t have the discipline or inclination to meditate, for all kinds of reasons. Yoga Nidra is a great way for those who fall into this category to experience deep relaxation and meditative awareness without having to sit with their thoughts, a process that some find so difficult that they abandon the practice.
If you have a student, client or friend who is in need of help with anxiety, stress or depression, but finds meditation unhelpful, introduce them to Yoga Nidra. It is the simplest way to create a bridge between conscious awareness and the subconscious mind, to release fear and access pure awareness and love.
Quote from a teacher who recently completed the Yoga Nidra TT
“As a student, I have always believed that that meditation implies an element of control and discipline. I question this now, as it has meant I have become stuck in the practice rather than the state. I have felt disempowered by the rigidity of my practice and I now believe this to be the reason that although I have experimented with meditation for many years yet I would say that I am relatively untransformed by it. For me, the relaxing and nurturing nature of YN opens me up to a more spontaneous spiritual awareness.”
Why do we meditate? We meditate precisely because this world of ours has disappointed us and because failure looms large in our day-to-day life. We want fulfilment. We want joy, peace, bliss and perfection within and without. Meditation is the answer, the only answer. Sri Chinmoy