Yoga Nidra, also known as 'Yoga sleep' or 'Psychic sleep', practiced in the Indian yoga tradition, is that state when one is in a dynamic sleep state, offering deep relaxation without being in an unconscious sleeping state that occurs during the night hours. It is one of the best ways to release the power that lies in one's unconscious being. This extremely influential mental and physical relaxation technique, it is a state where inner awareness and deep relaxation is encouraged. When in the state of Yoga Nidra, one's mind and body are completely calm and his breathing and heart beat also slow down. In other words, this technique can be described as a lying down form of meditation, using the body.
An influential technique of Tantra Yoga tradition, Yoga Nidra state leads to creation of a transformed conscious state for the practitioner so that they can heal their inner self, can relax, remove any past Karma issues, get inside the state of super-conscious and sub-conscious, finally near enlightenment. Though its origin is tantric but it is also a part of the Raja Yoga system's Eight Limbs of Yoga, Yogic practices by Sage Patanjali (an Indian sage who lived around 200 B.C.). However, out of 8 limbs of yoga can be seen in Yoga nidra practice- Pranayam, Dharana and Pratyharya.
If theoretically seen, yoga nidra concentrates on life force or if simply said on the body of energy. In India, the term Pranan is used to signify the same and in Chinese, it is Chi. Improving and balancing this from of energy is the main purpose.
It is not necessary that one should attend classes for reaping-in the benefits of deep relaxation. A quiet and healthy environment, and Yoga nidra's audio recording are the pre-requisites of practicing it. Just lie down on your back, keeping your hands away from the body with palms facing upwards. Your toes should be pointing outwards and the distance between your feet should be around hip width away. When your body would be in symmetry, you would be able to know the center line between body's throat and navel.
Yoga nidra and meditation are slightly different things. While in meditation one sits with his spine in a vertical position and is completely aware, it is not the same in Yoga nidra as here one lies down, getting into a semi-hypnotic condition, between being awake and asleep. Yoga nidra in a way is seen as the preparation of meditation as meditating is not comes easily to people with overzealous body. If you master Yoga nidra, it helps you in doing meditation properly.
Yoga Nidra does not requires any priori training. If you have not done meditation previously, you can practice Yoga nidra. If practiced on a regular basis, it can have great psychological, spiritual and physical benefits: