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Yoga Nidra - Yoga Relaxation

Before Performing Yoga Nidra

Before beginning yoga nidra, do some exercises to warm up your whole body. At a minimum, you should perform some stretching exercises to relax your shoulder and neck muscles. Then do two rounds of the Sun Salutation. Following this, relax in Yoga Nidra for twenty minutes.

Before starting yoga nidra, it is helpful to make a tape of the Yoga Nidra sequence. You can do this yourself or have it recorded by someone whose voice you like. The tape will help to guide you through the practice, and allow you to benefit fully from the relaxation without having to recall what you should do. When making the tape, allow sufficient time for the pauses and breaks between the steps.

Now prepare yourself by relaxing each part of your body in turn. Lie down in the Corpse Pose. Detach your mind and close your eyes, breathe normally. Do not "try" to do anything, not even to relax. After a minute, loosen up your body, part by part, with slight movements.

Corpse pose is the classic yoga pose for relaxation. Here is what Sivananda Yoga center has to say about Corpse pose:

"The Corpse Pose or Savasana is the classic relaxation pose, practiced before each session, between asanas, and in Final Relaxation. It looks deceptively simple, but it is in fact one of the most difficult asanas to do well. It changes and develops with practice. At the end of an asana session your Corpse Pose will be more complete than at the beginning because the other asanas will have progressively stretched and relaxed your muscles. 

When you first lie down, look to see that you are lying symmetrically as symmetry provides proper space for all parts to relax. Now start to work into the pose. Rotate your legs in and out, and then let them fall gently out to the sides. Do the same with your arms. Rotate the spine by turning your head from side to side to center it. Then start stretching yourself out, as though someone were pulling your head away from your feet, your shoulders down and away from your neck, your legs down away from your pelvis. Let gravity embrace you. Feel your weight pulling you deeper into relaxation, melting your body into the floor. 

Breathe deeply and slowly from the abdomen (right), riding up and down on the breath, sinking deeper with each exhalation. Feel how your abdomen swells and falls. Many important physiological changes are taking place, reducing the body's energy loss, removing stress, lowering your respiration and pulse rate, and resting the whole system. As you enter deep relaxation, you will feel your mind grow clear and detached."

Sivananda Companion to Yoga

Next Topic: Yoga Nidra - Preparation

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