Yoga Nidra is a process of meditative self-inquiry derived from the teachings of Yoga. Yoga comprises a vast array of techniques designed to bring about first-hand knowing of who and what you actually are when you are free of psychological, cultural and philosophical conditioning. Yoga reflects a nondual understanding of reality: it merges the human with the sacred, and is practiced in the world, by embracing everything, just as it is, and rejecting nothing. You can learn more about nonduality here.
Origins of Yoga Nidra
The origins of Yoga Nidra can be traced to various ancient Eastern spiritual teachings including, for example, Vedanta in such texts as the Mandukya and Taittiriya Upanishads, and the teachings of Yoga in texts such as Yogataravali and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Various yogis have revitalized the practice of Yoga Nidra during the past half century, most notably Swami Sivananda and his disciple Satyananda Saraswati, founder of the Bihar School of Yoga, Swami Veda Bharati, a disciple of the late Swami Rama of the Himalayan Institute, and Rammurti S. Mishra (Shi Brahmananda Saraswati), among others.
iRest is a contemporary adaptation of Yoga Nidra. It shares many basic principles and techniques with other forms of Yoga Nidra, but differs in various ways. For example, in many classical variations of Yoga Nidra, you are told what to see, feel, hear, sense, taste, smell, or think while practicing. In contrast, iRest provides techniques to help you inquire into your current, unique experience of seeing, feeling, hearing, sensing, tasting, smelling and thinking. Learn more about the 10 step protocol of iRest here.
A Form of Self Inquiry
Yoga Nidra is a yogic technique that helps you investigate all that you take yourself to be - body, senses and mind. It prompts you to inquire: Am I my body? Am I my thoughts? Who am I? These inquiries reveal the changing nature of what you perceive as solid reality, but which is, in fact, constantly changing. It reveals to you that everything about the body, emotions, thoughts and the world is constantly in flux. Yoga Nidra also guides you to inquire into the “I” who is registering the fact that everything is changing - who is it that is witnessing this smorgasbord of changing phenomena?
Through these experiments into the nature of who and what you are, you become less swayed by, or identified with, any thought, belief, emotion, sensation, image or experience. Instead, you witness these changing phenomena without judgement, and without grasping them or pushing them away.
As a result, your habitual ways of reacting to things in life are then replaced by unshakable equanimity, even in the midst of change and uncertainty. Nidra means “sleep” or “changing states of consciousness”, and in the context of Yoga Nidra, it refers to your capacity to abide knowingly as a nondual, unchanging, and wakeful Presence in the midst of the changing circumstances of life.
We are an educational non-profit that depends on donations to keep our programs viable.
Donations help train and certify new iRest teachers, fund scholarships, and support clinical research of iRest.