Known as the ''yoga of conscious sleep,'' yoga nidra is an ancient Indian practice that allows you to consciously explore the states of wakefulness, dream, and deep sleep as well as your own psyche by combining deep relaxation with attentive awareness. Stemming from Hindu, Buddhist, and Tantric philosophies, the practice-which could be called the ''sleep of the sages''-centers on techniques for putting the mind and body to sleep while keeping your consciousness alert. Through yoga nidra you can directly observe and understand specific physiological, emotional, and mental processes within yourself as well as experience moments of great inner tranquility, joy, and well-being.
Providing a step-by-step guide to yoga nidra, Pierre Bonnasse offers a full range of practices focused on the time of awakening and that of going to sleep, yet adaptable to any time of day or night. He details the simple postures of yoga nidra and includes preparatory techniques that work with breath and guided meditations to help you become an attuned observer of your inner world. Offering tips for withdrawing the senses and maintaining awareness in the liminal state that precedes sleep, the author explores how all practices in this discipline begin with a phase of relaxation and observation of breathing, followed by immersion into a very subtle awareness of the physical, energy, and mental bodies. He explains how yoga nidra sessions allow you to discover ''that which is held on to,'' making it is easier to let go and become free from all states and processes. A session can explore different states of consciousness as well as your senses, desires, and fears. The higher states of more advanced sessions focus on the energy body and its components: the chakras, nadir, and pranavayu, the vital breath, and autonomic functions of the body.
Including four complete sessions as well as pointers for creating your own, Bonnasse shows how yoga nidra offers positive, stabilizing, and therapeutic effects for the body, emotions, and thoughts. it is the ideal practice for getting rid of stress, anxiety, and the fear of death-the source of all other fears. Connecting Indian and Western philosophical ideas, the author shows how sleep can be an opportunity to practice a form of yoga that changes not only our nights but eve, minute of our days.
Pierre Bonnasse, also known as Chitragupta, has studied under the guidance of different spiritual masters for more than 20 years. The author of more than 20 books, he cofounded the Rishi Yoga Shal School, offering 'yoga training programs in India and in France. He lives in both France and Rishikesh, India
Yoga Nidra A Journey into the States of Matter, Consciousness, and the Joy of Being
Yoga nidra is an ancestral practice that comes from grand Indian traditions and philosophies grounded in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Tantrism. This unique form of yoga seeks to combine deep relaxation with attentive awareness in order to consciously explore the states of wakefulness, dream, and deep sleep. Moreover, it offers ways of put-ting the mind and the body to sleep while keeping the awareness alert. This highly comprehensive approach has inspired the discipline of Sophrology* and allows one to experience moments of great inner tranquility, joy, and well-being; one can directly observe particular physiological, emotional, and mental processes within oneself and understand them in a better way. By knowing that which is held on to, it is easier to let go of it and recognize the essential space of one's being, free from all states and processes. This practice combines very simple gestures and postures with light and subtle breathing exercises, as well as concentration and meditation, thereby allowing the alert observation of sensations, a welcoming of the phenomena that appear, and a return to the present moment, in order to taste the luminous and blissful presence to oneself and to the world, by day or by night.
During his research, Caycedo was guided by various traditions and currents, both Eastern and Western. Among the most influential for Sophrology were hypnosis and phenomenology, as well as yoga and Buddhism, mainly Zen Buddhism.
Practicing yoga nidra does not require any particular physical condition or quality, like strength, stamina, or flexibility. Simple poses (sitting, standing, and lying down) are used; they are adaptable to every individual and bring deep relaxation, as well as high quality attention and tranquility.
Through its positive, stabilizing, and pacifying effect on the body, emotions, and thoughts, yoga nidra is also a therapeutic technique that has considerably influenced modern relaxation techniques. Its practice reinforces joy, good spirits, and the immune system, thus preventing diseases, especially psychosomatic ones. It is the ideal practice for getting rid of stress, anxiety, and the fear of death, which yoga nidra considers to be at the source of all other fears.
By connecting Indian and Western philosophical ideas, and by drawing on the teachings of important spiritual masters, we will see how sleep can be an opportunity to practice a form of yoga that is absolutely delicious and that changes not only our nights, but also every minute of our days.
This book about the sleep of the sages takes us on a journey to the unknown and the mysterious, to the luminous presence of the unconscious mind, full of discoveries, encounters, and tastes; the art of taking a nap, a creative approach for lazing around, and another way of looking at life . . .
In India, sages believe that all paths everywhere in the world lead to the same mystery that humanity has never stopped looking for, whether we know it or not. The term Hinduism, coined by the British to label something that they did not understand, has no meaning; it tries to put the rites, practices, and philosophical schools of thought of this ancient land into one single basket that cannot contain them all. The term Sanatana Dharma is more suited, as it designates not only the myriad gods, goddesses, and practices, but also and above all the Eternal Philosophy, not as a theoretical discourse or an intellectual discipline, but as life support or a law of life itself, what really is, whether on an uncreated or a phenomenal level. This has nothing to do with an opinion. The term dharma, impossible to translate into our modern languages, refers to the objective law that reigns over the whole universe whether we know it or not. The concepts of social laws and moral and religious rules come much later, and are only a pale expression of it. This Eternal Philosophy is celebrated for the first time in the Vedas-ancient texts said to be revealed or heard. These texts, composed by the visionary sages of ancient India, divide knowledge or science into four parts. The Rig Veda, ''the knowledge of verses,'' is the most ancient (1500 BCE). It contains formulas (mantra) and hymns and explains the Absolute. The Absolute is called Brahman. It is omnipresent, impersonal, and without form. The Sama Veda contains the knowledge of the hymns, or melodies. The Yajur Veda talks about the knowledge of sacrificial formulas. The Atharva Veda, the knowledge of Atharvan, is composed of incantations, chants, and prayers. These are followed by the interpretations and comments in the Brahmanas, esoteric texts called the Aranyakas, and the auxiliary disciplines associated with the study of the Vedas: phonetics, rituals, grammar, etymology, meter, and astronomy/astrology. But the essence of this revelation is crystallized in the famous philosophical manuals called the Upanishads (which literally means ''to sit at the master's feet''), which are a finale to the Vedic canon, thus marking the accomplishment and the end of knowledge (Vedanta). They can be summarized in the four ''great sayings'' (mahavakya), related to each of the four Vedas, to be memorized and meditated on. The first statement defines the truth: ''Consciousness is Brahman.'''' The second saying teaches use that the nature of our identity is ONE with Absolute Reality: ''Thou are That.'' The third seems to be the statement of direct experience: ''This Self (or Atman) is Brahman.'' Finally, the fourth, like a song of gratitude, realization, and liberation: ''I am Brahman.'' Among the Vedic lords, let us mention Indra, the god of war, who is powerful; Mitra, the friend; and Varuna, the sky. These three are the custodians of order. Agni, the fire, and Rudra, the roarer, he who makes you cry shares many features with the famous god of the yogis, Shiva, the Auspicious One, mentioned in the later scriptures, as well as Vishnu, the omnipresent, he who pervades. And there are many others: sun gods, goddesses, demons, and other geniuses that mythology enthusiasts are sure to look up in the corresponding texts.
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