There are vast numbers of people in the world who are classified as being ‘mentally sick’. That is, they suffer from ailments that are called schizophrenia, melancholia, neurosis, etc. Actually, it is a matter of degree, for we are all mentally sick, some less than others. Mental sickness, indicating disharmony in the mind no matter how small, only disappears with the onset of self-realization.
The cause of mental sickness is disorder or derangement in the mind, perhaps in the form of fears, conflicts, etc. These can be systematically and gradually released during yoga nidra practice. During sufficiently deep states of relaxation one starts to confront visions, subconscious memories, childhood traumas and so forth. The process can be called conscious dreaming. You may see demons, dragons, ghosts, but mostly things stranger than fiction, and certainly too strange for words to describe. Sometimes pleasant, sometimes very unpleasant, they represent the conflicts of your mind. You have to be a witness. Feel that these visions are separate from yourself. In this way, they will not be re-suppressed.
Confrontation of these mental impressions leads to neutralization of their emotional content. The mind gradually becomes free of these emotionally loaded subconscious knots. The mind becomes more relaxed. Mental sickness gradually disappears like a ghost in the night.
Yoga nidra can also be used to eliminate psychosomatic diseases. There is an interesting case we encountered some time ago. A lady was unable to move the fingers of both hands. She had lost control of the muscles and nerves. This continued without improvement for a few years. Then she came to this ashram and was given regular yoga nidra sessions. During the visualization stage she was asked to imagine that she was holding an axe and cutting down a tree, chopping wood, etc., actions that required her to use her hands. This was repeated in a number of yoga nidra practice sessions. Eventually she found that she could physically use her fingers in the same way that she had visualized. Her mental block having been removed, she started living a normal, active life again.
Yoga nidra exposes all complexes. It removes all mental knots. It can be used by psychiatrists with patients and it can also be practised alone. We recommend that yoga nidra be adopted in mental hospitals and by therapists throughout the world for it has certainly proved its worth in this field.