Yoga Nidra as a Learning System | Part 2

The following description of a suggestopedia session is extracted from a book called Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain by Sbeila Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder.

“In a typical classroom at the Institute, twelve people – students, housewives, labourers, professional people, old and young – relax in reclining chairs that resemble aeroplane seats. The room looks more like a lounge than a classroom. The lighting is subdued to enhance the calming effect. The students are listening to music, gentle, soothing music. They look as if they were at a concert, completely wrapped up in the harmony of sounds.

“In actuality this is a French lesson. Against the background of Brahms or Beethoven, the voice of the teacher seems sometimes businesslike, as if ordering work to be done, sometimes soft and calm, then unexpectedly hard and commanding. Her voice repeats in a special rhythm, on a special scale of intonation, French words, idioms and their translations. But the students are not really listening. They have been warned not to pay attention, not to think about whether they hear the teacher. ‘Relax don’t think about anything.’ The conscious mind is to be totally occupied with the music.

“The next day surprised students discover that even though they were sure they had learnt nothing, they remember and can easily read, write and speak from 120 to 150 new words absorbed during the two hour session. In the same way, the toughest part of the language course, the grammar rules, painlessly take root in the mind of music-lulled students. In less than a month, students with no prior knowledge of the language have two to three thousand words and have a good grasp of the grammar. Tests a year later show that they still know all the material they learned in this incredibly effortless way.”

This is only one example of modern research on learning methods. It is a pointer for the future and it is closely related to yoga nidra.

Yoga nidra relaxes the mind and allows it to absorb knowledge like a sponge absorbs water. The learning process is not physically or mentally tiring; in fact, it is effortless and enjoyable. If it can increase memory power by 50 times, that is 5000 percent, then it is well worth adopting on a large scale.

Yoga nidra needs to be fully investigated in relation to education. We would like to see yoga nidra, as well as yoga methods in general, introduced into schools and integrated into the daily curriculum. We already know of a few progressive teachers who give a short yoga nidra session of about five minutes, to their children before starting class. They have found that the absorption, attention span and interest of the children is indeed greatly improved. The short yoga nidra session is well justified. Yoga nidra will help transform ‘fact factories’, as schools and colleges are known, into centres of creativity. Yoga nidra and associated techniques can help to revolutionize education.

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