Stage 1: preliminary physical relaxation
Before starting yoga nidra, practise a few simple asanas; this will loosen up the body and remove physical tension. If you wish you can do a few rounds of surya namaskara.
Then lie flat on your back in shavasana.
Make yourself as comfortable as possible.
Keep your feet apart and let them flop slightly sideways.
Keep your arms close to the body with the palms upwards.
Adjust your position, clothing, etc. so that you can practise yoga nidra without even the slightest movement.
Close your eyes and keep them closed until the end of the practice.
During yoga nidra you should listen carefully to the sound of the instructor’s voice.
Try not to sleep, but remain alert.
Say to yourself mentally: ‘I will not sleep’ (unless of course you are doing yoga nidra specifically to induce sleep).
Completely relax your whole body.
Proceed to stage 2.
Stage 2: breath awareness
Become aware of your normal breathing.
Feel the air flow into your body and then out again.
Let your breathing become slow and deep.
Simultaneously be aware of your whole body.
Now you must use imagination.
As you breathe in, feel that your body is expanding; every cell, every organ, every part of the body expands.
As you breathe out, feel that your whole body contracts; all the organs, muscles, cells of the body contract.
Inhalation . . . expansion of the body.
Exhalation . . . contraction of the body.
Be completely aware of this rhythmical process.
At first it requires a lot of imagination.
With practice you will find that the process seems to occur spontaneously.
Carry on in this manner for a few minutes.
Then change the practice slightly.
With inhalation you should continue to feel the whole body expand … but with exhalation you should feel that the whole body completely relaxes.
Your body is like a balloon.
As you breathe in it is inflated and expands .. . as you breathe out, the body seems to crumple up like a deflated balloon … it becomes completely limp. Inhalation . . . expansion.
Exhalation . . . relaxation.
Be continually aware of this rhythmical process.
Continue for a few minutes.