Yoga Nidra | Structure of the Practice

Yoga nidra can be roughly divided into the following sections:

1. Preliminary adjustment of the body

2. Preliminary relaxation of the physical body

3. Preliminary relaxation of the mind

4. Sankalpa (resolve)

5. Rotation of awareness throughout the different parts of the body

6. Visualization

7. Reflection and symbol awareness

8. Sankalpa

9. Return to external awareness

These nine stages are sequential; that is, they should be practised one after the other in the order given. Variations can be adopted within this basic framework.

Full details of these stages of yoga nidra will be described progressively in this and forthcoming lessons.


The instructions for yoga nidra can be given in three ways: by the direct words of a teacher; from a tape recording; by one’s own mental commands. It is best to learn yoga nidra directly from a teacher so that the instructions can be modified to suit your individual needs, and so that the correct method is firmly imprinted on your mind. Eventually, however, you should practise alone, either by self-instructions or listening to a tape recording of your teacher’s lesson.

In this book we are forced to give written instructions. These are not very suitable for the practice of yoga nidra. We suggest that you either transfer the instructions to tape, or that you ask a friend to read them to you while you practise yoga nidra.

The instructor

Choose a teacher carefully. He or she should have some understanding of the potential of the mind through personal experience. Specifically, the teacher should have awakened a degree of intuitive perception. There should be a feeling of empathy between you.

It is best to learn yoga nidra from one teacher, so that the sound of his or her voice makes a deep impression on your subconscious mind. You should slowly become receptive to the sound of one voice so that your mind flows spontaneously with the given instructions without resistance. Of course no harm will occur if you change your teacher, or take lessons from different people, but one teacher is certainly best for serious practise of yoga nidra.

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