Yoga Nidra : Nyasa

Monday, November 30, 2009


During Yoga Nidra, Pratyahara is practiced by intentionally locating and investigating sensations,
feelings, emotions, thoughts and images. This is achieved through another process known as Nyasa.
As mentioned earlier, the aim in Yoga Nidra is to touch and hence experience the various dimensions
of our being; that is exactly what Nyasa is. According to the Oxford Sanskrit English Dictionary, the
word “Nyasa” means to place, to set on or in, to use, to touch. Agehananda Bharati, acclaimed author
and authority on Hinduism, defines Nyasa as “the process of charging a part of the body, or an organ
of another living body, with a specified power through touch.” (Janakananda 1998)

Nyasa can consist of “touching” the different parts of the body by hand, or it can be done mentally, by thinking of the specific areas. By touching and thereby experiencing a part of the body, the body is brought to life and made conscious. Any impressions that arise from this consciousness are allowed to float freely,
without any effort on our part to repress it or express it. The impressions are simply allowed to surface
and fade into the background. They do not irritate the mind because it has no intention to refuse or
deny their existence. (Miller 2002)

As with the physical body, the process is repeated with all the different body sheaths that make up our
identity. This approach to Pratyahara is a process of elimination whereby deep and unconscious
patterns of habit from all the different levels of our being is allowed to surface into awareness. (Miller

By witnessing these entrenched habit patterns as an impartial observer in the state of Yoga
Nidra, a certain transformation occurs. There is an increasing awareness that who I am is different
from my thoughts. We gradually experience ourselves as the consciousness beneath or prior to all of
our active mental processes, including both conscious and unconscious ones. In Miller’s opinion,
“understanding and embodying the realisation that we are non-conceptual Presence is the culmination
of Yoga Nidra.”


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