If your body-mind is slow to wind down to get its well-deserved rest, here's a potent technique to catch up on your sleep quotient by enticing Mr. Sandman to visit you regularly. Yogic Sleep is a very powerful relaxation technique that you can do after you gain some control over the relaxation response (which we discuss in the earlier "Detach yourself" sidebar). When practiced successfully, this technique is as restorative as sleep — except you remain fully aware throughout.
To induce Yoga Nidra, you must listen to a set of instructions, similar to guided meditation. You can listen to a friend reading the instructions, but listening to a recording by someone else or by you yourself is more practical.
One feature of this practice is to focus in relatively quick succession on individual parts of the body. Mentally name each part and then sense it as distinctly as possible.
¥In the beginning, you may find actually feeling certain body parts difficult. Don't let this setback dismay you; continue to rotate your awareness fairly swiftly. With practice, you can include in this circuit even the inner organs and all kinds of mental states.
Practicing Yoga Nidra before sleep is best because it's an excellent technique for inducing lucid dreaming and out-of-the-body experiences during sleep. Lucid dreaming refers to the kind of dream in which you're aware that you're dreaming. Great Yoga masters remain aware even during deep sleep. Only the body and brain are fast asleep, whereas awareness is continuous.
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