I read the book Yoga Nidra for Complete Relaxation and Stress Relief by Julie Lusk a couple of years ago. At that time I needed to relax more. Yoga nidra is still something I turn to for relaxation and stress relief. As Julie explains in the book, stress is quite common in the modern world. Some of the causes are: local and world news, unsatisfying work, having too much to do and too little time, and problems with family, friends, and coworkers. Some of the physical symptoms of stress include sleep problems, diarrhea, constipation, cold hands or feet, jaw tension, substance abuse, and feeling ill at ease.
Day in and day out we may become stressed. The stress response that we experience is only useful for acute cases. Having to escape wild and threatening animals is rare but necessary. The stress response is useful in such situations; it signals the body to secrete hormones that give us more strength and endurance for running away. This response to stress may be useful when we need more strength and endurance to run away, but it is not useful for most of the stress we encounter. That is because these hormones do not help us to cope with difficult news, difficult work, and difficult people.
In the book Pocketful of Miracles, Joan Borysenko writes about the conditioned self. As we grow up, we respond to the stress of feeling unloved by changing our personality in ways that give us a sense of being loved or powerful. In doing this, we are separated from the truest source of love, which is the Divine Mind. The fear-based, conditioned self is referred to as the ego in spiritual systems. Using yoga nidra can help us to reunite with the Divine Mind and our True Self, which we also know to be the Source, Bliss, and Purusha.
Julie’s book also links to a website that offers recordings of yoga nidra. Yoga nidra requires the practitioner to lie in a comfortable position. Sometimes that will be the corpse pose also known as savasana or final rest in yoga. To get into savasana, lie on your back on a comfortable surface such as a yoga mat, and use a towel or blanket under your head as a cushion. Your arms by your side, palms facing up away from your body, lift your upper body to roll your shoulders away from your ears — and your legs are separated with your feet rolling down to the floor. It can be helpful to do some stretching or basic yoga to prepare your body. Using a blanket may help as it is common as you relax to feel a bit chilled. Now you are ready to listen to a yoga nidra script. There are many free recordings at the Yoga Nidra Network as well.
Proofread by Leona B. Hunt, BA, proofreader