Author: Marlana Comelli
Yoga nidra is derived from the tantras. It is a powerful technique in which you learn to relax consciously. In yoga nidra sleep is not considered relaxation. True relaxation is actually an experience far beyond. What we may call relaxation today is drinking, smoking, or reading a newspaper; this is a form of rest, which is more like a sensory diversion. For absolute relaxation you must remain aware, a state of dynamic sleep, this is yoga nidra. It is a systematic method of inducing complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation.
Pregnancy is the primary symbol of creative consciousness and optimism. It is a total experience, a special condition, a forceful example of the intimate connection between body and mind. This is the time when it’s extremely important that various dimensions of a woman’s being are in harmony. The practices of yoga nidra promote optimum health of body and mind, unifying a mother’s physical, emotional, and spiritual growth with that of her child.
Yoga nidra is one of the most flexible meditation techniques in yoga in that it can be practiced any time of the day and duration can be varied from twenty minutes to one hour, which is more suitable for the lifestyle of a pregnant woman. It is practiced lying down, however some women can get short of breath especially later in pregnancy. The good news is, you can lie in any comfortable position. A favorite is lying on the side, matsyakidrasana, with your top leg supported by a cushion so there is no pressure on the abdomen. So make sure to bring your favorite comfy cushion. This position is also a favorite for doctors during delivery and many expectant mothers spontaneously adopt it for sleeping due to how comfortable it is.
Today pediatricians and psychiatrists are also of the opinion the some qualities of personality may result from specific environmental experiences of the child before birth. (Swami Muktanda, Nawi Yogini Tantra). In this regard yogic relaxation/“yoga nidra” practices are most important, particularly as a result of subtle changes in the body during pregnancy. Examples of changes are emotional vulnerability, intense dreams, strange food cravings, tears without reason, and sudden depression. These reactions can be so intense, that it can disturb the balance of harmony in the woman’s body. Yoga nidra creates the positive environment and mind set that prepares the mother for a special spiritual connection between herself and her growing child.
At a time when women are especially sensitive to their bodies, yoga nidra uses relaxed awareness of the body to induce relaxation of the mind. Once this process is established, a series of symbols and images are evoked, to be viewed with the detached awareness of a witness. This practiced awareness is vital to yogic growth as it increases positive emotions of love, peace, and harmony, and will permeate your life. These provide an ideal emotional climate for the baby’s development and are “the perfect protection” once the child is delivered (Swami Muktanda, Nawi Yogini Tantra). It is also important that the mother focuses on her attitude as she experiences her child’s birth. By doing this she can break the identification with her bodily pain and become fully conscious of the events taking place.
Expectant mothers start to dream more vigorously, often developing fears which can lead them to worry. Yoga nidras practice of visualization is extremely important for pregnant women to follow. As soon as they snap out of fear, negative dreams, and emotions, they can develop and re-create positive outlooks and witness their dreams (deep states), which feel like a real life experience.
The baby is also particularly sensitive to sound, so it is important that the mothers give out vibrations of sounds through voice, such as Omkar chanting or singing. As well as consciously sending positive energy to the baby, the baby reacts to the mother’s heartbeat; therefore the mother needs to do her best to keep a constant rate with no strain.
Yoga nidra can make you feel wonderful, being able to imagine, in a deep state of relaxation, what is happening inside of her. Perceiving the growth of the child in her womb. Visualizing each step of development, as it comes closer and closer. In the supersensitive and expansive state of yoga nidra, the mother is not only more in touch with herself, but also with her child. Conscious realization of communion transforms the time of pregnancy into an opportunity for the mother’s own growth and rebirth.
The development of pregnancy has a wide variety of opportunities to connect the mother with her child and with herself, as well as to learn how to cope during pregnancy. Not only is yoga nidra helpful, but also Omkar chanting, meditation, and other yogic relaxation techniques. These practices also can be incorporated into yoga nidra because of its flexibility, and it also suits the pregnancy lifestyle. The steps of yoga nidra have important aspects that benefit anyone experiencing stress, depression, anxiety, obesity, any mental/physical health diseases or pregnancy. During spiritual connection, deep state, dream and visualization, positive energy is developed mentally and physically.
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