Readiness and Reminders
Choose a place where you’ll feel comfortable and are unlikely to be disturbed. Get your props ready, shut the door, dim the lights, and turn off the phone or whatever else might be distracting.
Relaxation Pose (Shavasana)
Stretch yourself out on a thick blanket or mat on the floor. Either close your eyes or keep them slightly open… To help you relax your hips and legs, try letting your heels be about two feet apart.
It’s fine to make your own adjustments so that your legs and hips feel comfortable and at ease… Allow your feet and toes to rest out to the sides, and let go…
Now, bring your attention to your hips… Notice how the weight of your hips is resting on the ground… If it feels uneven, lift them up slightly, then settle back down until it feels even and balanced on both sides.
Shift your attention to your shoulders. Feel the placement of your shoulders, exactly where they are…You’re invited to move your shoulders down from your ears and tuck your shoulder blades under for more support. Have your arms out to each side with your palms up.
Settle the very back of your head on the floor or thin cushion and tuck your chin so that it’s slightly lower than your forehead.
Adjust your hair if it’s in the way. Make sure that your head and neck are nicely aligned with your spine. Feel free to adjust your clothing and props, making sure that every part of your body feels as steady and comfortable as possible.
Remind yourself to let the yoga nidra process happen naturally by being openly aware. It’s common to tune out while feeling deeply quiet and at ease while vaguely aware of what’s happening outside.
Return your attention to the guiding instructions if you get distracted unnecessarily. Go ahead and add your own personal reminders for keeping on track and having a more meaningful time. Say it positively and in the present tense.
Please take a big breath in through your nose and sigh it out through your mouth… Feel free to breathe in and sigh out a few more times.
Setting a Sankalpa
Setting a sankalpa, a personal resolve, enhances your yoga nidra experience immensely and helps transfer the benefits received into daily life. It’s a statement that conveys a positive trait to deeply benefit you in living your life in a more healthy and meaningful way.
You may use this time to formulate one that has meaning for you, letting it come to you. Tune in with your heart and soul for the one that lights you up and ignites your energy.
Keep it simple, positive, and brief. Use the present tense as if it’s already happened… If you have one, remember it now and begin clearly and sincerely stating it a few times. Be consistent, keeping the same one over time.
Sense what it would be like if it were already true. How would things be different?
Take a big breath in…and let it go.
Yoga Nidra in Six Stages
Stage 1: Progressive Muscle Relaxation for Physical Relaxation (Anna Maya Kosha)
Now, bring your awareness to your breathing, just as it is… In your own way, remind yourself to stay awake and alert, even when you’re resting and relaxing very deeply. It’s time to relax physically by letting go of muscular tension.
HEAD AND FACE
Let’s start with your head. Begin to notice where the back of your head touches the surface it’s on. Feel the very place of contact. Let your head become more and more supported by allowing it to rest into the support that is present for you.
Now, become aware of your face… All at once, start squeezing your eyes and forehead, scrunch up your nose and cheeks, and bring tension to your lips and mouth. Holding it for a second or two…and completely let go… Letting all the muscles soften…more and more.
Allowing your forehead to smooth out…your eyes to rest and become still…even your eyelids…and especially at the corners. Letting relaxation now comfort your nose and cheeks…and letting go, even more, of any tension around your mouth.
If you wish, allow your teeth and lips to part slightly…letting your tongue rest softly in your mouth…and allowing the corners of your lips to completely let go.
There’s no need for a facial expression of any type. Simply let your whole face soften and relax, more and more, melting with relaxation.
And now, bring your awareness to your right arm, become aware of your arm from your hand on up to your shoulder…and now tighten your hand into a fist…and move the tension up your arm to your shoulder…and now open your fingers up wide…and all at once, let go of all the squeezing and tension…allowing the muscles to relax…staying aware of the changing feelings and sensations as they come and go.
This process of tensing and releasing shows you how tension and relaxation actually feel. These skills are very useful to have.
Now, bring your awareness to your right leg, from your foot on up to your hip, and begin to tense up the muscles, just squeezing the muscles…and feel the tension…and now, all at once, relax, letting all the tension drain away… Feel the muscles relaxing…feeling heavy and relaxed.
And now, letting go into the heaviness and comfort of relaxation.
Shift your awareness over to your left hand and make a tight fist and feel the tension go into your arm and up to your shoulder…spread your fingers out wide…and finally, totally letting go…feeling the heaviness and comfort of relaxation spreading through your shoulders, arms, and hands.
Feel free to clear your throat and, if needed, to change your position.
Bring your awareness to your left leg, from your foot on up to your hip… Begin to squeeze the muscles up to the bones…feel the squeeze…and now, let go totally…let go, allowing your entire leg to relax and noticing a comfortable heaviness in both of your legs as they relax more and more.
Notice how your mind can be alert, even as your body continues relaxing more and more… You may be noticing the feelings of relaxation being experienced as heaviness. This is the feeling of muscles relaxing, so let it happen.
Let yourself remain alert while you’re relaxing, more and more, observing what relaxation feels like.
Bring your awareness to your buttocks and squeeze these muscles and feel the tension…and now relax, feeling tension melting safely away…allowing all the tightness and tension to drain away from around your hips.
If you would prefer, you may put your feet on the floor with your knees above them. Begin pressing your naval inward and feel the tension…pressing the naval in…and now relax and soften the naval area…relaxing and softening, more and more… This time push your abdomen outward and feel the abdominal wall stretch, making some room inside, and hold…
Now relax… softening the muscles more and more, feeling the relief… And each time you softly breathe out, you can relax even more, letting go of more tension.
NECK, FACE, AND HEAD
Bring your awareness to your neck and throat. You’re invited to softly and gently roll your head from side to side…and to bring it back to rest. Bring your awareness to your jaw, and open your mouth and move your jaw all around, letting go of tension in your jaw…and now relax and become still…letting your teeth part slightly…relaxing the corners of your lips… You can even moisten your lips if you’d like…
And now, press your tongue against the roof of your mouth or to the back of your teeth…and let go…relaxing your tongue, and resting it comfortably in your mouth… Notice the moisture in your mouth… Experience the moisture…and all the space that’s inside.
And even though your eyes are closed, squeeze your eyes…and your forehead, feeling the constriction…and letting go…and your forehead releases and smoothes out like silk. Feel your body resting deeply…feeling more content and comforted by the relaxation…simply experiencing the deep heaviness of relaxation.
Just for a moment, you may barely open your eyes if you wish…and let them close…feel the relief… Can you feel where your eyelids touch?
Stage 2: Energy Body Awareness (Prana Maya Kosha)
If you would like to relax further now, you can…just become more and more aware of your breathing…simply noticing your breathing as it comes and goes.
This will relax you energetically. Please remember, this is a time to consciously and mindfully relax and not for sleeping. So, in your own way, remind yourself to stay alert.
Once again, take your awareness to your head and face… Without moving, take in a big intentional breath and let it go, feeling your face relaxing even more. All around your forehead…releasing even more around your eyes…your nose and cheeks…and now, allow your mouth to relax…softening both inside and on the outside.
Guide your awareness to your arms. Without moving your arms, take a big conscious breath in and let it go, feeling your arms rest and relax, more and more. Allowing your arms to become quite still. Become aware of your legs… Without moving your legs, take a conscious breath in…and breathe out, and feel your legs relax even more.
Notice the presence of deep stillness…Knowing you could move if you really wanted or needed to, but it just feels so much better not moving. And now, bring your awareness to your hips…mindfully breathing in, become more aware of your hips…and when breathing out, relaxing your hips even more…letting go with each and every exhalation…feeling the heaviness and stillness of relaxing.
And now, bring your awareness to your belly… Take a deep breath in…and breathe out, letting go of all tension in and around your belly. Bring your awareness around your heart and lungs and take in a big, full breath…a little more…and exhaling completely, your chest settles comfortably into relaxation…
And yet your mind is alert and aware of what’s happening…breathing and allowing your awareness to rest all around your heart. Letting all of the muscles relax…and the body relaxes totally…noticing how comfortable and heavy you feel…feeling a blanket of relaxation surrounding you with quietness and calmness.
Just let it happen…being aware of how relaxation feels. Notice what you’re experiencing right here and now.
If you’d like, feel free to shift around a little or adjust your clothes or props.
Stage 3: Relaxing Mental and Emotional Stress (Mano Maya Kosha)
And now, notice how soft and quiet and subtle your breath has become…
Leave it alone and let it be…just allowing your breathing to be soft and subtle, so gentle that your chest hardly moves. It’s okay, not much breath is needed now.
Perhaps you’d like to go further still into relaxation for some mental and emotional relief… If you would, use your natural breath like a broom to begin sweeping away thoughts and beliefs, feelings and memories, just for now, from your face and head…sweeping and brushing tensions away from your face and head. Easily and smoothly, sweeping, and brushing stress away, whether past or present. Repairing and healing and restoring.
Bring your attention back to your arms and let your breath naturally begin sweeping down your arms to your hands now…removing thoughts and feelings and memories. Even pain and old injuries. Brushing and sweeping and rinsing away.
As this is done, you may notice the heaviness being replaced with feelings of being lightweight…and lighter still.
Bring your attention down to your legs and feet, and let your breath be like a sweeping motion, sweeping down your legs and feet with your breath, erasing thoughts, rinsing away memories and feelings…hurts vanishing…brushing tension away with your soft and subtle breath…removing thoughts and memories…and any old injuries are swept clean with your breath as it flows down your legs to your feet and safely away.
And having your awareness around your hips and with your soft subtle breath, sweep tensions away, allowing your breath to release old pain…sweeping stress away, and allowing relaxation to happen, more and more.
Healing and restoring. And as relaxation deepens, it may feel as if you’re floating…let this happen. Feeling buoyant. And feel the sweeping and brushing and rinsing breath in and around the vital organs of your abdomen…softening and lightening…releasing tension and old, forgotten hurts…removing any remaining tension, wiping away old pains and injuries with your subtle breath in around your vital organs…and it lessens and lightens with the soft and subtle breath.
And now this sweeping motion moves all around your chest and heart…and memories and hurts are swept away, injuries and tensions are cleared out with your gentle breath…nice and clean. Sweeping and brushing away outdated feelings and emotions.
Repairing and healing and restoring all around your chest and heart. Feeling quite peaceful, use this technique around your neck and throat…rinsing away unspoken words…clearing…and as the tensions release, the connection between your head and heart opens and becomes free and clear and easy…simply brushing with your gentle breath.
And now sweeping and smoothing around your ears…softening more and more…brushing away hurtful sounds of any type, like harmful things you may have been told…and as this clearing continues, your sense of inner hearing is awakened.
And now your breath brushes all around your eyes, removing visions that are no longer helpful…and your inner eyes open…and your inner vision clears. And let any last, little bit of tension disappear through the top of the head. Observe the buoyancy…the softness…even the weightlessness of deep relaxation…it’s like a detached feeling from the body, and the mind…and being detached from worldly cares, just for now.
[Pause, one minute]
Stage 4: Relaxing into Intuition (Vijnana Maya Kosha)
And if you like, you can go further and deeper still by discovering and finding a place, sensing a place inside where your inner knowing is alive and well… It’s a place of awareness where the insights and wisdom you’ve been searching for can find you now. During this quiet time, let yourself be open and receptive to receive whatever will serve your highest good.
[Pause for one to two minutes]
Stage 5: Experiencing Unshakable Peace and Joy (Ananda Maya Kosha)
And if you wish, you can go further and deeper still by finding a place, sensing a place where inner joy dwells…a place to rest in stillness and tranquility…a place to experience unshakable wholeness and connection and completeness…and your awareness is open and very still during this time of quiet.
[Pause for two to three minutes]
Stage 6: Atma for Dwelling in One’s True Self
Let this all go for now into the quiet, residing in awareness, dwelling peacefully here and now, allowing awareness of your true Self to be Present.
[Pause two to four minutes]
Part 4: Remembering Your Sankalpa
Om shanti—peace, peace, peace…
Now review and remember your sankalpa. Bring your sankalpa back to mind. Repeat the same sankalpa made at the beginning. Say it with your heart several times, planting it deep inside and becoming even more rooted and growing.
[Pause one to two minutes]
Part 5: Transition Back to Full Awareness
It’s time to start making the transition back… Without having to move in any way, bring your awareness back to the breath…and simply follow the breath with your awareness through your body. Awakening with each breath. Bringing your awareness to the center of your heart and to your breathing…becoming more and more aware of your body.
Bring your awareness to the top of your head and feel your head and face awaken…your sense of vision… And listening and hearing awakens as you become more and more aware, listening to the sounds in the room. And now your attention flows through your neck and throat, and, if you’d like, slowly roll your head from side to side, feeling the movement…and let yourself become still again.
And your awareness flows through your spine and to your arms and legs. When you’re ready, begin stretching all over, more and more…moving and waking up your body and mind, heart and soul. It’s time to come back into full awareness and wakefulness and bring back with you all the benefits of yoga nidra to help yourself as well as to benefit others.
When you’re ready, roll over onto your side, and curl up.
To come up to sitting, press your hands and arms down to lift yourself up to sitting…Touch the tips of your thumbs to the tips of your index fingers and rest your hands on your knees to seal it in.
Allow your eyes to close again, and relish the inner stillness…the peace, and joy…
Open your eyes up just a sliver…notice more light…and close them again and rest…Slowly blink your eyes open and closed to blend the inner world with the outer world…move and stretch if you like, and when your eyes completely open, you’ll feel Present, alert, and relaxed.
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This script has been crafted with love and formatted in a clear, organized layout, making it easy to read aloud for individuals or groups. It is suitable for personal and professional use, including YouTube videos and monetization, and for voiceover recordings.
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Frequently Asked Questions
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