Readiness and Reminders
Choose a comfortable place where you’re unlikely to be disturbed. Get your props ready, close the door, lower the lights, turn off the phone, and limit anything else to minimize distractions.
Relaxation Pose (Shavasana)
Lie down on a blanket or mat on a firm surface. Use a thin cushion under your head, and cover up with a blanket if desired. Enjoy stretching if you like.
Close your eyes whenever you’re ready. Maximize your comfort by positioning your head so that your chin is slightly tucked down. Line up your head, neck, and spine. Adjust your hair if it’s in the way. Move your shoulders down from your ears and position your shoulder blades underneath for comfort and support.
Stretch out your arms so they aren’t touching the sides of your body, with your palms facing up. Notice your low back and hips. Adjust their position so there’s enough room under there, and so it feels even and balanced.
Straighten your legs out. To help ease tensions in the back, hips, and legs, have your heels stretched apart so that the inside of your legs don’t touch. Otherwise, use a firm pillow under your legs. Let your feet rest.
Give yourself a few moments to settle in… Take a big breath in and sigh it out… This is your time to relax and let go. Make any further adjustments to your clothes, props, and position for maximum comfort and minimum distractions.
Give yourself some personal reminders to enhance your experience.
Setting a Sankalpa
Let’s begin. It’s time to set your sankalpa. It’s something from deep inside that sparks your energy and warms your heart. It’s used to improve a behavior, develop a positive quality, support spirituality, or reflect something you’d like that gives meaning and purpose to your life direction.
If you don’t have one, let this be the moment to let one come to you, otherwise start recalling yours now. Be consistent and use the one that you’ve established, giving it time to take root, grow, and thrive.
Keep it brief and say it in the present tense as if it’s already happened. Silently repeat yours about three times with heartfelt conviction… Sense what it’d be like if it were already happening.
Take a big breath in, and sigh it out.
Yoga Nidra in Six Stages
Stage 1: Autogenic Training for Physical Relaxation (Anna Maya Kosha)
Feel free to adjust your position for more comfort and ease… Bring your attention to your mouth. Start moving your jaw all around to release tension—let it go up and down, side to side, and all around. Let your mouth rest with your teeth parted slightly.
Moisten your lips if you wish, and allow the corners of your lips to soften more and more. Take a nice big breath in through your nose, and sigh it out through your mouth. Do this a few more times at your own pace.
Become more aware of the surrounding sounds…listening and blending the sounds, letting them come to you from far and near, being as receptive as you can rather than preferring one or another…
And continue listening to the instructions being offered. Even though your eyes are closed, squeeze and release your eyelids a few times…and let them rest. Take your attention to your right arm.
Repeat these phrases silently after me: My right arm is getting heavy… My right arm is getting heavier and heavier… My right arm is very heavy… and let it happen, feeling the heaviness in your arm…My right arm is very, very heavy. It’s relaxing more and more.
Bring your attention to your right leg. Please silently repeat after me: My right leg is getting heavy… My right leg is getting heavier and heavier… My right leg is very heavy… and let it happen, feeling the heaviness in your right leg…My right leg is very, very heavy…and relaxing more and more, heavier and heavier.
If distractions arise, bring your attention back again and again. Take your attention to your left arm. Repeating and responding: My left arm is getting heavy… My left arm is getting heavier and heavier… My left arm is very heavy…and let it happen, feeling the heaviness in your arm… My left arm is very, very heavy.
It’s relaxing more and more. Bring your attention to your left leg. Please silently repeat after me: My left leg is getting heavy… My left leg is getting heavier and heavier… My left leg is very heavy…and let it happen, feeling the heaviness in your left leg… My left leg is very, very heavy…and relaxing more and more. My whole body is getting heavier and heavier… My body is very heavy… My body is very, very heavy…and relaxing more and more. And let it happen, feeling the sensations in your whole body.
There’s no need to try and make anything happen. Perhaps noticing the earth’s magnetic pull, and sinking fully into it… And if at any time you notice that your body starts feeling light and buoyant, let it happen. Simply noticing and allowing your experience. Remind yourself in your own way to remain alert, awake, and Present.
Stage 2: Relax Energetically (Prana Maya Kosha)
Now, it’s time to bring awareness to your breathing. Leave it alone and let it be just as it is, as you follow the passage of the air coming and going through your nose…
Allow your breathing to be effortless. Each time your mind wanders, just bring it back to breathing. Just for now, start noticing how the air feels cool inside your nostrils when it’s going in…simply noticing the coolness each time the air goes inside…feeling coolness with the inhalation…perhaps labeling it coolness…inhaling coolness…
And now, begin to notice its opposite, and how it feels warmer when breathing out…noticing warmth each time the air is naturally exhaled…feeling the warmth from deep inside on the exhalation…following the warm sensations…
And now, alternating awareness between the coolness when breathing in and warmth when breathing out.
Sensing the shift in temperature from coolness to warmth as your breathing continues, on and on.
Now, either stay with just the coolness of the inhalation or find another place somewhere on your body that feels cool…perhaps it’s on your forehead…maybe it’s a cool place on a hand or foot…just so it’s a cool place, even cold…
Take time to explore and recognize the cool sensation…be curious about the coolness…attentive to the coolness, wherever it feels cool…receptive, neither avoiding it nor holding on…just continue being aware of coolness…
If you like, use your imagination to enhance the sensation of coolness, like what it feels like to be cold, really cold, like during the deep chill of winter, just for now.
Now, let’s go with the opposite of coolness. Either go with the warm feelings of breathing out or find another place somewhere on your body that feels warm, being aware of a place that feels warm, nice and warm. Perhaps it’s under your arm…maybe there’s a warm place on your back…just so it’s a warm place…noticing what warmth actually feels like right now, all by itself…letting the warmth be felt…fully aware of the warmth, feeling the warmth directly… If you wish, use your mind’s eye to enhance the sensation of warmth, like how it feels when a blast of air rushes out when opening a hot oven door…or the hot sun beaming its heat.
If you like, practice alternating back and forth on your own, going between sensing the opposing sensations of coolness and the warmth.
Take your time to really feel each sensation by itself, and then feeling the contrast of the other one…going back and forth by yourself…sensing coolness for a while and then sensing warmth for a while.
While this is happening, give yourself this opportunity to be aware of and notice the aspect of yourself that allows for switching back and forth. The piece of yourself that stays constant and Present while your experience goes through changes. It’s like eavesdropping on this experience.
Let’s try something different, that of sensing both coolness and warmth at the same time.
Feeling the sensation of coolness and warmth simultaneously…sensing both the warm and the cool places together…welcoming and feeling the warm and cool places at the same time, and realizing what happens as this takes place…perceiving both coolness and warmth at the same time…and noticing this experience on your own and what’s it like inside yourself while doing this…
And perhaps being aware of yourself having this experience, just as it is…and maybe even stepping back and resting in pure awareness and Presence…just as it is without having to react in any way, without anything else.
Feel free to shift yourself around if you wish…and settle back in.
Stage 3: Releasing Mental, Emotional, and Limiting Beliefs (Mano Maya Kosha)
Let’s use this technique to explore some thoughts, emotions, and beliefs, and their opposites. If you like, use your imagination to remember a time, a place, or a circumstance when you felt perfectly calm and at ease.
Perhaps it’s happening now. Otherwise, a time of feeling peaceful and happy. It might come from a memory, or you can use your imagination and make it up. As long as it’s a time, a place, or a circumstance of feeling calm, peaceful, and at ease. Use your senses to bring it alive more and more, using whichever senses you can to bring about feelings of being peaceful, calm, and at ease.
Remembering all about it…sensing where you were…possibly how it looks… and perhaps the sounds of peace and calmness, and being content…sensing smells, noticing aromas and fragrances… Notice how all this feels in your body now.
Having a direct experience in your body of feeling peaceful, calm, and totally at ease. Being aware of what peace and calm feels like right now…and experience where these feelings and sensations are now accessible in your body at this time.
Let’s change gears and explore its opposite. This time, use your imagination to remember a time, a place, or a circumstance when you felt stressed out, a time of experiencing feeling nervous and tense.
Let the feelings come back, just for now, and if it gets too intense, simply take a big breath in and sigh it out. Feeling stress by using your senses to bring it alive now. Using whichever senses you can to bring feelings on of being stressed and nervous, perhaps uptight. Remembering all about it…sensing where you were…how it may have looked…and sounds associated with stress and tension…perhaps sensing smells, bringing aromas back…
Notice how all this feels in your body now. Having a direct experience, once again, in your body of feeling stressed, troubled, and out of sorts. And now, being passively aware of what it feels like to experience stress…and noticing where these feelings happen in your body for you.
Perceiving how this expresses itself physically…observing whatever sensations are happening and wherever tension is physically being felt inside.
Okay then, take a big breath in and sigh it out. If you wish, stretch a bit and settle yourself down.
Let’s explore the opposite of feeling stressed again. Switch back to imagining and experiencing peace, calmness, and feeling at ease all over again. Really get into it, just for now.
Sensing once again what peace, calmness, and being content is like. If needed, use your memory or your imagination to spark feelings of being peaceful, calm, and perfectly at ease…
You can do it. Getting back into the direct experience of feeling at ease.
Using your own timing, alternate back and forth between feeling stressed and feeling at ease. Take enough time to explore each of these opposites. Be curious. Getting comfortable with both. Really feeling one for a while and then moving to the other for a while. It’s up to you.
And for now, give yourself this opportunity to sense being aware of your experience of switching back and forth. Observing…witnessing… And even taking a step back, witnessing yourself experiencing this…watching all this happen as if you were a casual observer… And getting in touch with the internal quality that stays constant and Present while your experience goes through changes.
If you will, give yourself a few moments to feel both opposites at the same time by making room for feeling peace and tension at the same time…physically experiencing peace and calm along with experiencing stress and tension…allowing peacefulness and tension to be experienced simultaneously…more and more aware…totally aware.
To further this experience, you can either stay with exploring the opposites of stress and peace or you can choose two more opposites. Perhaps you’re ready to explore a pair of opposite qualities that are relevant to you, something that involves a feeling or an emotion or a belief.
For instance, you might be interested in exploring the contrast between your sankalpa and its opposite, or maybe the opposites of clarity and confusion, or confidence and self-doubt, or a limiting thought you seem to have.
For instance, you might try the belief that you’re always wrong and pair it with the belief that you’re always right. Whatever qualities you choose, first thoroughly explore and experience one aspect of the pair, then the other, and then change back and forth.
You may even want to practice feeling the pairs simultaneously and eavesdropping on your experience.
Stage 4: Cultivating Intuition (Vijnana Maya Kosha)
And as this exploration continues, awareness expands into an intuitive space, a wise space of inner knowing where creativity and intuition naturally arise…a place where insights spontaneously surface and answers are revealed. If you wish, take this opportunity for understanding to occur around an issue you’re dealing with, for solutions to unanswered questions to come forth, and for messages and insights that would be helpful to you to arise.
Stage 5: Experiencing Joyfulness (Ananda Maya Kosha)
You’re now being invited to experience sensations of pleasure, happiness, and joy. Being more and more aware of these qualities.
Inner joy is already yours and always present within. If it has become dim or hidden, it can be restored to its natural brilliance and luminosity, more and more.
If it’s helpful, you’re invited to remember and relive experiences of joy now by recalling happy memories, smiling faces, pleasurable experiences, and peaceful times…
And now, let these memories and sensations fade into deeply sensing that all is well, just as it is, and flowing into experiencing innate well-being, contentment, and blissfulness.
Stage 6: Dwelling in True Nature (Atma)
When you’re ready, let this all go for now by flowing and dissolving into spaciousness and boundless awareness, where it’s timeless and effortless and there’s infinite consciousness.
Allowing yourself to be Present and being in touch with that aspect of your Self that knows and doesn’t change. Residing in pure awareness.
[Long, silent pause]
Remembering Your Sankalpa
Om shanti—peace, peace, peace…
Now, it’s time to transition into remembering your sankalpa. Be consistent. Bring your sankalpa back to mind and repeat it three or so times with feeling and from your heart, allowing it to sink in deeply and meaningfully… Imagine what it would be like if it were already true.
Transition Back to Full Awareness
And now, let yourself reflect back on your experience…sensing what you’ve experienced…just reflecting on your experience, whatever it happened to be.
It’s time to start transitioning back to full awareness, and to bring back all the peace, and the understanding, and the Presence you’ve experienced, for your sake, and for the sake of others. Start bringing your attention back to your presence in these surroundings, to this time and space.
Sensing the ceiling above…and the walls all around… And sensing the surface below you, feeling the contact points between your body and the surface supporting you, having a direct experience of this support. Bring your attention back to your breathing, and each time you breathe, your energy begins its steady return…your mind becomes crystal clear…feeling yourself waking up, becoming alert…
When you’re ready, start stretching yourself all over, waking up. Becoming more and more aware and alert… When you’re ready, roll to your side for a while… To sit back up, use your arms for support to move yourself from being on your side to sitting upright…
Take a big breath in and sigh it out… Rest your hands on your knees and softly touch the tips of your thumbs to the tips of your index fingers.
Close your eyes and soak it in… When your eyes open, you’ll feel alert and awake, aware, and fully Present.
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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.
Use this script to lead your own Yoga Nidra meditation, edit or alter the script to suit your needs, use it in courses you create and sell, or use it privately with your clients.
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Frequently Asked Questions
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