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Yoga Nidra, Methods of Conscious Sleep

Much scientific research has been done on (1) sleep and (2) yoga and related practices of relaxation and meditation methods. One of the neglected areas of research is what is known in the yoga circles as yoga-nidra, that is, yoga-sleep.

Many teachers are guiding students in a variety of yoga nidra practices, some true to the ancient methods and some quite innovative and contemporary. However, yoga-nidra itself is a term that is need of a definition.

We propose a conference of , or more a dialogue among

  1. sleep researchers and other neurologists and
  2. practitioners of yoga meditation
with emphasis on yoga-nidra methods under the following proposition of the definition of yoga-nidra:
"Yoga-nidra (Yoga Sleep) is to be defined as the experience of a state of Conscious Sleep in which the subject is showing all the symptoms of deep non-REM sleep, producing delta (1-4 hertz) brain waves, and is at the same time fully conscious of the events in his surroundings. However, a lower state of yoga nidra begins with theta brain waves during which volitionally directed intuitive creativity begins."
The presenters in the conference will
  • Define sleep from the perspective of yoga, Vedanta, Buddhism and other related traditions,
  • Similarly define yoga-nidra (Yoga Sleep),
  • Present a variety of preparations for entry into yoga-nidra state,
  • Present any researches or propose possible avenues of research in the phenomenon of conscious sleep exhibited by some yogis under the definition given above,
  • Explore the possible implications and applications of yoga-nidra practices to 
    • help alleviate the fact  and some of the effects of sleep disorders,
    • provide suggestions for reducing the stress caused by the contemporary social phenomenon of sleep deprivation,
    • look into the yoga-nidra practice as a partial substitute for the common sleep in a society that is so pressed for time,
    • use yoga-nidra for creativity and for enhancing intuitive faculty,
    • state the ancient methods that lead one beyond yoga-nidra.
The practicums, led by those proficient and experienced, will
  • guide the participants through preparatory practice of yoga-nidra,
and, the personnel of the Swami Rama Laboratory of Meditation Research will, on selective basis,
  • undertake EEG testing of the changes in brain wave patterns of participants during the above practices.

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