The practice of I AM Yoga and Yoga Nidra is designed to move from the stage of waking consciousness to the awakened state of consciousness. During the waking state, our mind operates from unconscious patterns. These patterns are compulsive and habitual. Whenever they emerge in the form of reaction, the reactive perceiver sees what is present as for me or against me. Thus, it creates separation from who or what is present. In the waking state, the ego mind functions in separation with life.
During the waking state, we have no ability to truly manage, control, or direct our thinking. Our mind is constantly engaged in managing, controlling, directing what appears to be for me and what appears to be against me. Such reactive perceptions are regulated by the painful and the pleasurable experiences that we have had in the past. If the painful experiences were traumatic, they live as wounds, hurts, and abuses as impressions of how it was perceived through reaction. If these experiences came from painful experiences or very pleasurable, fulfilling experiences, they affect us with a greater intensity. Emotions are so compulsive that they are hard to manage or direct.
During the waking hours, when you are automatically engaged by reactive interaction with who or what is present, your neuro-glandular system is aroused. Every experience of conflict with what is present outside creates conflict with the presence within. During the practice of yoga nidra, you are moving from the rapid beta brainwaves of the waking hours into the more calming level of alpha brainwaves. With regular practice, you can drop into even deeper levels toward theta brainwaves.
As you move toward the higher levels of integrative consciousness, it is accompanied by your ability to create a shift from the logical, rational left brain to the insightful, intuitive right brain. During deep sleep, you move from beta, to alpha, to theta, to the deepest state of delta waves. At this stage, your nervous system is disengaged from the karmic memories of the past. It is freed from all of the conflict-creating, stress-producing reactions that arise during the waking state. As a result, your entire neuro-glandular system is operated by the innate intelligence of consciousness and energy. This means that you have dropped from the ego mind into the polarity of cosmic male consciousness and female life force, which are functioning in rhythm and harmony.
As you progressively withdraw from reactive mental and emotional activity, brainwaves are slowed down, and cortical and adrenal arousal decreases. As a result, you progressively drop into the deeper and subtler levels of integration. The deeper you go into integration, the more relaxed you become.
Breathwork, movement, mantras, intention, affirmations and meditation are powerful techniques to block the sensory impressions from the outer world and address reactive thoughts and emotions that arise from within. Thus, the unique techniques of yoga nidra allow you to withdraw from the disturbances that come from within and without. You are able to explore and experience the miracles of the healing presence that I AM. This is also called returning back to the Self that I AM.
Health is defined as Swasthya, which means being established in the Self. During the meditation-based practice of I AM Yoga Nidra, you drop into the deepest level of integration. At this stage of consciousness, you make a conscious crossover from the doer, the ego mind, which is active during the waking stage, into the non-doing power of presence that you are. The purpose of meditation-based I AM Yoga and Yoga Nidra is to move to the next evolutionary level of consciousness where you disengage from compelling images, memories, and thoughts that arise from the past. They have no real existence.
Yoga Nidra allows you to enter a new level of consciousness beyond the ego mind from where integration begins to happen. Once you have entered this zero stress zone, you reconnect to the divine presence that you are. Any intentions, prayers, and affirmations are answered directly by the divinity that dwells within you. You move from alpha waves to theta rhythms. You move deeper through images rather than words. You are acting directly through an energetic response rather than a words or intellect.
This movement from beta to alpha to theta states can be registered on EEG. It is a progressive shift to the higher integrative states of consciousness. When you move from the active state and drop into the more integrated state, you access non-mental intuitive insights, directions, guidance.
You access a new dimension of your being from where you connect to the infinite Source of energy, intelligence, information, guidance, and protection that is already always present within you. In the waking stage, you are accessing only what you have learned from the past. What you have learned from the past comes through the mind. But when you go beyond all of the disturbances of the thoughts and emotions that arise from the past, you simultaneously go beyond the ego mind.
During sleep, as you move from the theta to delta state, you drop into the dreamless state. This means you have entered into a deeper and higher level of integration. In this state, the subconscious interplay of male consciousness and female prana Shakti functions optimally. This is when all of the conflicts that you experience during the waking state are temporarily resolved. But, this deep sleep that frees you from time-bound disturbances that arise during the waking state happens below the ego mind. Therefore, it is not sustainable.
The purpose of yoga nidra is to move consciously beyond the ego mind.
Yoga nidra teaches you how to move into the integrated state of alpha waves as well as the even deeper theta state consciously. This is why ancient yogis give this unique meditative state the name of “yogic sleep.” What happens in deep sleep is the experience of integration, of returning to the source of Oneness. Sleep is given to us as a survival-level, inborn gift to restore balance. But, no matter how much you sleep, you cannot do any more than restore balance. No matter how much you sleep, you cannot become enlightened.
Yoga Nidra gives you conscious access to move beyond the ego mind, where you experience the same integrated state of Oneness as you do in deep sleep. You go beyond the ego mind from the waking state. Therefore, you are creating a paradigm shift from the subconscious, self-balancing state of sleep into the superconscious evolutionary stage where the life force enters into ascension toward the heart and higher centers of integration.
Thus sleep, which brings balance, represents a survival-level gift to all beings. Meditation opens a new dimension that allows you to enter into an evolutionary mode. And to enter this mode is the function of individual movement toward freedom from the time-bound ego mind. Sleep is an inborn, subconscious gift to everyone. Meditation, on the other hand, allows you to move from the self-conscious waking state to the superconscious state of being that I AM. The state has to be approached individually.
Sleep goes through two modes, the state of deep sleep and the dream state. Researchers have found that when a person enters the dream state, they go through rapid eye movements (REMs). When they drop into a deeper level of deep sleep, there are no rapid eye movements, and the brainwaves reach the slowest rhythm. During sleep everyone goes through alternate states between dreams and deeper states of sleep, and then back again.
During dreams the mind is engaged by the imagery of the dream world. During this state your respiration and your heartbeat change according to the contents of the dream, influenced by the dream events. Similar experiences happen during the waking state when thoughts and feelings arise automatically. Our respiration and heartbeat alter in accordance to the intensity of the emotion.
The dream state lies just below wakefulness. During dreams, you release unconscious emotional encounters as well as conflicts with relationships and situations that you have been suppressing and denying in life. All that is buried in your unconscious is revealed. This is nature’s way of restoring balance. But the balance that is restored in the dream state is temporary and unconscious. Most people worry about their need for sleep. The greater need for sleep is in reality an increased need for dreams. If someone has suppressed thoughts and emotions—such as anger or fear—during their waking state which are not fully integrated, they surface in the dream state.
When you carry a huge backlog of karmic suppressions, it becomes buried in the unconscious. Some of this emerges within the dream state. The dreams can ease pressure, allowing you to function during the waking state. Also, dreams reveal to you the debt you have against reality so that you can work on it consciously. This is how dreams can be used as guidance for restructuring the way you process life experiences and relationships.
Your suppressed past lives in separation from the Presence that you are. The contents of the past are built into personal, unconscious, karmic impressions and memories that resurface during the waking state as well as the dream state. The separated part of the self-image constantly demands mental attention and time. If you fail to process it consciously during waking hours, it remains hidden in your unconscious, continuously reappearing in the form of mental and emotional conflicts and agitations during your waking hours.
When you consciously reintegrate this reactively processed past through meditative awareness, the number of sleep hours that you need in order to process it through dreams are reduced. No unconscious karmic impressions of the unresolved past can be totally resolved through dreams, but dreams can make you aware as to what it is that you are ignoring and unwilling to face in your waking hours. In the dream state, visions are passing through your mind, but you have no facility or ability to direct or eliminate them. But, what you cannot do in the dream state can be accomplished when you enter choiceless witnessing awareness in Yoga Nidra.
During waking hours, repetitive memories and images pass through your mind. Ordinarily, you do not have any ability to withdraw from them to be free from them. But, meditative witness in Yoga Nidra allows you to observe the thoughts, emotions, fears, and reactions that pass through your mind. In doing so consciously, you become free from the past that has been suppressed and denied.
In Yoga Nidra you have entered the meditative state that reveals a whole new dimension to work through your self-destructive habits and compulsive behavior patterns that are hardwired and held rigidly in your unconscious.
In yoga nidra your prayers, affirmations, and intentions are actualized and answered. Yoga Nidra is the most powerful medium through which your prayers are answered. In meditation, you have no intention to specifically target any particular area of your unconscious behavior and habits. Instead, you are just observing all of the thoughts and emotions as they pass through your body and mind. Meditation is a way of disengaging from identification with the mind and all that comes through it. Either you work on your habits or your thoughts through which they come. Either way, you are learning how to disengage from your dysfunctional past.
I give you the teachings of yoga nidra so that you can use a meditative way of handling the challenges you face in your love life, family life, work life, and social life. These yoga nidra teachings will give you understanding and insights into how to live your life during your waking hours more consciously so that yoga becomes a way of life.
When you drop into the deeply integrative zone of yoga nidra, you have entered Oneness. The Oneness that you are is omnipresent presence. This presence is the soul that I AM. It has no past. Therefore, when you drop into the innermost core of your being, you have gone beyond the past. You have entered the omnipresent divine presence that you are. During yoga nidra, you are face to face with your divine Self. Any intentions, affirmations, visions, or prayers that you have are directly answered by the divine within you.
During the waking state, you are working with your past, which is constantly triggered as reaction to who or what is present. If you continue to react, you are living in your past in a modified future. You are constrained and imprisoned by your preprogramming. But, when you enter the meditative state of yoga nidra, you are no longer engaged by your past. Therefore, you can create a new future that is no longer limited. This opens new possibilities for the insightful, intuitive dimension to emerge and reveals new options that were unavailable before.
If you enter integration during the waking state, you don’t have that many dreams. And if your personality is not carrying a big backlog of the suppressed reactive past, you won’t need long hours of sleep to process through the dreams. Therefore, as you begin to bring your system into balance during the waking hours through the meditation-based practice of yoga nidra, you will need less sleep.
The practice of yoga nidra takes you to the deeper and subtler levels of integrated states of relaxation. It is a conscious process, and therefore, there are no dreams that are needed during sleep. Some of the nightmarish dreams that are repeated again and again recur because the dream can only ease the pressure—it cannot release you from the suppressed past. There are some people who have had nightmares that were related to a violent death that they had experienced in the past. When people go through hypnosis, the nightmare stops.