Yogic Sleep is a very powerful relaxation technique that you can do after you gain some control over the relaxation response. When practiced successfully, this technique is as restorative as sleep — except you remain fully aware throughout. Its traditional name — yoga nidra (pronounced yoh-gah nee-drah)— makes reference to Brahma, the Hindu creator god, who "sleeps" between successive world creations. His sleep is never unconscious. During Yogic Sleep, try to focus (in relatively quick succession) on individual parts of the body. Mentally name each part, then feel it as distinctly as possible. In the beginning, you may find it difficult to actually "feel" certain body parts. Don't let this dismay you, but continue to rotate your awareness fairly rapidly. Later, as you become more skilled at this technique, you can slow down the rotation and feel each part ever more distinctly. With practice, you can even include some internal organs in this circuit. Practice Yoga Nidra before actual sleep, because it's an excellent technique for inducing lucid dreaming and out-of-the-body experiences during sleep. Great Yoga masters remain aware even during deep sleep. Only the body and brain are fast asleep, whereas awareness is continuous. Here is how you perform Yoga Nidra: 1. Lie flat on your back, with your arms stretched out by your sides, palms up (or whatever feels most comfortable). Place a pillow behind your neck for support and another pillow under your knees for added comfort. 2. Close your eyes. 3. Form a clear intention. 4. Take a couple of deep breaths, emphasizing exhalation. 5. Starting with your right side, rotate your awareness through all parts of the body — limb by limb — in fairly quick succession. 6. Be aware of your body as a whole. 7. Repeat the rotation one or more times until adequate depth of relaxation is achieved, always ending with whole-body awareness. 8. Be aware of the whole body and the space surrounding it. Feel the stillness and peace. 9. Reaffirm your initial intention. 10. Mentally prepare to return to ordinary consciousness. 11. Gently move your fingers for a few moments, take a deep breath, and then open your eyes. No time limit applies to your Yoga Nidra performance, unless you impose one. Expect to come out of Yogic Sleep naturally, whether you return after only 15 minutes or a whole hour. Or you may just fall asleep. So if you have things to do afterward, make sure you set your wristwatch or clock for a gentle wakeup call. source http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/getting-to-know-about-yogic-sleep-yoga-nidra.html Benefits of Yoga Nidra Meditation Yoga Nidra is deep sleep. Many people mistakenly believe it's twilight sleep, that stage between awake and dreaming, but it's even deeper than that. It goes beyond the dreaming stage and into a state of conscious deep sleep. While that sounds like an oxymoron, it's not. It's the third of the four levels of consciousness where there are no images in the mind. Mental images live in the domain of a waking state, the first level or the dreaming state, the second level. It is a deep meditation right before the last level, the turiya, higher consciousness. You might wonder how you could be awake and yet asleep at the same time. The state is that of introversion where you look deep into your soul. It allows you to look at past lives and future lives, to address your karma and cleanse the storehouse consciousness. It is a way to purify the unconscious mind and commune with divine energy. It is a state of inner awareness. You enter it by remaining in the waking state of consciousness while mentally moving beyond the thoughts, emotions and images. You go beyond the dream state while you remain awake. It is not only extremely relaxing, it is a method of purification. It is the state where astral projection and thought form take place. Those lucky enough to enter into this state claim that a half hour in this state is like getting three hours of regular sleep. While yogis don't recommend it as a sleep substitute, it demonstrates how relaxing the effect is on the body and mind. Since the body uses sleep time to repair, it still needs normal sleep but Yoga Nidra is one method of relaxation available when sleep time is limited. The most important use, however is still to commune with the Divine energy of the Universe. Yoga Nidra brings on serenity, calmness and clarity. It takes your awareness through all the mental states into stillness where you find insight. It is more than meditation, where you remain in a waking state and even though it has some commonalities with autosuggestion, it definitely isn't that as autosuggestion indicates the use of the waking mind. Since it rests all parts, including the mind, it gives access to universal knowledge and refreshes the practitioner. It is also an excellent tool for accelerated learning. Since this is he level where astral travel and thought form takes place, Yoga Nidra takes on a psychic appearance. Astral travel is the ability to be in a different location without moving your body and thought form is the ability to materialize items from the use of your mental energy. These are not mystical tricks performed by yogis, but the ability to use the spirits energy. This ability is available to everyone who chooses to study and practice. Before entering the world of the psychic, you must first learn the discipline to control the conscious mind. Without this training, you may become a danger to your own essence.