The Sleep of the Sages; A Conscious Exploration of Wakefulness, Dreaming, and Deep Sleep
Known as the ‘yoga of conscious sleep’, yoga nidra is an ancient Indian practice that allows you to consciously explore the states of wakefulness, dream, and deep sleep as well as your own psyche by combining deep relaxation with attentive awareness. Stemming from Hindu, Buddhist and Tantric philosophies, the practice–which could be called the ‘sleep of the sages’–centres on techiques for putting the mind and body to sleep while keeping your consciousness alert. Through yoga nidra you can directly observe and understand specific physiological, emotional and mental processes within yourself as well as experience moments of great inner tranquility, joy, and wellbeing.
Providing a step-by-step guide to yoga nidra, Pierre Bonnasse offers a full range of practices focused on the time of awakening and that of going to sleep, yet adaptable to any time of day or night. He details the simple postures of yoga nidra and includes preparatory techniques that work with breath and guided meditations to help you become an attuned observer of your inner world. Offering tips for withdrawing the senses and maintaining awareness in the liminal state that precedes sleep, the author explores how all practices in this discipline begin with a phase of relaxation and observation of breathing, followed by immersion into a very subtle awareness of the physical, energy, and mental bodies. He explains how yoga nidra sessions allow you to discover “that which is held on to”, making it easier to let go and become free from all states and processes. A session can explore different states of consciousness as well as your senses, desires, and fears. The higher states of more advanced sessions focus on the energy body and its components: the chakras, nadis, and pranavayu, the vital breath, and autonomic functions of the body.
Including four complete sessions and well as pointers for creating your own, Bonnasse shows how yoga nidra offers positive, stabalising and therapeutic effects for the body, emotions, and thoughts. It is the ideal practice for getting rid of stress, anxiety, and the fear of death–the source of all other fears. Connecting Indian and Western philosophical ideas, the author shows how sleep can be an opportunity to practice a form of yoga that changes not only our nights but every minute of our days.
Distributed by David Westnedge Ltd., London.