Nidra means sleep. Yoganidra is a state between sleep and wakefulness. It is also the name given to the sleep of Vishnu at the end of a Yuga, an age of the world. In Yoganidrasana the legs are interlaced behind the back of the neck and the hands are clasped behind the back which rests on the ground. The legs form the Yogi’s pillow and the back is his couch. The practice of this pose warms up the body very rapidly. It is therefore used by Yogis living at high altitudes to keep warm.
- Lie flat on the back on the floor.
- Bend both the knees and bring the legs over the head.
- Exhale, move the right leg from behind the right shoulder by holding the right foot with both the hands and placing it well behind the back of the neck, as in Eka Pada Sirshasana.
- Maintain the position of the right leg, breathing in several times.
- Exhale and with the help of the left palm move the left leg behind the left shoulder and place it under the right leg. Lock the feet at the ankles.
- Lift the shoulders well up, move the arms behind the back and clasp the fingers. The back of the upper arms will be in contact with the back of the thighs. Take a few breaths.
- Exhale, lift the chest well up and stretch the neck back. This is the final position (which is the reverse position of Supta Kurmasana. Stay in the pose for 30 to 6o seconds, trying to breathe normally.
- Exhale and release the hand grip behind the back and the leg grip behind the neck.
- Relax on the floor, keeping the legs straight for some time.
- Then repeat the pose for the same length of time, first placing the left leg behind the back of the neck with the right leg under it.
- Loosen the hand and leg grips and relax on the floor.
- Do not cross both legs first and then move them behind the neck. This will not give the correct feel of the asana. Remember to bring one leg behind the back of the neck and then the other leg under the first one. Before resting the legs behind the neck, raise the neck and dorsal region and also extend the shoulders, so that the latter do not get wedged between the chest and the legs. This will ensure that the pose is correct.
Effects of Yoganidrasana
In Yoganidrasana the spine is given a full forward stretch and one feels a pleasing sensation in the back. It is one of the best front bending poses. Even the maximum stretch of Paschimottanasana does not give the same feeling of right exercise, comfort and rest as the correct practice of Yoganidrasana. In the back bending poses the lungs and the abdominal muscles are given maximum expansion. In this asana the lungs and the abdominal muscles are contracted to the full. In a short time, the practice of the pose tones the kidneys, liver, spleen, intestines, gall bladder, prostates and the urine bladder. The abdominal organs will be free from diseases by continued practice of this pose. It also exercises the gonads and releases energy and vitality in the system. The nerves will be rested and energy will be stored in the body for better thinking and better work.