A Practice that helped me sail through 2020
March 6th, after my return from Kolkata, Sid asked me to quarantine. This was the norm being followed after travel for the widespread pandemic. Initially, I felt good. It was a breather as my work makes me travel places. Treating myself by watching movies, tv-series, and reading felt heavenly. Somewhere, deep down, my mind was craving for this moment. Partying with my gadgets made me feel young. Tv, iPad, laptop, smartphone, google home etc surrounded me. You name it and I had it!!
After a few days, as the pandemic spread became worse, the fear crept in. Our PMji announced our first lockdown, 25-03-2020. News, media, social media, all were flooded with news of covid-19. We had to stock up things as we could not step out of the house. Things got very tensed up and we kept following the number of cases along with death cases rise across the world.
I got calls from clients for Vastu remedies to stay healthy, and if anything could be done to keep the virus at bay. As days went by, we got a little hysterical. Since we were not used to staying at home for long, all of us felt home-prisoners. Many clients backed out with construction projects, and many put current ones on hold.
Feeling lost, I spoke to my wonderful friend and colleague, Manoj Singhal. He advised me to start the practice of Yog Nidra as a method to relax and calm myself. He even asked me to read the book, “Yog Nidra” by Swami Satyananda Saraswati.
I searched the net and found two practices extremely powerful, a 23 min one and a 43 min one by Swami Satyanandaji. I tried both and went on with the 43 minutes one daily.
This came as a blessing at the time of distress. My anxiety levels dropped. The book motivated me to practice it daily. The case studies in the book are very motivating. Since it was a lockdown, and after the daily chores there was nothing much to do, so I fixed a time and made it a point not to miss it.
Slowly, the deeper meaning of this practice opened up like the lotus blooming with the sunrise. As our mind calms, we understand the different realms of this Universe.
It was more than a relaxing tool. Reading on Yog Nidra helped me extremely, and I explored the same by many other schools. Since childhood, many such practices were done by me, but never felt the way I did with this Yog Nidra. Later in Chitra Banerjee’s book, even read that Laxman’s wife, Urmila had gone into Yog Nidra which kept her young. Time had stopped for her and the shock of 14 years of exile from her husband made her go into a different time zone. Urmila never aged for 14 years. That’s the power of Yog Nidra.
Even in Devi Bhagwatam, by Ramesh Menon, there is a mention that Lord Narayana went into Yog Nidra, a trance of the Devi. She held Vishnu in her deepest power. Scriptures do state the power of Yog Nidra, but unless we do it, we won’t know the value of it.
The link is added at the end of this chapter.
Narrating briefly the importance of Yog Nidra through my lenses.
Yog Nidra starts with Sankalpa, awareness of each part followed by the visualization of various things.
Following are my readings and my personal take on Yog Nidra:
· This method starts with Sankalpa. Om Swamiji (my Guru) says that only with Sankalpa and Vishalta (greatness) can we purify our chitta (consciousness). Hence the Sankalpa that we take at the beginning and end of this method trains our mind to fulfill the wish we are asking for. It is a boon from our higher soul and will come to pass. So this Sankalpa is repeated daily with the same construction of a sentence. This is like autosuggestion to the mind. This helps in improving our will power. Sankalpa is nothing but our willpower and when repeated daily the Universe makes sure we get what we wish for.
· Awareness of each of the body parts makes us feel as if there is an electrical current running to them and lighting each part, revitalizing each organ of the body.
Here the right side is taken up first and then the left side. This balances the masculine(Hari) and feminine side(Sri) within us. Later in the nidra we are made aware of the day and night, this too creates a balance in the energies, as we know energies get balanced with polarity. Thus, proton-electron, yin-yang, shiv-shakti, or north-south are nothing but opposites.
Only when the left and right side of the body are balanced, the Ida and Pingala, does the energy flow through Sushumna nadi. In the end, we are made to travel our consciousness into the pipe placed at the back of the head. This is nothing but the Sushumna. The kundalini passes through this alone. We have to purify this so that kundalini Shakti does not get stuck when raised.
Kundalini is seated at the Muladhara in a coiled shape and rises when it is made to rise. This requires many kriyas, mudras, and bandhas. This method is one of the ways to reach the ultimate source. This process helps in cleaning our nadis thereby making ground for the kundalini to rise eventually. You may want to try the Kundalini Sadhana by OmSwamiji (It’s a very powerful Sadhana, think twice before delving into it)
The idea is that the Shakti meets Shiva like how the river meets the ocean. Our soul is waiting to meet its source. It is patiently waiting and takes many rebirths to unite with its creator. Unless we are connected to our source, we can never feel peace. It’s like a leaf, if it falls off the branch, it dries up. Similarly, if we are plucked away from our source, we lose ourselves and our happiness.
Pancha Maha-Bhootas touch them all. There is water as river/ocean, fire as yajna, earth as forest, wind in a hot and cold breeze, and space as the night sky. It ignites all the five elements in the body.
The visualization of the following things brings about some chemical change to our subconscious mind. :
-Rose felt as though Devi residing in my Manipura is being asked to bloom.
-Crow felt as if my Saturn, the grief, was flying away through the roof.
-The dead body makes us realize that it is our ultimate journey and without wasting time we must work towards our purpose.
-The rising sun felt as if my center in the brain controlling the health was restoring my weak cells. Again the sun, Pingala nadi, the heat in the body was made to rise.
-The rising moon felt as if it was melting away my mood and dissolving my anxiety. The moon, the Ida nadi, the coolness, was made to balance the heat.
Both the above thereby, representing Ida and Pingala nadi rising.
-The night sky felt as if the vast universe was opening the deeper realms of my Anahata chakra.
-Forest with tall trees felt as if it was my subconscious, having many secret chambers, were being tapped upon.
-This forest opens up to the clearing. This clearing is none other than my door to my deepest secret chamber where my innermost desire for self-realization abodes.
-A yogi with a hut is me performing yajna and burning up all my sins and 8 major emotions, which slows my evolvement. I felt as If I was giving aahuti(sacrifice) of anger, lust, greed, jealousy, hatred to this fire. This made my body shine.
-The smoke rising from the yajna is nothing but my negativities rising. It felt like my impurities are being burnt and are vanishing in the air as black smoke.
-The river is none other than my soul waiting to merge with the vast ocean, the Supreme.
-The boat is by the body being rowed in the river.
-The various sounds of a jackal, the dog, felt as if it was touching my sense of hearing.
-The cold and hot breeze was working on the homeostatic. I was surprised at the autosuggestion which the body follows.
-Then we go into the brain and light up the lamp. This lamp is nothing but the pineal gland being activated. Then we go down the Sushumna finally coming out on Muladhara.
Unless you do this particular Yog Nidra, you will not understand what I have explained.
This whole process kept me out of anxiety, improved my health and memory power, mood swings and helped me to be more mindful.
Quitting sugar, wheat, rice and dairy gave me headaches, but it would just vanish after this session.
This helped me sail through the lockdown and 2020 as well.
My obeisance to Swami Satyanandji, one of the greatest saints of this century, for inventing this yogic and tantric practice.
Currently reading His book on Prana Vidya.
TAKEAWAY:- Calmness is our innermost nature and only by being mindful can we achieve this.