Insight in to how I teach Yoga Nidra Featuring Varuna Shunglu from Sleep Dragon 

Varuna Shunglu Yoga Nidra Journey

My Path as a Yoga Nidra Guide

With over seventeen years of experience as a teacher and guide, I’ve discovered and modified my own technique. Trained in the traditional practice of Yoga from the VVKI center in Bangalore at the Sri Sri School of Yoga, later I completed my Masters in Yoga and attended numerous workshops and teacher training after, gradually beginning to train teachers myself. 

Varuna Shunglu Yoga Nidra
Varuna Shunglu Yoga Nidra
Vizualisation varuna Shunglu

I remember walking into a session with Swami Niranjananda in Kolkata to learn breath work and Yoga Nidra techniques that lead to changing the way I saw life, learnt things and stayed well.

Swami Niranjananda in Kolkata and popularized Yoga Nidra

Swami Niranjananda heads the Bihar school of Yoga Nidra today.

This Yogashala and research facility was started by Swami Satyananda who coined the term ‘Yoga Nidra’. THe research today is showing the magnitude of what Yoga Nidra can actually do. After the first meet, there was no looking back. I immediately had access to the most learned and experienced Yoga Nidra practitioners anywhere in the world, and continued to experience and host Yoga Nidra workshops and programs at my studio and later throughout the pandemic as people enthusiastically participated- worked on their anxiety and health, and emerged happy and vibrant. Read more on the practice here.

Inspiration on the Yogic Path

I have been inspired by the wisdom of the masters, Vivekananda, Yoganandaji,Mirabai, Mahavatar Babaji and amongst the more recent saints – Swami Rama.

I like to think of Yoga Nidra as a “journey within” –  a way to explore the hidden landscapes of your mind. At its heart, this transformative practice revolves around a few key techniques: the 61 Points Exercise, Shithali Karana, and the classic Yoga Nidra method.

61 Point Exercise for Yoga Nidra

Explore the images with the points mentioned below. All these points or some of them can be called out during Yoga Nidra, depending on how advanced your practice is and how much time you’re willing to dedicate to it. 

61 point Exercise for Yoga Nidra

Let’s unpack those a bit:

The 61 Points Exercise: Imagine a super-focused body scan that takes your awareness on a whirlwind tour of your whole being.

Shithali Karana: A cooling breath technique that helps calm the mind and settle the body.

Foundational Yoga Nidra: Think of this as the main event – a guided meditation that unlocks deep relaxation and awareness.

If you feel drawn to explore deeper states of consciousness and cultivate inner peace, Yoga Nidra could be the key you’ve been looking for!

The core of it is developing a Sankalpa/intention . I’ve been immersed in the practice of Yoga Nidra for the past 15 years, and it’s transformed both my life and the way I share it with others. While it’s often presented as a tool for simply inducing better sleep,  I’ve found it’s a profound exploration of consciousness itself. In every session, I weave these practices of breathing, sankalpa and  body exercises, with my personal insights, creating an immersive experience that honors the tradition while inviting individual exploration. Yoga Nidra is more than a practice; it’s a pathway to profound peace and understanding, a gift that I’m blessed to share. Try a free practice here to get started right away.

 Let me share my approach with you and how I’ve tailored the practice over time.

The Four Pillars of My Practice

In my experience, the most effective form of Yoga Nidra centers on four core aspects:

The Body Scan: This isn’t about passively noticing your body, it’s about actively bringing your full awareness to each part in succession. I guide individuals through a  detailed scan, helping them feel every subtle sensation.

Breath Awareness with Counting: There’s a two-fold approach here. Firstly, we hone in on the natural flow of breath throughout the body. Then, we layer a counting element,  mentally reciting “27 navel rising, 27 navel falling…” and so on down to 1.  This anchors the mind and cultivates remarkable focus.

The Visualization Sequence: Here’s where we get creative! I guide practitioners through roughly a dozen visualizations, aiming to evoke each image on multiple levels – visual, sensory, and emotional.  This process invites the deeper mind to emerge.

Whole-Body Awareness: The practice culminates in a panoramic awareness of the entire body, held with a gentle, effortless breath. It creates a felt sense of wholeness  –  a  profoundly calming experience.

Anecdote: The Night My Perspective Shifted

I’ll never forget one transformative session around 15 years ago. After a particularly intense body scan and visualization sequence, I fell into a unique state. It felt like sleep, yet I remained vividly conscious of my surroundings. This was my first glimpse of the state Swami Rama described, where awareness itself is decoupled from any sense of ego or selfhood. 

It cemented my belief  that Yoga Nidra can be a powerful tool for exploring the very nature of consciousness.

Manifesting Intentions
Manifesting Intentions
Yoga Nidra: Finding the Right Fit for You

Like many yogic paths, Yoga Nidra has undergone variations and interpretations. Some emphasize relaxation and better sleep, while others dive into the heart of awareness.   It’s important to understand that:

Yoga Nidra Isn’t Traditional Yoga: While complementary to asana, Yoga Nidra’s focus is internal. Think of it as a deep, mindful meditation.

Embrace Exploration: Don’t be afraid to try different scripts and recordings to find the practices that resonate most with you. The Yoga Nidra Network is a fantastic resource to start your exploration.

Basic Rules to Improve your experience and your students
  1. How long does Yoga Nidra have to be?

Yoga Nidra can be anywhere from 10 mins to 45 mins. The duration would depend on the teacher taking you through the process and what they feel the students capabilities are. Here is a breakdown of how long a Yoga Nidra can possibly be for and its impact on the individual.

  1. How to lie down during Yoga Nidra?

In Yoga Nidra it is ideal to lie on your back. If its hard to lie down on your back, you can lie sideways, though it’s training for your body to practice Yoga Nidra in sleeping position. For those who want to meditate but easily get distracted by sounds, light and movement around you, follow this article for how to prepare yourself here

  1. How to prepare sound?

If you like you can wear ear muffs and an eye patch for a completely dark feel. Make sure you practice in a room which is closed and people dont walk in and out. It’s best to inform everyone at home that you are practicing and need to be undisturbed for that short period.

  1. What if I fall asleep? That’s okay. Dont sweat it. Try to keep a resolution you wont fall asleep. Thats about it. But it happens.
  2. How to prepare for the practice?

Beyond Restful Sleep

Yoga Nidra has improved my life in countless ways, including better sleep! But I believe it’s true power lies in its potential to reveal the layers of our own consciousness. If you’re ready to venture beyond everyday awareness, this ancient practice might just be your key. Would love to hear more about your experiences in Yoga Nidra and happy to share mine as I get ready to jet set and explore the various dimensions beyond senses, vibrations and space. Join me to practice here.

Kritagya Asmi (In Gratitude)


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