Yoga nidra was practiced by ancient sages so they could consciously watch their samskaras, or the "impressions of the mind." They could also purify their samskaras in order to come closer to liberation, or moksha.
The practice of yoga nidra not only involves pratyhara, but also requires pranayama (breathing techniques) and dharana ("concentration"), which are the fourth and sixth limbs of Ashtanga yoga.
In yoga nidra, the practitioner enters their alpha state and their focus shifts to the third eye chakra(sahasrara). It also stimulates the hormones in the pineal gland, which releases melatonin -- a horomone that reduces stress, boosts the immune system and helps prevent illness. Regular practice helps harmonize the brain hemispheres, promoting better mental performance.
Yoga nidra offers other amazing health benefits, as well, including:
- Calms the mind
- Relaxes and rejuvenates the body
- Soothes the nervous system
- Reduces fatigue
- Lowers high cholesterol and blood pressure levels
- Strengthens immunity
- Improves quality of sleep
- Treats depression
- Reduces pain
- Boosts concentration level
- Supports brain function and boosts creativity