Yoga Nidra. The consequences of Muscular, Emotional and Mental tension

Updated: Sep 15, 2019

The threefold tensions


Whether you think too much or you don’t think at all, you

accumulate tensions. If you work physically or you do not

work at all, you accumulate tensions. Whether you sleep too

much or not at all, you accumulate tensions. Whether you

take a heavy protein diet, a carbohydrate diet, or a vegetarian

diet, you accumulate tensions. And these tensions amass in

the different layers of the human personality. They

accumulate in the muscular, emotional and mental systems.

In yoga we deal with the problems of tension with a wide

periscope. We realize that if the mind is tense, the stomach

will also be tense. And if the stomach is tense, the whole

circulatory system is also tense. It is a vicious circle of

events. Therefore, in yoga, relaxation from tension is one of

the chief concerns.


These inner tensions of the individual contribute to

collective psychological tensions which can manifest in

unhappy family life, chaos and disorder in social life, and

aggression and warfare between communities and nations.

Religions have failed to give peace of mind to the individual.

Law, police, armies and governments have been unable to

establish harmony between people. The yogic texts all

unequivocally state that peace can only be found within,

never without. Therefore, if we wish to create a more peaceful

world, we must first learn how to relax and harmonize our

own body and mind.


Yogic philosophy, as well as modern psychology,

enumerates three basic types of tension which are responsible

for all the agonies of modern life. Through the systematic

practice of yoga nidra, these threefold tensions can be

progressively released.


Muscular tensions are related to the body itself, the

nervous system and endocrinal imbalances. These are easily

removed by the deep physical relaxation attained in the

state of yoga nidra.


Emotional tensions, which stem from various dualities

such as love/hate, profit/loss, success/failure, happiness/

unhappiness, are more difficult to erase. This is because we

are unable to express our emotions freely and openly. Often

we refuse to recognize them, so they are repressed, and the

resulting tensions become more and more deeply rooted. It

is not possible to relax these tensions through ordinary

sleep or relaxation. A method such as yoga nidra can

tranquilize the entire emotional structure of the mind.


Mental tensions are the result of excessive mental activity.

The mind is a whirlpool of fantasies, confusions and

oscillations. Throughout our life, the experiences registered

by our consciousness are accumulated in the mental body.

From time to time these explode, affecting our body, mind,

behaviour and reactions. When we are sad, angry or irritated,

we often attribute that condition of the mind to some

superficial cause. But the underlying cause behind man's

abnormal behaviour lies in the accumulated tensions on the

mental plane. Yoga nidra is the science of relaxation which

enables each of us to dive deep down into the realms of the

subconscious mind, thereby releasing and relaxing mental

tensions, and establishing harmony in all facets of our being.


Resting more efficiently

Most people think that relaxation is very simple; just recline

and close your eyes. Yet, excepting the scientists, nobody

understands what relaxation really means. You are tired so

you go to bed and think that is relaxation. But unless you

are free from muscular, mental and emotional tensions, you

are never relaxed. Despite a superficial sense of wellbeing,

most people are full of tensions all the time. They habitually

bite their nails, scratch their head, stroke their chin, or tap

their feet. Or they may pace about restlessly, talk com-

pulsively, display constant irritability, or chain smoke.


People do these things because they lack awareness of

their own inner tension. They may think that they are

relaxed, but a closer look reveals that they are not. Even

while sleeping, thoughts and worries revolve in the mind, so

that the tense person wakes up feeling exhausted. In order

to relax completely, the inner tensions of the body, emotions

and mind must be released. Then the actual state of relaxation

dawns. The practice of yoga nidra is the scientific method of

removing these tensions.


Yoga nidra is a more efficient and effective form of

psychic and physiological rest and rejuvenation than

conventional sleep. Those who adopt this technique in their

daily routine soon experience profound changes in their

sleeping habits. The total systematic relaxation of a yoga

nidra session is equivalent to hours of ordinary sleep without

awareness. A single hour of yoga nidra is as restful as four

hours of conventional sleep. This is one of the secrets of the

superhuman efficiency and energy of many great yogis, past

and present, who have managed to achieve so much in one

short lifetime.


~Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Yoga Nidra.


Yoga Publications Trust, Munger, Bihar, India



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