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Yoga Nidra & Yogic Life with Swami Karma Karuna

This pod is a conversation with sister Swami, Karma Karuna Saraswati. We chat about Yoga and in particular the meditation practice of Yoga Nidra. Karma Karuna is director of Anahata Yoga Retreat in New Zealand where Yoga Nidra teacher training is offered. A rural retreat, Anahata is situated in the beautiful Golden Bay area at the top of the South Island.

Travel and Training

Karma Karuna shares her travels searching for her path. This she discovered way yoga. Along the way she received yoga training in Nepal, India and Australia. Normally Karma Karuna spends 3 months each year living and teaching in India at the home and sadhana place of Swami Satyananda. She also travels internationally part of the year, committed to sharing Yoga Solutions for Life™ – simple & powerful techniques for transformation. However with travel restrictions this year she, like most of us is staying home, in New Zealand.

Karma Karuna

Karma Karuna is an engaging, intuitive yoga and meditation teacher, international speaker and writer with more than 25 years of training and experience primarily in the Satyananda system of yoga. A Bachelor of Arts in Interpersonal Communications with a minor in Psychology determined an interest in working with groups and individuals early in life. Her wide range of teaching spans varying settings, cultures and social areas. It includes yoga teacher trainings, international yoga conferences and events, spiritual sadhana retreats and working one to one addressing individual needs. 

She now offer Yoga Nidra and Restorative Yoga Instructors Professional Development Trainings from Anahata in New Zealand. 

Yoga Nidra Meditation Practice

We explore the yogic tradition and particularly the practice of Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra Meditation practice is now taught all over the world as an important step in developing awareness. It is used for stress relief, and rejuvenation, yet is is far more than this.

Stages of Yoga Nidra

In this pod we look at the psychological stages that make up the Yoga Nidra practice and their importance. see below for the stages of Yoga Nidra.

Stage 1: The Initial Settling

Settling for the practice in Shavasana (supine relaxation posture) and beginning of Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses).

Stage 2: Sankalpa

Here we discuss the importance of sankalpa or a resolve which is planted like a seed in the deeper mind.

Stage 3: Body Rotation

Body rotation or rotation of consciousness through the body parts. This deepens pratyahara by disconnecting the input from nervous system. Our ‘motor homunculus’, the representation of man based the neuronal areas assigned to our various body parts, is proportionally reflected in the time allotted to relax each of those parts. This means for example that we spend more time relaxing our hands and fingers then the rest of our limbs – just as more neuronal areas are dedicated to the sensory-motor functioning of the hands and fingers.

Stage 4: Breath Awareness

This can offer so many different practices from beginners to advanced. The breath being more subtle allows us to connect with Prana or life force energy. We can also work with breath and the nadis or energy channels, chakras and so much more.

yoga nidra Terry Oldfield and Soraya
Soraya has 2 Yoga Nidra Recordings
Yoga Nidra Soraya Saraswati
This is Soraya's second Yoga Nidra Recording

Stage 5: Opposites 

We add the opposite experiences in at this stage when we are deeply relaxed such as light-heavy, hot-cold, comfortable-uncomfortable, pain-pleasure. This has several benefits on being leaving out the judgemental aspect, simple unconditioned awareness. This helps us in life with avoiding the entanglement of craving and aversion.

Stage 6: Visualisation

Impressions from past experience are stored in the deeper mind as archetypes or ‘samskaras’.  These visualisations can be very simple or quite complex and can initiate the release of deeply held patterns or samskaras. This is where we need an experienced teacher for this part of the practice.

Stage 7: Repeat Sankalpa

Now that we are in a very deep state of relaxation and stillness there is a direct passage to the unconscious mind. In this deep state when we are still aware we repeat the sankalpa again 3 times.

Stage 8: Externalisation 

This is a very important end phase to come out of the practice gently and slowly. This grounds the awareness back into the external circumstances. 

Yoga Nidra is a deep practice and there is a lot more to it that a trained and experienced teacher understands.

Both Karma Karuna and myself are trained teachers with many years of experience. Please feel free to reach out. 

Teacher Training with Swami Karma Karuna in New Zealand is possible. Email Karma Karuna @

The Anahata Retreat Center website:


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