Scientific Research of Yoga Nidra

Experiments with Swami Rama

Definitive experimental evidence of the existence of the fourth state of unified, transcendental consciousness.

The portal lies in the yoga Nidra state at the transition between sensory and sleep consciousness. It was first recorded at the Menninger Foundation in Kansas, the USA, in 1977. ‘Under the direction of Dr. Elmer Green, researchers used an electroencephalograph to record the brainwave activity of an Indian yogi, Swami Rama, while he progressively relaxed his entire physical, mental and emotional structure through the practice of yoga Nidra. What they recorded was a revelation to the scientific community.

The swami demonstrated the capacity to enter the various states of consciousness at will, as evidenced by remarkable changes in the electrical activity of his brain. Upon relaxing himself in the laboratory, he first entered the yoga Nidra state, producing 70 % alpha wave discharge for a predetermined 5 minute period, simply by imagining an empty blue sky with occasional drifting white clouds. Next, Swami Rama entered a stage of dreaming sleep, which was accompanied by slower theta waves for 75 % of the subsequent 5 minute test period.

This state, which he later described as being ‘noisy and unpleasant,’ was attained by ‘stilling the conscious mind and bringing forth the subconscious.’ In this state, he had the internal experience of desires, ambitions, memories, and past images in archetypal form arising from the subconscious and unconscious with a rush, each archetype occupying his full awareness.

Finally, the swami entered the state of an ( unconscious )deep sleep, as verified by the emergence of the characteristic pattern of slow rhythm delta waves. However, he remained perfectly aware throughout the entire experimental period. He later recalled the various events which had occurred in the laboratory during the experiment, including all the questions that one of the scientists had asked him during the period of deep delta wave sleep, while his body lay snoring.

Such remarkable mastery over the fluctuating patterns of consciousness had not previously been demonstrated under strict laboratory conditions. The capacity to remain consciously aware while producing delta waves and experiencing deep sleep is one of the indications of the superconscious state ( turiya ). Turiya is the ultimate state of Yoga Nidra in which the conventional barriers between waking, dreaming, and deep sleep are lifted, revealing the simultaneous operation of the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious mind.

The result is a single, enlightened state of consciousness and a perfectly integrated and relaxed personality. Those who have realized this state do not dream at all. They have one state of being, which does not alter. Waking and dreaming are alike for them because they are continuously experiencing the fourth spiritual state of superconsciousness. This state of superconsciousness was always considered in mystical and religious terms, but now it has been recognized and defined as a physiological reality. Modern psychologists such as Carl Jung have sought to define this state as a merging into the collective unconscious. Now research in parapsychology, psi phenomena, and psychotronics is providing experimental evidence of the universal mind’,. A single underlying matrix of consciousness exists.

The superconscious or universal mind is realized progressively as the barriers separating the three usually distinct forms of awareness are removed by such practices as yoga Nidra and meditation. The murky and unknown unconscious mind of the individual is then illumined. Revealing the entire superconscious dimension. This process of illumination of the total mind is the real meaning of liberation, self – realization, kaivalya, moksha or samadhi.

Yoga Nidra – Yoga Publications Trust, Munger, Bihar, India