Yoga Nidra: The most powerful meditation technique to restore the body and mind
Achieve profound relaxation and deep restorative sleep with this time tested yogic technique.
“In Yoga Nidra, we restore our body, senses, and mind to their natural function and awaken a seventh sense that allows us to feel wholeness, tranquility, and well-being,” says Richard Miller, a clinical psychologist and yoga scholar.
WHAT IS YOGA NIDRA?
Yoga Nidra, or yogic sleep is a well known and immensely powerful meditation technique to promote deep rest and relaxation. One starts with lying down in savasana ( the corpse pose) and is then guided into a conscious state of meditation.
An ancient technique originating in India, it is now a popular subject worldwide for seminars about yoga practice and therapy.
WHY YOGA NIDRA?
Being a powerful deep relaxation exercise, Yoga Nidra is an excellent way to reduce stress and improve sleep. Practisers of the Yoga Nidra technique report better management of pain, anxiety and depression. According to an article in the Boston Globe published in 2006, the Department of Defense conducted research at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on the efficacy of Yoga Nidra on soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder. The treatment proved beneficial and led to the incorporation of Yoga Nidra into weekly treatment programs for soldiers in several facilities across the US.
Marci Alegant, a participant at iRest Yoga Nidra retreat founded by Richard Miller wrote in her testimonial “I suffer from chronic pain as a result of nerve damage from brain surgery. I am also being treated for anxiety and depression. Since beginning my practice, I have been almost pain-free, and when I have needed medication, it has been much less than before. Anxiety and depression are also markedly improved.” proving the power of Yoga Nidra in tackling trauma and chronic pain.
EXTENDED BENEFITS OF YOGA NIDRA
1. Yoga Nidra helps in balancing and correcting the functioning of the entire endocrine system and toning up the nervous system.
Studies have found that the Yoga Nidra practice appears to reflect an integrated response by the hypothalamus, a small part of the brain responsible for multiple activities and functions related to the nervous system, resulting in decreased sympathetic (excitation) nervous activity and increased parasympathetic (relaxation) function. Hence a significant improvement in the overall well-being of an individual and his or her mental health can be credited to a regular practice of Yoga Nidra.
2. Yoga Nidra helps you sleep better and improve sleep quality drastically.
In another study done to analyze the effects of Yoga Nidra on sleep patterns, it was found that a morning practice resulted in significant improvement in sleep-quality ratings. Yoga Nidra increased parasympathetic drive at night causing sleep to be more restorative.
3. Yoga Nidra helps control the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes.
In a controlled experiment done to study the impact of Yoga Nidra on blood glucose levels of patients with Type 2 Diabetes, it was revealed that patients who practiced the technique for 30 minutes for 90 days reported a fall in the mean blood glucose levels.
4. Yoga Nidra helps in controlling the PMS symptoms in women.
Since the practice regulates hormones and contributes towards an overall feeling of emotional and physical well-being, it is said to directly heal menstrual dysfunction.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING YOGA NIDRA?
Yoga Nidra is a way to open up and enter a deep state of relaxation. You start with lying down flat and proceed into what is typically a guided step-by-step meditation to relax your body and mind.
Because of your relaxed pose and calm mind, your breathing slows down significantly which leads to you consuming less oxygen. Starting from the beta state ( an awakened state with lots of brain activity) to moving to alpha ( a more relaxed state) and then to deep alpha and eventually to high theta brain-wave state which is the dream state. This is when your brain slows down to 4-8 thoughts per second, before proceeding to the guided delta state where the brain activity is only about 1-4 thoughts per second. This is the restorative sleep stage. Your organs are believed to regenerate and the stress hormone cortisol is removed from your system. Lastly, you are moved into the final stage of consciousness where your brain is thoughtless but you are still awake. This stage is quite difficult to attain and needs a lot of practice. This when your mind is extremely relaxed and receptive at the same time. After this stage, you are slowly guided back to wakefulness.
IS YOGA NIDRA FOR YOU?
Yoga Nidra is the easiest way to do yoga. It can be practiced by people from all age groups, right from children to senior citizens. Though one needs to be guided into the technique, it can be done at any hour of the day and there isn’t any wrong way to do it. Some people worry about falling asleep during the session and it is considered fine for beginners. At the end of the day, an improved and more restful sleep is what you get in return for your time.
You can start your Yoga Nidra practice today with a fully guided video on our Youtube channel. All you need is a flat surface to lie down on. A yoga mat can be used and it can also be practiced in bed. Make sure your mattress is moderately firm so that your posture is correct.
Use the link to access the free session of Yoga Nidra on YouTube: