Its Accessible For Everyone
You dont need to be able to put your foot behind your head or balance on one finger to practice Yoga Nidra. In fact, you have to let all that go in order to practice.
This simple guided meditation is accessible to all because the only thing you need to do is lie down. Therefore, this practice is available for everyone from young children to aging seniors, total meditation beginners to advanced practitioners, and everyone in between.;
Energetic Body: Feel Your Breath
Next, focus on your breath. Take deeper breaths. Notice your body as it breathes by itself. Notice the flow of air through your nostrils, feel it in your throats, and then your rib cage. Bring your awareness to your abdomen rising and falling with each breath flowing through your body. With each breath, feel free, as positive energy courses through your entire body.
Helps You Break Free From Worldly Thoughts
All along the day, 24/7, we spend our time thinking about the next thing; work, food, friends, or family. We often forget to enjoy the present because were worried about the future. Yoga Nidra helps you detach from your continuous train of thoughts and enter a thought-free mind for nearly a few minutes every day. Such a practice, when done regularly, is healthy as it helps the mind to relax.
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Six Beliefs About Yoga Nidra Debunked
;Katie Stewart, a yoga nidra expert, reveals the common fallacies around the meditative practice and how to harness it for sleep.;
When I first heard about yoga nidra, I was hooked. Known as yoga of conscious sleep, its a multi-step process designed to achieve the deepest state of relaxation while maintaining full consciousness. Yoga Nidra Meditation: The Sleep of the Sages by Pierre Bonnasse, explains yoga nidra as seeking to combine deep relaxation with attentive awareness in order to consciously explore the states of wakefulness, dream and deep sleep. Sounds peaceful and hypnotic, right? Sign me up.
After chatting with Katie Stewart, a psychologist and yoga instructor trained in iRest® Yoga Nidra, turns out, I had it all wrong . Katie set the record straight about yoga nidra and how to harness its powers for sleep.
Yoga Nidra Does Not Replace Sleep
Katie shouted from the rooftops, It is a beautiful, restorative, restful practice but we cant use it to replace sleep. We need both. Because yoga nidra brings us to the edge of sleep, it is easy to think it can substitute sleep. Here at Nollapelli, we understand that quality sleep rejuvenates us and is critical for our skin health and overall wellbeing, therefore, it cannot be replaced. Yoga nidra simply allows us to explore the realm of consciousness from a calm, receptive position that can prepare us for sleep, not replace it.
Yoga Nidra is Not Just An Ancient Practice, It is Backed by Science;
What’s The Difference Between Yoga Nidra And A Guided Meditation
Yoga nidra is a very specific type of guided meditation. According to Fishman, a yoga nidra session is typically 30 minutes longany shorter isn’t long enough to enter a parasympathetic state and any longer than 45 minutes can be considered an advanced practice. Dr. Miller describes the following stages as “sheaths” of being, which are called “koshas” in the ancient yogic texts.
Before moving through the exercise of bringing awareness to each one of these states, it’s best if the practitioner sets the stage with an intention and a desire. That intention is called a “sankalpa” in Sanskrit and, once you land on it, it should be kept at the forefront of your mind, always in the present tense. The second step is to identify what you deeply desire for yourself and others.
Then the teacher will guide you through a series of inquiries related to each one of the aforementioned sheaths. Here’s what a typical flow looks like:
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Your Body Has An Opportunity To Heal: Yoga Nidra Slows Down Your Brain Waves
Yoga nidra guides the student into the deepest state of sleep;where the brain produces theta and delta waves , but the student remains conscious throughout. According to Theta Healing, Theta State is a state of very deep relaxation; it is used in hypnosis and during REM Sleep. The brain waves are slowed down at a frequency of 4-7 cycles per secondTheta waves are always creative, characterized by feelings of inspiration and very spiritual. It is believed that this mental state allows you to act below the level of the conscious mind.
Delta waves on the other hand, are the slowest waves at 1-4 cycles per second and are experienced during deep dreamless sleep. When our brain waves have slowed down to the delta level, it is when our body has an opportunity to rest, restore and heal.
Yoga Nidra Relaxation For All
Yoga Nidra is one of the most accessible forms of meditation. You can sit in any position, youre not required to be an athlete or extremely fit to practice, and its so beneficial that everyone from children to seniors can practice. Yoga Nidra is always done through a guided meditation, so you arent faced with the challenge of meditating internally, alone. You can also choose how long you practice for. All of these aspects make Yoga Nidra a less daunting practice than most meditation.
If you practice Yoga Nidra on a regular basis, you will notice that you look forward to the practice and it will come easily to you.
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The Science Behind Yoga Nidra And Why You Should Try To Include It In Your Lockdown Routine
Yoga Nidra is a form of guided meditation, a method of Pratyahara that allows you to scan the body and tap into a state of relaxed consciousness as the mind settles in a place between wakefulness and sleep.
However too much of this can be linked with increased anxiety, poor sleep and general health problems, including a lowered immune system.
The benefits of Yoga Nidra
When you start Yoga Nidra, your brain is generally in an active state of beta waves, a natural transitional experience as you start to slow down and press pause on your day. The meditative practice then takes you into an alpha state, the brain wave frequency that links conscious thought with the subconscious mind.
We recommend that you try to practice Yoga Nidra at least once a week. It can be used to reboot your day, allowing the body and mind to recalibrate.
Yoga Nidra at Heather Yoga
We include Yoga Nidra in our 6 week Beginners Mind: An Introduction to Meditation Basics course:www.heatheryoga.co.uk/beginners-mind-an-introduction-to-meditation-basics/ and we also have our Bathing In Stillness: Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra monthly workshop. The next one is this Sunday 26th April 5.45pm-7.15pm. www.heatheryoga.co.uk/workshops/#yinnidraapril
Anyone Can Do Yoga Nidra
Intense vinyasa flows and long asana holds are not for everyone. Yoga nidra, however, is a practice that everyone, from children to seniors, can do. It’s easy to follow at any age. All that your body needs to do is lie down on the floor. And even if you can’t lie down on the floor, you can still do this practice seated.
Yoga nidra … is a practice that everyone, from children to seniors, can do.
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What To Expect During An Yoga Nidra Class
A typical Yoga Nidra class is 30 to 45 minutes long, and you begin by lying down on your back in Savasana . Some teachers will first guide you through a physical movement or yoga practice to release any extra energy or tension in the body, says Ugrinow. This helps prepare you for meditation.
As if laying down to do yoga wasnt enough of a luxury, Gillens class also provided a blanket and headrest to allow you to get into a truly comfortable state. Gillen said the temperature of the room should never be a distraction, so if its drafty, you should make sure to cover up with a blanket.
According to Ugrinow, the teacher usually then describes the process and what to expect. Before diving in, the teacher offers an intention , and then begins to guide you through the experience, she explains. First, theyll have you focus your awareness on the physical landscape and sensations of your body. Then, theyll begin weaving in awareness of the breath and inner landscapes.
True relaxation can only occur when you disengage the mind.
In between calling on the class to relax parts of our body, hed make us aware of our judgment. Repeatedly, he reminded us that we can allow any distractioneither a noise distraction or a thoughtto draw us further into our meditation. If we noticed we were getting sidetracked, he simply told us to use that to pull ourselves deeper into the peace we were exploring.
The Benefits Of Yoga Nidra
Not only does the practice induce instant relaxation, but it can also have lasting effects on your mental state. One study found that Yoga Nidra is an effective therapeutic technique for reducing anxiety and stress levels.Additionally, says Ugrinow, a regular Yoga Nidra practice expands your capacity to handle conflict in stressful situations. You learn to be present and witness the moment without judging or labeling experiences as good or bad, right or wrong, she explains. With greater awareness, you are able to identify and release the patterns in your life that are no longer serving you. Ariel Mann, a founding instructor at bande, agrees that Yoga Nidra is a great avenue for personal growth and evolution. It can lead to deep reflections that can help solve and resolve personal and interpersonal challenges and increase ones sense of purpose in the world, she explains.
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How Do You Practice Yoga Nidra
In short, you lie down and have a rest! The teacher will guide you, usually for around 35 minutes.;;We start by setting an intention and enquiring into our deeper intentions for life . Then, specific to iRest,;we spend time forming the foundations of an inner resource; a playlist of feelings and associations that make you feel safe and well. By connecting with a multi-sensory reflection bought about through memory, imagery and a felt sense, we are given back our birthright of well-being, belonging, security and ease.
Once the foundations of this have been laid, and we have a basic sense of ok-ness, we can begin to;gather concentration and sensory awareness;by exploring the body and breath. In effect, you use your senses as a microscope, exploring, listening and welcoming every aspect of the body and breath. This practice leads the body and mind into a deep state of relaxation.
Once the mind and emotions have been truly seen, heard, welcomed and connected with, they too become increasingly subtle.;This gives rise to the final phase of the practice: exploring consciousness.;Do you know who you are? Are you aware of your true nature? Do you know what it is to be sentient? Yoga Nidra enables us to dive in and recognize our Self as open, expansive, unbounded, unlimited awareness. This is the ultimate liberation and the highest realization we can come to.;
What Happens In Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is practiced lying down, typically in Corpse Pose , often with the use of bolsters and pillows to provide maximum comfort and to open up the body. Whether in the studio with others or home alone, the script for Yoga Nidra will bring the practitioner through different stages of consciousness. During these stages, changes occur to the subtle body , the physical body , and the mental body .
While each Yoga Nidra script is unique, a typical session consists of the following steps:
Step 1: Set an intention or identify your sankalpa. This can be individual or one as a group.
Step 2: Rotate the consciousness throughout the physical body, or annamaya kosha. This step consists of breathwork and body sensing, which triggers relaxation responses in the body. Here, the body and mind are guided into meditative sleep. The beta brain waves that occur during wakefulness slow down, considerably.
Step 3: Focus on the breath, bringing attention to the pranic body, or pranamaya kosha. Deep belly breathing triggers the body to release more serotonin. Here, the brain wave patterns slow down to that experienced in sleep, traveling through alpha, theta, and delta.
Step 4: Maintain awareness of sensory input to tap into the mind body, or manomaya kosha. Mindfulness occurs during alpha brain wave activity, which supports memory assimilation and concentration. It is during this functioning that deep healing can occur.
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Enjoy Life To The Fullest
A regular yoga nidra practice has all the potential to help you develop, change, or alter your routines and lifestyle for the better.;
Over time, youll see the world with a different pair of eyes as you draw strength and joy from your surroundings and the present moment. Even in your darkest hours, itll be easier to find a moment of joy, happiness, or appreciation.;
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built.; Rumi
While yoga nidra works on the inner harmony within yourself, it also enhances your abilities and experiences as you move forward in life. Meditation and yoga nidra invites you to treat every moment and encounter as an opportunity to cherish.
Remember, yoga nidra is easy to start
If youre ready to reconnect with yourself on a daily basis, achieve your ideal work/life balance, and bring more peace of mind into your daily life, yoga nidra is here to help.
Yoga Nidra Reduces Chronic Pain
Our bodies naturally want to heal and yoga nidra gives our body the time to do just that. Remember those delta waves I mentioned earlier? And the parasympathetic nervous system? Yoga nidra helps switch us out of doing and into being so we can rest. According to the same Boston Globe article before the US Army Surgeon General endorsed yoga nidra as an intervention in treating chronic pain. The practice of yogic sleep gives the body time to rest, recover and restore, which thereby brings down inflammation and improves the function of the immune system.
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How Yoga Nidra Can Improve Your Sleep
Nidra actually means sleep. Yoga Nidra is a practice that promotes a deep level of relaxation and, in turn, helps you improve your sleep patterns. It is able to do this because, as Kamini Desai puts it in his book Yoga Nidra: The Art of Transformational Sleep:
is structured to drop the mind down toward sleep to deliberately enter a state where the mind is naturally silent and still Yoga Nidra is a unique meditation practice because it rides on the natural process of sleep, which is already built into our system. Sleep is not something we have to learn. Our body already knows how to do it. Ancient Yogis realized they could follow the same route, descending down into sleep states to consciously release identification with thoughts.
The identification with thoughts Desai references has to do with the ability of the Yoga Nidra practice to facilitate new views on our thinking patterns. That is, Yoga Nidra allows us to think about our thinking from a new angle.
In doing so, it allows for the rejection of old, harmful thinking patterns and ignites new, better perspectives on how you think and what you think about. This helps you sleep better in large part because it reduces rumination thinking something that keeps millions of Americans from getting to sleep each night.
Lets take a look at the prescribed process that a Yoga Nidra session follows. These are called Yoga Nidra scripts.
Can I Do Yoga Nidra At Home
You can absolutely practice yoga nidra at home in your comfy bed is a great place! Even though you’ll be missing out on the serenity of the warm yoga studio, the gentle breath of the other people in class practicing, and the live guided instruction, Cowan said there are tons of free yoga nidra recordings on YouTube .
“I recommend a free trial of Alo Moves app for yoga nidra with Dharma Mittra. He is 80 years old and has been teaching yoga from New York City since the 1970s. His calm voice and technique is quite soothing,” Cowan said. If you prefer audio sessions, fellow yoga nidra instructor Malaika DosRemedios also has recorded yoga nidra sessions available on iTunes for purchase.
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Sample Yoga Nidra Script
Here is an example of a short Yoga Nidra script you might encounter in a yoga sleep meditation session.
Prepare Yourself: Lie on your back on the ground or a mat. Put a cushion beneath your knees and a small rolled up towel beneath the nape of your neck. You may cover yourself in a blanket if you wish. Put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Close your eyes.;
Focus on Breathing: Begin by bringing your awareness to your breath. Take three deep breaths in and out, expanding your belly with each in-breath and deflating your belly with each out-breath. Return to normal breathing whatever pace feels most comfortable.;
Focus on the Body: If you feel your mind racing with stress and worry, let go of these words and labels. Right now, were going to put all of our focus on the body.;
Where is your body touching the ground and what does this sensation feel like? Feel your heels on the ground and send your awareness to first your left, and then your right heel.;
Feel each hip where it grounds itself to the floor. Send your awareness to each of these parts, and equalize them so that you feel equally grounded. Then as you breathe in, send your awareness to your entire body as a whole. Allow gravity to take it. Give yourself over to the force beneath you, and surrender your weight to the earth.