Theory And Practice Of Yoga Nidra
The theory behind yoga nidra is that it works on something called our body of energy or life force. In India this energy is known as prana, and in China it is called chi.
Nearly all spiritual traditions acknowledge the existence of a body of energy that permeates the physical body and is responsible for our health and well being. The aim of acupuncture and all martial arts, for example, is to balance and enhance the flow of life force in your body.
Yoga nidra also aims to enhance and balance this energy. Moreover, it does so in an enjoyable and effortless way that involves no costly equipment or training. Some practitioners describe yoga nidra as a form of self-administered acupuncture.
You don’t have to attend a yoga class to reap the benefits of this relaxation practice. All you need is a warm, quiet space and an audio recording of a yoga nidra.
In classic yoga nidra practice, you lie on your back with your arms away from your body, palms turned upwards. Your feet should be hip width apart, with your toes falling outwards. Your eyes remain closed throughout the practice.
Make sure that your body is lying symmetrically. It may help if you imagine a centre line running between your navel and throat.
Yoga nidra puts a strong emphasis on the way your body is laying. Practitioners believe your relaxation posture influences your consciousness, and that this supine position prepares you for letting go and helps to balance the flow of life force in your body.
What Makes Yoga Nidra Unique
Most styles of meditation simply involve observing and allowing thoughts from a place of silent stillness. However, Yoga Nidra effects shifts from the state of meditation with the use of intention. In Yoga Nidra you are free from identification with deep-seated thought patterns that are constantly shaping and creating your mind, emotions, and even your body. With the use of intention you can consciously plant a seed to shape and create the state of your mind, emotions and body from the subtlest states of being very quickly and easily. It is like making changes to water versus ice.
This style of Yoga Nidra is called the Integrative Amrit Method . The big difference is the focus on energy as the point of entry into meditation. This released energy in the body increases the healing potential available during an I AM Yoga Nidra and typically takes most practitioners into deeper states of meditation more quickly. That is why this style is often known as the deep one.
Intentions: Yoga Nidra helps resolve external symptoms by going directly to the root of those symptoms. It uses the power of intention to help you make lasting changes in your life. When you are in the deepest state of relaxation, I will read an intention. An intention, or sankalpa, is similar to an affirmation, except it works at a subtle level, rather than engaging the conscious mind.
What Is The Difference Between Meditation And Yoga Nidra
Although Yoga Nidra offers a meditative experience, there is so much more to a meditation practice that incorporates techniques like mantra-based and breath-based meditation. When you practice Yoga Nidra you will gain all of the above-mentioned benefits but generally speaking, those benefits will quickly fade if the practice is missed or stopped. Whereas most other meditation techniques benefits build over time and definitely surpass what is possible through Yoga Nidra. Here too, missing your meditation practice repeatedly or stopping altogether could cause beneficial gains to diminish.
Want profound relaxation? Yoga Nidra can do that!
Want restful sleep? Yoga Nidra can help with that!
Want better immunity, greater mental focus, healthier blood pressure, increased self-esteem, more optimism, and life satisfaction, along with personality development? Try a breath-based meditation technique.
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I First Tried Insight Timer More Than A Year Ago
I tried it on the suggestion of a therapist whom I was consulting with at the time, and now use it at least three to four times a week.
Although it has a Premium version that goes for $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year, it’s primarily a free app, which is how I use it, and says it has 90,000 titles for use online or that can be downloaded for use offline.
The programs are provided by teachers from all over the world, with instructors including everyday practitioners as well as actor Russell Brand, supermodel Gisele Bündchen, actress and mental health advocate Goldie Hawn, author Elizabeth Gilbert, and well-known psychologist, author, and meditation teacher Tara Brach.
The Interface Itself Is Easy To Use
The one thing that wasn’t intuitive to me initially was the search function, but they’ve since revamped it so that it’s very clear at the top of the app’s home screen.
There’s even a button for “Sleep” right on the home screen that will take you directly to all of the resources in that section.
One additional feature on the home screen that I always find interesting is this map that lets you know how many users are on the app at any given time, how many have used it today, and how many members Insight Timer has.
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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.
Good Anxiety Apps And Sites You Need To Know About
At the back of my new book first, we make the beast beautiful, I promised to share on my site a list of some top apps and sites for anxiety. This is that list.
Its a simple list because I personally dont rely on such tech things heavily. For some context its worth noting that very few studies have been done on the efficacy of apps for anxiety, despite large organisations endorsing them in the face of decreasing funding for mental health services around the world. An Australian study found only eight scientific papers had been done on any mental health app anywhere in the world.
Despite this, there are thousands of commercially available apps claiming to target mental health. I reckon many of them would certainly play a very constructive role in modulating anxious symptoms for manybut its a matter of trying them for yourself. Some are great for building good new muscles. To put this list together I consulted experts and you, dear readers, for suggestions.
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Meditation Has Many Proven Benefits In Addition To Soothing You To Sleep
However, if meditation isn’t your jam, keep in mind that Insight Timer has almost as many non-meditation resources to help you sleep as it does those that are meditation-based.
Plus, with the app, you also get thousands of resources on other topics, including the coronavirus, stress, anxiety, depression, and motivation, as well as specific channels devoted to teachers of color and parents, live events, and ongoing courses on a variety of themes.
Other Tips For Practicing Yoga Nidra
While yoga nidra might seem much easier than traditional yoga, Bar says you still have to practice, especially if youre not used to meditation or quieting your mind. She recommends practicing away from distractions and in a darker room. You can use a sleep mask to block out light if you need to. Bar also recommends covering up with a blanket since the body tends to cool down when its at rest.
If lying on the floor for a while wouldnt be comfortable for you, you can practice yoga nidra in a recliner or even in bed. And you dont have to start with a long session. Start with 15 or 20 minutes and work your way up. You also dont have to do yoga nidra in the middle of the day. A nighttime practice can help you sleep tight through most of the night.
And like with most things, dont give up if you struggle with your first session. Quieting your mind and not doing anything is much harder than you think. So give yoga nidra a few tries. Youll get the hang of it in no time especially when your mind and body need time to rest and recover.
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The Amount Of Resources Is One Downside It Has So Much To Offer It Can Be Hard To Find A Place To Start
My therapist had informed me that the app had quite a few resources for sleep, and when I first downloaded it, I was overwhelmed.
There are currently more than 2,200 meditations for sleep, more than 2,000 music tracks intended to help you drift off, and 146 talks listed under the topic, most of which are quite literally bedtime stories.
What Is Yoga Nidra Meditation
Yoga Nidrameditation, an ancient practice, sometimes referred to as yogic sleep is a guided meditation that guides you into conscious awareness of each part of the body for effortless, deep relaxation. Yoga Nidra is not about falling asleep. Rather, Yoga Nidra induces a state of deep rest and inner awareness that is as restorative as deep sleep. Although the goal of Yoga Nidra isnt to fall asleep, it is possible to fall asleep if you are carrying lots of fatigue.
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S Of A Yoga Nidra Practice
Some yoga studios offer yoga nidra, but you can also do it at home with the help of YouTube or a meditation app. You dont need fancy equipment either. You can lie flat on your back on a yoga mat or a blanket with a bolster or pillow supporting your lower back, spine and your head. You can even put a blanket or pillow under your knees.
Bar says there are 10 stages of a yoga nidra practice. These steps are outlined by Richard Miller in his 10 Stages of Yoga Nidra.
Try Yoga Nidra At Home
Please try this yoga nidra from Relaxation for Healing, an audio book by Gillian Ross that includes a relaxation, a breathing and a meditation practice. Each of the three practices employs different yogic traditions.
Relaxation for Healing is available from ABC Shops, ABC Centres and online.
Audio reproduced with permission from ABC Music.
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Our 5 Favourite Free Yoga Nidra Sessions
Nearly everyone these days suffers from stress or anxiety at some point in their lives. Here in the UK in 2016/17, 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety according to figures published by the HSE . Thats a heck of a lot of days.
So what can be done about it?
Yoga is often cited as a way to combat stress, but even yoga teachers get stressed . If only there was a way to circumnavigate our short-circuited fizzing brains and tap into the deep inner peace that is always there, but tantalisingly out of reach
And there is! The answer to our stress-related problems could well be Yoga Nidra.
What is it?
Yoga Nidra is a form of guided meditation. It can be practised by anyone, whether you have previous experience of yoga or meditation or not.
Yoga Nidra provides the tools to access the deep rest and relaxation of sleep, while staying in a conscious state, in fact nidra literally means sleep.
This guided meditation allows the body to access the deep rest-like state controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system. The breath rate slows, the heart rate slows and the nervous system is given a well-needed rest.
A Potted History
In ancient texts the term yoganidr was also used as a synonym for a profound state of meditation, known as samdhi the eighth and final limb of yoga. It is also thought of as a way to access the fourth state of consciousness, the other three being wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep.
Highly Recommend This App
Ive been using it for four years now, especially during times of severe insomnia.Thirty minutes of yoga nidra really does help me feel like I got a fuller night of sleep. Though its not the same as getting 6-8 hours, using this app gives me much needed benefits during those times. My stress levels remain low. Im able to stay focused and a lot more energized throughout the day. Plus its great way to sneak in a meditation practice.I tell people about this app all the time, especially if they dont have time to take a nap or unable to .
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After Sampling About A Half
“Yoga Nidra for Sleep” is now the highest-reviewed sleep meditation on the app, having earned 4.7 stars from more than 93,000 users. In fact, the track is the single-most-played on the app overall.
The word “yoga” is what initially drew me to the program, although at the time, I had no clue what “yoga nidra” meant. It turns out that “yoga nidra” is equivalent to yogic sleep, and at least as led by Piercy, it works every time.
Piercy points out at the beginning of the program that it can be used wherever the listener finds themselves, “whether that’s seated on an airplane or bus, lying down on the floor, or in the comfort of your own bed.”
To be honest, I’m not sure if I personally would use it on public transportation, because at this point, a year into using this program, I can feel my brain start its Pavlovian ramping down the minute Piercy’s dulcet tones begin. I’m afraid I’d leave a puddle of non-coronavirus-friendly drool in the proximity of potential seatmates.
Development Of A Model For Using Yoga Nidra In Insomnia Patients
KD2 visited Bihar School of Yoga, Munger and attended sessions of yoga nidra taken by teachers. Permission to use yoga nidra for chronic insomnia patients was taken. She had discussions with the teachers and doctor in the school. The teachers brought out the usual problems faced during conducting and also while doing the session oneself. KD2 also did sessions herself under supervision while in ashram to get a hands-on feel of the session which would help planning for the patients subsequently. Planning of the session was done keeping the discussion in mind. The patients were taught using pre-recorded audio CD on yoga nidra© from the school which are easily available for sale.
The discussion brought out that a yoga nidra session every day for 3 to 4 days as done in short yoga programmes helps their subject to make them comfortable during the session. It was also pointed out that at times the instructions are not clear to all the subjects and might require elaboration on an individual basis. Keeping these points in mind five supervised sessions were planned continuously every day for 5 days. The method of doing yoga nidra involves seven steps namely preparation, samkalpa , body part awareness or rotation of consciousness, breath awareness, feeling and sensation, visualization and ending of practice .
Planning of the Model included three basic parts
What to do during the session for the observer
Discussion by the observer with the patient after the session
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