What is yoga nidra?
Yoga Nidra is a guided meditation practice that prompts the body to relax deeply. As you develop your Yoga Nidra practice you begin to relax the body deeply while the mind remains inwardly alert.
Renowned Yoga Guru Swami Satyananda Saraswati refers to Yoga Nidra as “reaching the border between waking and sleeping.”
The Benefits of Yoga Nidra
Research indicates that Yoga Nidra can help stabilise blood sugar levels, alleviate PMS symptoms, depression, and anxiety and help PTSD.
How do you practice Yoga Nidra?
You begin by lying on a mat or bed, face-up in savasana also known as yoga corpse pose. Based on the effect required the guided meditation differs. Advanced teachers use Yoga Nidra to elicit a number of responses in themselves & their participants. You may prompted to begin sensing your body for areas of tension. Breath awareness and mindfulness are also used to achieve the deep relaxation response that Yoga Nidra offers.
How Does Yoga Nidra Work?
What separates this form of guided meditation from standard yoga classes is that Yoga Nidra balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems (the “flight or fight” and “rest and digest” parts of your nervous system). Advanced teacher help you flow into various, beneficial brain wave states resulting in deep rest.
What is the ultimate goal of yoga nidra?
The ultimate goal is to have full control of your mind during wakefulness & sleep. This practice enables you to reach a state of restful awareness and leads to lucid dreams. That’s what makes this practice ideal for nighttime meditation.
Yoga Nidra very quickly takes you to a delta state. The delta state is considered to be the most restorative for the mind and body. Delta brain waves are a crucial part of REM or rapid-eye movement sleep, the stage of sleep where our brain sorts out it neural patterns.
A 2022 study published in Frontiers in Neurology showed that Yoga Nidra practitioners when taught correctly have significant differences in delta brain waves after only two weeks. Participants also reported that they slept longer and better – and fell asleep faster with less time spent awake in bed.
Yoga Nidra aims to reset your mind. It brings about a shift in brain wave activity that allows stressful thoughts and tension to fade away. The most profound Yoga Nidra experiences occur when you achieve the true depths of the delta state. As soon as you experience this, you will add sleeping meditation practices to your weekly (or daily) mental fitness plan. A deep feeling of “wellbeing” is experienced.
Another benefit of Yoga Nidra is improved sleep quality and overall restfulness. This practice helps you prevent yourself from being overwhelmed by intrusive thoughts when trying to rest.
Studies have also found that dopamine increases during the practice of Yoga Nidra further enhancing this state of well-being.
What to be cautious of?
Yoga Nidra has been practiced for centuries in India & Tibet. It’s a safe and effective practice when taught correctly. Also all the research studies on Yoga Nidra have used advanced practitioners and teachers. However Yoga Nidra has now entered popular culture with many novices teaching this practice. Some may believe that Yoga Nidra is just about reading a script. This is not the case. The teacher needs to understand brain waves and how to elicit specific responses. And you don’t want to be led by a person who elicits the incorrect brain response. This is a powerful technique.
Please choose a teacher who is a long term practitioner of Yoga Nidra and has been appropriately trained to guide others. This practice is used by Siddha & Tibetan Yogis to enter into deep states of meditation and to experience the luminous body – choose a teacher who understands and has experienced this.
Where can I experience Yoga Nidra?