Yoga Nidra Meditation is a state between sleep and consciousness that aides in emotional and physical healing, rewiring of the brain and self-discovery.
“Yogic sleep” is often what Yoga Nidra is referred to as because you are in a state of sleep but still conscious.
We as a society are extremely stressed and our nervous systems constantly take a beating, always having to be in fight-or-flight mode and that can become exhausting, even to the experienced human.
Yoga nidra helps the yogi calm their nervous system by being in a state of sleep but still conscious and focusing on the breath and honing in on the role it plays in our daily wellness journey.
Wellness has not always been a favorite topic of discussion for society but that is slowly changing because we are seeing that we are running on empty and need help.
We are always on the go and onto the next stress-filled situation, we never give our bodies or our minds times to stop and rest.
Yoga nidra has become the catalyst for our change in mindset over the past few years.
We as a society are starting to think about what it would be like to become a different version of ourselves and this yoga practice gives the right tools to begin that search.
It all starts with the curiosity of what a better version of ourselves would look like. The next time you are searching for a yoga class that will challenge you to stop, consider Yoga Nidra.
Where Does Yoga Nidra Come From?
An ancient yoga practice that is traced back to a philosophy called Sankhya originating in India.
A philosophy that has two sides of experiencing and the actual experience itself, the idea is that both are separate entities.
Thoughts, feelings, objects and other beings are a part of that separation. The philosophy of this practice is that the key to happiness is to become fully aware of the two sides.
Yoga Nidra is basically a deep sleep while you are still conscious and able to scan the body from head to toe to listen to what it needs at that very moment.
These two philosophies are from the teachings of Advaita Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism, two different approaches. But after more intense research and study, it is now thought that the two sides are no longer two but one, in a way.
If we experience a situation and feelings, thoughts, objects, and other beings are involved in that experience it is because of our perception of that experience. Our perception is our connection to the experience.
Yoga Nidra has been around for centuries and has become extremely popular in the modern day. As a society, we are realizing just how stressed we actually are and how we could use a little assistance.
A practice that can be done absolutely anywhere, Yoga Nidra is quite possibly the answer to our stressful lives.
What Happens During a Yoga Nidra Class?
If you have 30 – 40 minutes to spare in your day, then you should try a Yoga Nidra class.
Often referred to as “yogic sleep”, this ancient practice will deliver what seems like a two-hour deep sleep session in the form of only a half an hour.
That is how absolutely powerful the practice is and makes yogis from all over the world returning to Yoga Nidra classes everywhere.
Yoga Nidra has been known to alter hormones (in a good way), aide in the stabilization of glucose levels as well as decrease post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you are lucky enough to go to a practice you will not be sorry. You lay on your back and the instructor, with the instructor’s guidance, you close your eyes and your brain waves go through all of the waves from beta, alpha, and delta, lingering right at the space before you get to theta.
This is also referred to as “hypnagogic state” – the space of a deep sleep but where your mind is still active and aware. In that space, you are able to pull experiences from your subconscious and experiences that have otherwise been repressed.
The yoga instructor will repeat commands to you in order to increase habituation, which is repeated stimuli.
A repetition of different commands such as left big toe, left little toe, top of the foot, etc., when you focus on small sensations you will eventually forget the original sensation and begin to block out the world around you.
A practice that involves the yogi to lie flat on their back the whole entire class. I bet you are thinking on how earth does a practice like that have any benefits?
Our brains are able to make space for new positive habits and rid ourselves of the negative habits that we all wrestle with on a daily basis.
When you come face-to-face with your subconscious thoughts and repressed experiences you open yourself up to immense healing mentally, emotionally and physically. Yoga Nidra can be the new healing method for our hurting society.
Why Does Yoga Nidra Work?
Yoga Nidra is slowly becoming the new form of stress relief in today’s society due to studies showing that it actually does improve anxiety, depression and a host of other ailments that individuals experience.
If done on a consistent basis Yoga Nidra can change your life for the better. This practice transports you to a stage of consciousness that cannot be reached through regular sleep.
In this stage of consciousness, you experience a complete loss of consciousness but you are awake and can still use your senses.
The end goal is to arrive at this state of consciousness in Yoga Nidra but not every yogi who practices will experience it but will be able to experience pieces of it.
Even if yogis never enter this state, the benefits are still remarkable and by experiencing pieces of it, they are able to bring back techniques to deal with everyday life in the full consciousness.
Once you have done a few practices you are equipped with tools to reconnect with your thoughts and emotions and think about them in a different setting rather than constantly running and allowing negativity to spew around in your mind.
This is because yourself and your mind are much more open to intentions and affirmations due to it having had experienced something that powerful.
You are able to change the way you approach your everyday tasks and you may find yourself not reacting the way you did to previous thoughts and emotions, in such a negative manner but rather in a positive manner.
Some yogis may experience being able to sit with their negative thoughts and emotions and find out where they come from rather than giving in and allowing them to run the day.
There is a spot between all our eyes brows known as the third eye and in Yoga Nidra, you are asked to focus your attention inward to that spot.
This spot is known as the pineal gland which releases the hormone melatonin. Once attention is focused on that spot, melatonin is activated.
Melatonin helps to reduce stress, aides in providing more restful slumber, boosts the immune system which in turn helps to decrease illnesses, which altogether helps improve your health and lifestyle.
You may be surprised what Yoga Nidra can do for you in your life and the positive benefits that come with it.
What Are the Benefits of Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra has many benefits for the mind, body, and soul. One of the most common and easily maintained yoga practices that any yogi, no matter what level, can experience.
All you need is your breath and to carve time out of your day. Carving out time of the day for you is incredibly important because a lack of it takes you down a rabbit hole that is difficult to climb out of.
If you do not take care of yourself first, it is utterly impossible to take care of anyone else in your life. Yoga Nidra will take up 30 – 40 minutes of your day but will benefit you for a lifetime.
Can Anyone Do Yoga Nidra?
Other yoga practices that require long holds of asana poses such as vinyasa can be difficult for some individuals to begin and maintain but Yoga Nidra is a practice that is for everyone.
This practice is done lying on your back or you can do this sitting upright. A form of meditation that can be done absolutely anywhere.
You Cannot Practice Yoga Nidra Incorrectly
There is not an incorrect way to practice Yoga Nidra because you are lying on your back or seated upright slowly moving into a meditative state. It is a chance to calm your mind, focus on your breath and listen to the guided voice of the instructor.
If you find yourself falling asleep during this practice that is okay too because the benefits of Yoga Nidra are still able to be received in an unconscious state of mind.
Yoga Nidra Is Easy to Incorporate into Your Daily Life
Even if you lead a busy, hectic life, you can still add Yoga Nidra into your daily routine. The length of the practice is entirely up to you, five minutes to sixty minutes, the choice is yours.
Incorporate Yoga Nidra into the morning, evening or lunchtime routine that you already have and you will begin to see a difference in your mental and physical health.
It’s a Simple Way to Reduce Stress
Focusing on your breath and listening to guided voices has a significant impact on reducing stress in your life.
When you are able to do head to toe body scan you are actually able to listen to your body and hone in on what it needs at that moment. The practice of scanning your body calms the nervous system which in turn reduces stress and leads to a healthier life.
Yoga Nidra Offers the Opportunity to Learn About Yourself Intimately
The reason for any practice of yoga is to come to terms with yourself and how you are as an individual, with a non-judgmental approach.
You must come face-to-face with every single piece of you if you want to become a better version of yourself. One of the only ways to begin to accomplish this task is to shut down for a while and focus on your breath.
Often times we hold onto emotions because they are too heavy but in reality the heavier the emotions are the more they need to be released and our mat is one of the safest places to do that.
Yoga Nidra, if you allow, will offer a space for you to come to terms with yourself in the most graceful way possible.
Some Final Considers About Yoga Nidra
This ancient yoga practice has been known to change lives and improve health and wellbeing for all that practice it.
Often referred to as “yogic sleep”, there are amazing benefits that come with practicing Yoga Nidra and any and everyone can do it, anywhere.
Yoga Nidra allows you to be in a state of consciousness while experiencing a state of unconsciousness but you are awake. It is an incredible concept to ponder but it is true.
Some yogis may find themselves dosing off to sleep during class and that is okay because you are still able to receive the benefits in a state of sleep. A 30 – 40 minute Yoga Nidra class is said to have the same benefits of an actual deep sleep.
With our stressful everyday lives, we forcing our nervous systems into extreme overdrive and we are not always able to come back down from that.
Having an overstimulated nervous system can lead to stress on the body, anxiety, depression and other health issues.
It is extremely important to take care of ourselves, not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. This practice gives your body, mind, and soul pure life and you will be forever grateful to it.