What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is a technique of guided meditation also known as “yogic sleep” or “effortless relaxation”. Most sessions involve lying on a mat and being guided by an instructor.
Focusing within, we become adept at moving effortlessly between waking and sleeping states, when our bodies achieve homeostasis; our breathing settles into a tranquil rhythm, our subconscious and conscious thought processes become more transparent, and we enter a state of profound, blissful awareness.
Here, at rest, we have the luxury of devoting our full attention to contemplating the fundamentals of what it is to be conscious.
The ‘deeper’ aspects of yogic teachings, which we may have previously considered abstract, begin to manifest for us, allowing us to experience qualities like expansiveness, inclusiveness, and deep restfulness; feelings of wholeness and unity; and a sense of interconnectedness.
Yoga Nidra leads us smoothly into a condition of peaceful, calm being. It is from this place that we can find restoration and wholeness and awaken to our most authentic, wise, and inviting selves. It’s a noble practise that’s catching on all across the world, and new studies keep showing that it works.
Yoga Nidra is a meditative practise that involves the use of a guide to lead you through a series of progressive relaxation postures and breathing exercises in order to achieve a state of consciousness somewhere between waking and sleeping. This is known as Pratyahara, or the withdrawal of the senses.
Our nerves are on edge more than ever because of the ongoing global situation and its continued effects on our daily lives. Our contemporary way of life is characterised by an unprecedented increase in overstimulation due to our reliance on technology and screens for maintaining social and professional relationships, as well as for acquiring knowledge, having fun, and passing the time.
Therefore, our Sympathetic nervous system is continuously switched on. The increased activity in the prefrontal cortex is a direct outcome of the elevated levels of anxiety, stress, and concern we are all feeling.
However, an excess of this has been related to things like nervousness, insomnia, and other health issues (such as a weakened immune system).
The benefits of Yoga Nidra
This technique entails a systematic scanning of the body with the attention.
Physical, emotional, and mental stress relief are all possible outcomes of this activity. In addition to calming the body, Yoga Nidra also helps us clear out the pathways that carry nerve impulses to the brain.
By cultivating a regular Yoga Nidra practise, we can mitigate the negative effects of stress and hyperactivity in the prefrontal cortex by activating other regions of the brain that control interoceptive awareness, so fostering a more peaceful, restorative, and balanced state of being.
Yoga Nidra begins when your brain is in a level of activity called beta waves; this is a normal part of the process as you begin to wind down and take a break from your day.
When you meditate, your brain waves slow down to alpha, the frequency that connects your rational mind with your unconscious.
Serotonin is secreted when in the alpha state, facilitating a profound sense of inner peace. From this vantage point, mental tremors diminish and calmness settles in.
A calm and relaxed state settles across the body. As you progress farther into the exercise, your brain will begin to release delta waves, similar to what happens during a deep slumber.
The last stage of Yoga Nidra is different from deep sleep in that you are fully aware. When you’re this calm and focused, it’s easy to reach your unconscious mind and work with old experiences, all without leaving the present.
We can learn to gain a little more freedom and detachment from harmful behaviours and thought patterns while allowing repressed and unprocessed sorrow to relax their hold, tension, and grip.
Savasana, or the corpse pose, is the initial position in Yoga Nidra. The instructor will have the class slowly switch their attention to each portion of their bodies, instructing them to relax those areas while continuing to hold a static position.
After finishing your meditation, it’s crucial to come out of trance gradually and give yourself time to process your experience. Taking stock of how your body and mind feel before getting back to work.
Yoga Nidra is something you should attempt to do at least once a week. It can serve as a reset button for the day, allowing you to refocus and reorient your body and mind.