Yoga Nidra or yogic sleep can be called a state of mind. It is more of a mental technique rather than a physical one. It is when the person is partially withdrawn from the state of full consciousness. However, the practitioner is not entirely unconscious or detached either. Yoga Nidra is mainly when the practitioner is in a state of limbo and tethered to the conscious realm only through the sense of hearing. You can practice it either with the help of an instructor or all by yourself. There is not a wrong way of practicing it, no side effects either. Music, more importantly ‘relaxing music’ is also of great assistance.
What is Yoga Nidra?
As specified before, yoga nidra is a state of mind. It is when the consciousness is teetering on the precipice of full awareness and detachment. It is similar to the state the body is in when we are almost about to sleep. The body resigns its control over the physical faculties. This is where the brain steps in to take over and establishes a lull. It stands apart from meditation in certain aspects. While meditation requires entire concentration and laser-like focus, this necessarily doesn’t need much focus.
In the case of assisted yoga nidra, an instructor is continually providing instructions. All that the clients have to do is to, direct their attention towards the instructions and follow them. Hence, four of the five of our primary senses are withdrawn, and hearing is the only sense which keeps us tethered. Yoga nidra is what follows after yoga. It allows the body to cool down and helps us find our physical bearing. It preps the body for the next stage, that is meditation.
Why do we need Yoga Nidra?
Your yoga routine has left you feeling high and rejuvenated? The post-workout effect makes you feel like you can take over the world. The ‘feel good’ hormones like endorphins, coursing through your bloodstream, will make you give you a high and fix your mood. However, this energy can run out soon, leaving you feeling depleted. A wise way to conserve this energy and cool down is to practice yoga nidra. It cools down the body which is riding on the post workout high that yoga provides. It provides a means to consolidate the energy for future use.
Yoga nidra also acts as a stepping stone in prepping the mind for meditation. Meditation is not everyone’s cup of tea. In this age of technology where our attention spans rival that of a butterfly, we don’t have what it takes to meditate. However, by mastering this technique, we get one step closer to meditating. We can also describe it as a state of lucid dreaming, where one is not entirely aware of the reality.
How can we perform Yoga Nidra?
No technicality involved, this is probably the most straightforward technique to perform. Prerequisites include performing it on an empty stomach, preferably in a clutter-free space. If you are going to any yoga studios, to learn yoga, instructors help with this. However, you can perform this all by yourself. Music can be an excellent accompaniment too.
- Lie down on a mat or ground in Shavasana or corpse pose. Close your eyes and relax. Ease down the breathing to a slow, deep pattern.
- You can start by gently diverting your attention towards your right foot. Under your consideration for a while, let the foot relax.
- Repeat the same process. While doing so, train your attention towards the subsequent parts of the leg, like knee, thigh, and hip.
- Continue the process until you cover the entire expanse of the body.
- When you achieve to get all parts of your body to relax, take a few deep breaths in and observe the sensations all over.
- After the lapse of a sufficient amount of time, rouse your body to attention slowly. It must be done very slowly as sudden movements can have an adverse effect on our brain.
- Turn to your right and lay in the same position for a while. For, this is said to help, because body cools down faster when the flow of breath is through the left nostril.
- Take your time to sit up and slowly open your eyes.
- You don’t need to concentrate or focus on any part explicitly. It is mainly about conscious relaxation. It is OK if you are distracted or even fall asleep. Mastering it might take a while.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra
It is a powerful technique. Swami Satyananda of the Bihar School of Yoga is credited as the developer. He has developed it from ancient Tantra. Hinduism and Buddhism profoundly influence this. It is beneficial in multiple ways, and there are no side effects.
- Reduces Stress: Yoga Nidra is an excellent form of stress reliever and reduces anxiety significantly.
- Heals Trauma: Studies show that yoga nidra, has been a beneficial way to treat soldiers who have Post Traumatic stress disorder.
- Helps in reducing PMS symptoms and improves their moods and anxiety.
- Yoga nidra helps with insomnia and other sleep disorders.
- It curbs the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes.
- Yoga nidra fills the mind with positive vibes.
- It is instrumental in treating chronic pains.
- The brain produces theta(4-7 Hz) and delta(1-3 Hz) waves when you are under the influence of yoga nidra. Studies associate theta waves are with REM sleep and hypnosis. Medical professionals characterize them with creative, and inspirational feelings. Delta waves are associated with dreamless sleep.
- With the help of yoga nidra, we can become self-aware, and we can learn more about ourselves.
- There is no wrong way of practicing it. This makes it easier to incorporate it into our daily lives.
- It enhances our memory and makes our brain sharper.
- It can be helpful in curing mental disorders and promotes willpower.
- Yoga nidra is an effective method of therapy.
With all these benefits yoga nidra is a very potent method and can help if we incorporate it into our daily stressful lives.