What is Yoga Nidra?
Definition, Practice, How it works
A systematic method of complete relaxation, holistically addressing our psychological, neurological and subconscious needs. Also known as yogic sleep or dynamic sleep, yoga nidra is the act of staying conscious, but separated from external awareness.
Subjects lie down in savasana pose (on back, arms comfortably at sides, palms up, eyes closed). The only task is to listen as I recite guided imagery using a systematic approach to body awareness and sankalpa (setting an intension) No meditation experience is necessary. Subjects of all ages can partake and benefit. Imagery scripts can be created/adjusted depending on the person/group listening and the goals for that session.
How it works:
One of the main ideas behind yoga nidra is the idea that we all have an indestructible center (Atma) that is peaceful, joyful, loving and wise. It is our true self. When trauma, stress and fatigue come into play, the layers surrounding our center (the Koshas) work together with negative influence. This causes chronic muscle tension, disruption of digestion, inflammation and high blood pressure.
Yoga Nidra takes us through specific sequencing, putting these layers to rest so that we can operate from a more centered, truthful, peaceful self.
1. Readiness and Reminders: positioning, handling distractions, getting comfortable
2. Setting a Sankalpa: a specific, short intension in the present tense- a way you want to feel when you “wake up”.
3. 6 stages of relaxation that correspond to the Atma (true self) and Koshas (the layers -physical, energetic, mental, intuitive covering the state of joy that opens door to our true self.) includes, body scan, breath awareness and visualization.
4. Remembering the Sankalpa: The brain activity at the time of setting/remembering sakalpa makes it more likely your mind will accept it.
5. Return to Full Awareness
Yoga nidra takes practice, but when done routinely can have a huge positive impact on mental, emotional and physical well being!
Uses and Benefits
What you can expect from routine Yoga Nidra sessions
1. Brain Development
- Improves memory
- Increases learning capacity/creativity
2. Improves Physical Health
- Flushes toxins from the body
- Activates nervous system and heals endocrine imbalances - helps body restore to normal state after anxiety/tension/stress throw body and brain off track.
- Improves immune system
- reduces pain and inflamation
- Increases energy. A 30 min session equates to 3 hours of sleep.
3. Improves Mental Health
- Restores mind and body relieving stress and anxiety, restructuring inner compass and tendencies toward negative self-talk
- Body scanning and visualization train the brain to detach from distractions and bypass the ego. This allows one to find answers within, to trust intuition and discover ones truest self. This leads to self confidence, increased self worth and a more positive, grounded outlook when problem solving.
- Healing negative effects of maltreatment and emotional abuse: Ill treatment/trauma from the past can effect our ability to problem solve, self regulate and cope with new situations and stressors. Yoga nidra teaches a coping technique that can be done easily with little dependence on anyone else. Subjects learn how to advocate for themselves and make healthy choices in the face of depression, anxiety, anger and hopelessness.