Do you feel on edge?
Is your mind constantly on the go?
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra has also been called Yogic Sleep. Run by qualified practitioners such as
Kathleen Ford, it is a guided systematic mediation that takes you to that place between wakefulness and sleeping; a deep state of relaxation. It can often feel like that process of ‘falling asleep’.
Potential Benefits of Yoga Nidra:
- Better sleep
- Reduction of stress in the body and mind
- Calms the mind
- Rejuvenates the mind and body after trauma
- Helping to calm anxiety and depression
- Clearing the mind
- Activating the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest & digest or relaxation system)
- It is a practice available to everyone as there is no physical movement required
Who is Yoga Nidra for?
The best thing about Yoga Nidra is that it is available to everyone, from young children to the elderly. All you need to do is be able to lie down or be seated if that is more comfortable. If you are a yogi, you’ll be familiar to Savasana at the end of your practice. You’ll be a in a similar position to that if it suits your body. There are lots of variations to ensure you are comfortable and can relax.
All you then have to do is follow the voice of the teacher who is guiding you. It's likely that you will remember certain parts of the meditation and not others. Every time you come to the practice you’ll encounter new experiences - none of which are wrong. Falling asleep is okay too, as you will still receive benefits while the unconscious mind is absorbing the practice.
Yoga Nidra promotes deep rest and relaxation that isn’t found in your average meditation practice. The initial stages of the Yoga Nidra practice where you are guided to scan through the body and become very aware of your breath alone can be practiced to calm the nervous system, leading to less stress and better health. Medical scientists estimate that 80% of illness and disease are caused by or worsened by stress so it’s vitally important to reduce our stress.
Is Yoga Nidra the same as Yoga?
Yoga Nidra is not a physical practice like yoga is. It’s a form of meditation that requires you to follow the sound of the teacher’s voice whilst lying down or in another comfortable position.
Are there any additional benefits to Yoga Nidra? I already feel zen after my yoga classes.
Yes - you’ll still reap the benefits of Yoga Nidra. The greatest benefit of Yoga Nidra is that it is available to anyone at any time, sometimes you may have had a busy day or you are not feeling energetic enough to perform asanas (yoga practice) or you may even be sick. The beauty of this practice is you don’t need to do anything. You simply follow the guidance of the teacher and allow this to guide you into a deep state of relaxation.
So, what’s the difference between other types of meditation and Yoga Nidra?
In Yoga Nidra you move your attention from one thing to another, you are guided systematically to scan through the body. This relaxes the entire body one part at a time. You are then guided to follow the breath and other various sensations and experiences in the body and the mind.
Other various forms of Meditation are training of the mind and focusing on one particular point, whether that be the breath, a mantra, a colour or various other techniques.
I find it easy to fall asleep at night, will I get any benefits from Yoga Nidra?
Absolutely, Yoga Nidra isn’t just for sleep! It is a great way to calm the mind and the body. Even if you find it easy to fall asleep, your physical body may still be in a ‘sympathetic’ state. This is the fight or flight response in the body. We need this response in the body to survive but many of us are living in this response 24hrs a day. The heart rate is elevated, our muscles are tense, we have constant adrenaline and cortisol running through the body that are causing inflammation of our organs and cells. Yoga Nidra will help you shift from that fight or flight response to the rest and digest (parasympathetic) stage in the body. Giving you a more restful and deeper sleep where the body can heal and repair itself throughout the night.
I’ve heard about the parasympathetic nervous system before. What really is it?
This is the rest and digest response in the body. The part of the nervous system that slows down the heart rate, soothes the digestive system and slows down the release of stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol through the body. It is only when the body is in this ‘rest and digest’ response that the body can properly heal and rejuvenate itself.
I can’t lie or sit still, is Yoga Nidra for me?
Absolutely!!!!!! Eventually your body will relax completely and as this happens, you will naturally start to come into stillness. There is no need to stay completely still. So, if you are feeling the urge to move, move! The idea is not to stay as still as possible but to allow your body to relax. There is no right and wrong with Yoga Nidra. Move when you need to move. Be still when you need to be still. Listen to your body.
I’m worried I’ll disturb people if I move about.
When you are in a relaxed state, you won’t be as in tune with the outside world. You won’t notice others moving around you nearly as much as when you are alert. This practice is all about you!