The Mind/Body Benefits of Yoga Nidra
Unlike other types of yoga, flexibility isn't required for Yoga Nidra. This meditative yoga practice offers important advantages for physical and mental health and can help you take control of your life.
What Is Yoga Nidra?
Although Yoga Nidra is also known as "yogic sleep," you won't actually be asleep when you practice it. As you lie on your back in corpse pose, you'll move into a state of consciousness just between sleep and wakefulness. You'll relax your muscles one by one and focus only on your breathing to reach this state of deep consciousness.
Yoga Nidra involves progressing through a number of stages. The first phase involves choosing an intention, or sankalpa. Intentions start with "I" statements, such as "I am in control of my feelings," or "I am a strong and confident person." Once you pick an intention, you'll repeat it three times.
Sankalpas can be helpful even when you're not practicing Yoga Nidra. Repeating your intention every day embeds your sankalpa in your subconscious, which may help you make it a reality. After choosing an intention, you'll focus on your breathing and the sensations of your body.
As you enter the opposites phase, you'll embrace the physical feelings triggered by pairs of opposing sensations, such as heavy vs. light or hot vs. cold. Experiencing these conflicting sensations helps you relax and release stress and tension. After a visualization sequence, you'll repeat your intention and slowly return to your normal state.
6 Advantages of Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra offers many mind and body benefits, including:
- Improved Sleep. Do you have trouble sleeping because you can't seem to turn off your mind at bedtime? When you practice Yoga Nidra, you'll learn how to clear negative or stressful thoughts from your mind. In a case report published in Sleep Science and Practice in 2017, a 78-year-old man who struggled with insomnia for years reported better sleep quality and less stress, anxiety, and insomnia after five supervised Yoga Nidra sessions.
- Less Stress. Yoga Nidra techniques give you the tools you need to combat feelings of stress and anxiety. By practicing this form of deep meditation, you'll learn to let go of troubling thoughts and emotions and focus on the positive. College professors who took part in a study on anxiety reported lower anxiety levels after performing Yoga Nidra in a study that appeared in the International Journal of Yoga in 2018.
- Fewer Headaches. Stress tightens the muscles in your neck, head, and shoulders, which can lead to painful tension headaches. Practicing Yoga Nidra several times a week calms your mind and keeps your muscles relaxed.
- Strong Connection to Your Feelings. When you're not obsessing about everything on your to-do list or worrying about a major deadline at work, it's much easier to get in touch with your true self. Yoga Nidra helps you explore who you really are and decide which things and experiences are truly important to you. You may find that Yoga Nidra unleashes your natural creativity or helps you navigate life's challenges without triggering severe stress and anxiety.
- Better Control of Chronic Conditions. Yoga Nidra may help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol level. It might also relieve menstrual problems, ease pain, calm the nervous system, and boost your immune system. Middle-age patients with type 2 diabetes who practiced Yoga Nidra experienced a significant decrease in blood sugar levels, according to a research study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.
- Improvement of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptoms. Flashbacks and unwanted thoughts make living a normal life difficult if you have PTSD. Eleven military combat veterans who participated in an 8-week Yoga Nidra research study reported less anxiety, rage, and emotional reactivity, in addition to improved self-awareness and relaxation. The study appeared in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy in 2011.
Are you ready to try Yoga Nidra? Contact the yoga studio for information on our class schedule.
BMC: Sleep Science and Practice: Yoga Nidra: An Innovative Approach for Management of Chronic Insomnia – A Case Report, 4/12/2017
NCBI: International Journal of Yoga: The Impact of Yoga Nidra and Seated Meditation on the Mental Health of College Professors, 9 – 12/2018
Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology: Effect of Yoga-Nidra on Blood Glucose Level in Diabetic Patients, 1 -3/2009
NCBI: International Journal of Yoga Therapy: Transforming Trauma: A Qualitative Feasibility Study of Integrative Restoration (iRest) Yoga Nidra on Combat-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, 2011
Cleveland Clinic: What Is Yoga Nidra, 9/14/2020
Yoga International: What Is Yoga Nidra & Its Benefits