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What is Yoga Nidra?

The Ancient Art of Deep Relaxation

Yoga Nidra, also known as Yogic Sleep, can be defined as a state of deep relaxation, whereby “we leave the waking state of consciousness, go into the deep sleep state, but paradoxically remain fully awake” Jane Mackarness (Classical Yoga UK).

Have you ever experienced the rare moment of waking up without an alarm? 

 Your body is totally relaxed, your mind is very quiet and you are content.  With the regular practice of Yoga Nidra, you can induce this peaceful state.

 

Yoga Nidra is not new, in fact, if you are familiar with yoga practices, then you would have definitely experienced Yoga Nidra.  It is usually the relaxation period at the end of a yoga class, where you relax back into Savasana (corpse pose) and drift into that silent space for a few minutes ...... sheer bliss! 

However, you don't need any experience of yoga or meditation, to practice Yoga Nidra - it can be practiced by anyone.

 

With Yoga Nidra practice, you are guided through a series of breathing, body awareness and visualisations techniques, to induce a deeply relaxed state.  Sessions usually last around 45-60 minutes, which allows the body and mind to fully experience the benefits. 

The Benefits of Yoga Nidra

During the state of Yoga Nidra, the body returns to a state of Homeostasis or balance, that in turn, allows healing in both the mind and body.  This is not a vague, esoteric happening, but a law of nature. 

 

As Yoga Nidra induces such a deep level of relaxation, this has a positive effect upon the physical body:

 

  • the heart rate and breathing slow, which in turn reduces blood pressure

  • the blood vessels relax and dilate, increasing blood flow around the body

  • the muscular and skeletal systems fully relax

  • the metabolism slows, allowing rejuvenation of the cells

  • elimination of waste products and toxins in the body becomes more efficient

  • the absorption of nutrients becomes more efficient

  • the endocrine system which regulates our hormones, balances and recuperates

  • chronic pain and fatigue are reduced

  • muscle tension is reduced helping to relieve aches and pains

  • sleep is improved

  • all the benefits above induce the healing process within the body

 

Yoga Nidra also has tremendous benefits upon the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the mind:

 

  • mental focus and attention is enhanced

  • absorption and retention of information becomes more efficient

  • creativity is stimulated

  • helps release fear and anxiety

  • can help heal fears, phobias and trauma

  • helps us become more peaceful and calm

  • allows us to function more in the here and now

  • helps us to deal better with life’s challenges

  • can help alleviate feelings of isolation, separation and loneliness

  • opens us up to explore the deeper aspects of ourselves and who we are

  • allows us to express self-acceptance towards ourselves and others

  • can lead us to a more purposeful, fulfilling and healthy lifestyle​

  • Yoga Nidra has also been proven to help those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and has been used successfully within the US military. (iRest Institute)

The Negative Affects of Stress

 

When we are stressed, the body releases a number of hormones such as adrenaline to stimulate the heart, lungs, brain and nervous system, preparing the body to ‘fight or flee’.  Prolonged stress and stimuli has a detrimental effect on both our physical and mental well-being.

 

How many of us actually take time out to physically and mentally relax?  And I don't mean slumped in front of the TV, glass of wine in one hand, flicking through social media with the other :)

 

The pace of life is becoming ever faster.  We are continually bombarded with information - socially, politically, commercially - and that's just on social media!  With all this information, decisions, choices - we become overwhelmed, as we don't give ourselves time to process anything.  We constantly drive ourselves to keep achieving more, believing it will makes us happier and content, whereas in reality, it leaves us constantly tired and unable to function properly. 

“Every stress leaves an indelible scar and the organism pays for its survival after a stressful situation by becoming a little older” Hans Selye (1907-1982)

 

  We are constantly searching outwards for answers, especially those elusive ones on making us happy.  So we see a specialist, a therapist, read another self-help book, do a detox or another fad diet, whereas all we need is to take time out to relax, tune into ourselves and listen to the all-knowing small voice within, to find the answers.  Yes it's that simple, but paradoxically, it's a challenge too! 

 

Having suffered from anxiety and depression, I have truly found Yoga Nidra to be my solace.  It gives me the space to unplug, reflect within and listen to what I need - and it is such a simple practice, anyone can do it.  This is why I want to introduce it to as many people as possible, as I truly believe it can help so many of us cope with the madness of modern day living! 

Therefore, I invite you, in fact, I give you permission to take time out to properly relax, unplug and just be! 

Just go to the Online Yoga Nidra page, where you will find audio files and videos to use.

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