Yoga Nidra ~ "Yogic Sleep"
Yoga nidra is a practice of deep relaxation in which you are systematically guided to relax your body and mind. Aspects of the practice include sense withdrawal, relaxation of the body, breath awareness, the awareness of sensations, guided imagery, and visualization. Many benefits are associated with the practice and its associated levels of relaxation.
Yoga nidra roughly translates to “yogic sleep”. Although you are not actually sleeping during the practice, you are in a deeply meditative state between the worlds of waking and sleeping. In this dreamlike state you gain conscious access to the unconscious mind, giving you the ability to plant the seeds of intention deep into your subconscious. In Sanskrit, intention setting is known as “Sankalpa” meaning to initiate or conceive. Therefore yoga nidra can be a powerful tool for transforming and re-creating your life.
Yoga nidra is a deeply healing and restorative practice. Some schools of thought suggest that a session of yoga nidra is equivalent to four hours of sleep. With the body and mind so deeply relaxed, the parasympathetic division of the nervous system takes over. This aspect is responsible for regulating the unconscious aspects of the nervous system which include digestion, restoration and healing, and the immune and endocrine systems. Yoga nidra is therefore very beneficial for bringing balance to high stress lifestyles where the sympathetic nervous system, often known as “fight or flight” and survival mode, are most often at the helm.
Some of the other reported benefits of yoga nidra include relief from insomnia, chronic anxiety, and PTSD. Yoga nidra is generally practiced lying down which can make it more appealing to those intimidated by the more physical forms of yoga, or even for anyone who may have physical limitations; regardless, yoga nidra could be an extremely valuable practice to incorporate into your life, wherever you’re at.
Written by Jessica Mackie