What is Yoga Nidra Actually? In today’s fast gripped world, we often experience stress and strain. Mental stress sometimes even afflicts us physically manifesting in forms like pains, anxiety, sleeplessness, over-activity of thoughts, etc. I’m sure we all have experienced a state of basic anxiety just before a math exam. It often has affected our sleep. Yoga Nidra is one way of managing stress and strain in our everyday life without it taking a toll on our health.
What is Yoga Nidra:
The amalgamation of yoga and meditation is yoga nidra. As the name suggests, it is a guided meditation to offer a full-body relaxation and deep rest. It helps ease the mind overriding with thoughts and brings it to a calm, composed, relaxed state. Hearing and feeling are the two aspects of yoga nidra. You might have heard of lucid dreaming. The only difference is that lucid dreaming occurs on a subconscious i.e. dream focused level whereas yoga nidra occurs on a conscious level. It is an in-between state of deep slumber and wakefulness and is often considered as a mental massage.
How is Yoga Nidra practiced?
- A person lies on the floor with a mat, with a blanket and pillow if required. Warmth is necessary to induce calmness.
- The person is guided to concentrate on hearing every sound at every level. At first he/she is asked to hear every sound even the outside ones. Later, the level of hearing is decreased to increase the focus. For eg: Sound outside the room, inside the room, around the person and finally inside the person
- Mental visualization can also be included to decrease anxiety.
- The person is made total aware of his stillness. He is asked to concentrate the contact points of his body with the ground.
- The phrase “I will stay awake” is repeated in the mind for wakefulness.
- He is asked to sense every body part turn-wise and then a greater level of sensitivity is felt for the entire body
- The awareness is intensified at every step and the body feels light and relaxed with every breath is taken
The person enters deep states of consciousness. The awareness increases at every step and the number of distraction decreases. The distractions could be thoughts, sounds, or stress. The body uses this sensation and awareness of itself to scoot into the state of being and through increasing levels of calmness. Yoga Nidra induces a feeling of oneness with the universe.
Basis of Yoga nidra:
Yogis believe that the world we see is the way we are. Thus, to change the external we should focus on the internal. Once a change is initiated in the internal, the external automatically changes. The perspective we hold matters in order to manage the stress. Thus, yoga nidra reaches till the cause rather than the symptoms. The root cause of our anxieties are the innumerable thoughts we have. These thoughts are way too much than we can handle, it is more than the threshold or the limit of our mind. This leads to the mind controlling us than us controlling it.
The basic fight or flight response of our body leads to a surge of adrenaline for 60-90 seconds. This is necessary for our survival and law of nature. However, introspect yourself. Do we have stressful thoughts for just a few seconds? We can have these negative thoughts for days, months and years. If not addressed, these can accumulate and penetrate into our unconscious leading to many mental issues and increasing anxieties. Yoga Nidra thus replenishes, revitalizes and reenergizes us by helping us manage these anxieties which are weighing us down.
- Yoga nidra helps relieve a chronic state of anxiety
- A yoga session when ended in yoga nidra can calm the body for the entire day
- It is beneficial on sleep-deprived days. It is said that 30 minutes of yoga nidra is similar to 3 hours of sleep
- It calms the nervous system and helps decrease the elevated levels of adrenaline
- Corrects negative thinking patterns and re-wires it with positivity
- It helps the body heal and re-energize
- It helps increase resiliency and patience in times of stress
- Yoga Nidra leads to stages of increasing awareness making us more intimate with oneself
- It helps people living with PTSD, depression, anxiety and substance abuse
Yoga Nidra is a complete package of self-exploration, self- awareness, and calmness. It helps us have the serenity to accept the unchangeable and hope to change the changeable. Noticeable changes in mental health can be seen.