Yoga Nidra Conscious Relaxation- Yogic Sleep Practice
Yoga Nidra has been found to have many benefits for the body and mind. Some of these are improving restful sleep, a deep sense of rest, and skilful stress management.
20 min of Yoga Nidra practice can be the equivalent of 2h of restful sleep. Yoga Nidra can be practiced for relaxation, and sleep improvement, it is also seen as a type of meditation or hypogenic-like state that helps to work with PTSD, stress, anxiety, panic attacks, and emotional and physical pain.
The practice of Yoga Nidra can be 20 min long or 90 min long. We also use Yoga Nidra during our Sound Baths.
Yoga Nidra works with the autonomic nervous system, calming the sympathetic nervous system and regulating the parasympathetic nervous system.
The autonomic nervous system regulates all of our vital functions, like breathing, digestion, and heart rate without our conscious effort.
It includes the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.
The parasympathetic is associated with rest and digestion. Its main function is to conserve the body’s energy and to help you sleep or break down and absorb the food you eat.
Many nerves of the parasympathetic portion of the autonomic nervous system begin in the nuclei in your brainstem. From there, they travel through cranial nerves such as the vagus nerve.
The sympathetic is responsible for the "fight or flight" response that helps you quickly use your body's energy in an emergency situation—like running away from danger.
How is Yoga Nidra practiced?
Yoga Nidra can be practiced by anyone. It is beneficial, especially for those who struggle with sleep, trauma, anxiety, burn-out, and relaxation. It helps to experience greater sense of peace and re-connection with own body.
It is a state of internal awareness. You may experience feelings of being half asleep yet very aware. Mind is dozing off, yet you stay awake, and it feels very rejuvenating and restful.
During the practice, you are lying down without a physical movement and the intention not to fall asleep. The teacher guides the students through a detailed and specific script. The goal is to move into a deep state of conscious awareness sleep, which is a deeper state of relaxation with awareness of the body. After setting the intention and sankalpa – heartfelt desire, resolution, you are guided into the practise of rotating your awareness throughout different parts of your body.
In the words of Swami Satyananda:
“It is a state in which you are neither asleep nor awake. If you fall asleep, it is not Yoga Nidra. If you remain awake, then it is also not Yoga Nidra. If dreams overtake you, it is not Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra is a state in which there is awareness of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious fields of your mind all at one time. It is a perfect therapy. It removes all psychological abnormalities and sanskaras, and helps you to become your normal, natural self.”
Benefits of Yoga Nidra:
Rejuvenates the body – going into deep state of rest and relaxation, hence healing and rejuvenation of the body and mind.
During this practice the body functions become minimal, metabolism slows down, breathing becomes slower and more relaxed, heart rate regulates and the hormonal function increases, leading to releasing of the toxins from the body.
Conserves energy, removes fatigue. Promotes relaxation and rested body and mind.
Regulates autonomic nervous system response, and activates parasympathetic nervous system. Reduces stress. Improves concentration and awareness of the body and mind. Helps to become aware of hidden subconscious issues and allows to let them go.
Improves memory and cognitive functions. Helps to quiet down the mental noise.