So what is Yoga Nidra? I have offered it as a freebie when you sign up to my Newsletter and it’s sometimes mentioned as an ‘extra’ within some Yoga classes, but what exactly is it?
Yoga Nidra is literally translated as ‘Yogic Sleep’. It is a state of guided relaxation which allows you to surf the border between awake and asleep. Not to be confused with Hypnotherapy where the aim is therapeutic intervention, for Yoga Nidra we are just allowing the different states of consciousness and feeling the body as it relaxes the mind.
Yoga Nidra is received lying down – it is not a practise for you to get better at. All you need to do is get comfortable and receive.
In my classes, I will guide you through some techniques paying particular attention to our body and breath.
This enables us to really feel the body and allows interoception to improve. This, in turn will enable us to respond to our body earlier, before we get ill and burn out. Poor interoception, for example is linked to depression, anxiety and eating disorders.
“Breathing in, I calm my body, breathing out, I smile.”
In order to truly feel the body, our mind will naturally relax. This helps the brain to process information and emotions from the day, just like in deep sleep. Studies have shown that in REM sleep, which is the same brain wave state as Yoga Nidra, the activity in the Pre-frontal Cortex area of the brain is significantly reduced therefore allowing us to completely let go of those over active, negative thoughts that do not serve us.
Another technique which is utilised in Yoga Nidra is using the breath. In yoga we have several Pranayama exercises, but in Yoga Nidra this is unforced so the Parasympathetic Nervous System can activate and slow the heart rate down, lower blood pressure and furthering the point of relaxation. This slow regular breathing, and extending the exhalation can help with the release of Serotonin (feel-good hormone) and Oxytocin.
It can reduce worry and stress and boost the immune system.
Serotonin regulates mood, digestion, appetite, memory and sleep so Yoga Nidra can help manage stress as it regulates Cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
At the point of the wake/sleep border where Yoga Nidra lies, (Alpha/Theta brain wave = REM sleep), Cortisol production actually ceases and enhances creativity, memory and on a physical level, carbohydrates and cholesterol are metabolised.
These are just a few of the glorious benefits of Yoga Nidra. I wonder, if you just pencilled in the time now into that busy diary to come and join me, what would happen? Life can become overwhelming sometimes and that’s totally cool and nothing to be ashamed of. Hey, it’s what keeps us motivated right? But what if… what if, just for a short period of time you received something that gave you the gift of resting and recharging? Bringing with it a clarity and a mental focus that will only serve to enhance your mood and well-being.
Sometimes the greatest gift we can give ourselves is time. 💜