Yoga Nidra, a term meaning “yogic sleep,” is a deep relaxation technique and a form of meditation. As we wrap up the Sleep Season, let’s practice Yoga Nidra, a powerful sleep hack that can help you get deep rest.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra, also called “psychic sleep,” is a state between sleeping and waking. The body is completely relaxed, and you turn the awareness inward by listening to instructions, much like a guided meditation.
Yoga Nidra is good to practice if you’re struggling with Insomnia or having trouble falling asleep. This practice results in deep relaxation for the body and expands your self-awareness. Instead of fighting sleep, consider this practice for 10 minutes.
How Does Yoga Nidra Work?
In yogic sleep, you enter your alpha state, and focus shifts to the inner brain (also known as the “third eye”). This stimulates the hormones in the pineal gland, which releases melatonin — a hormone that reduces stress boosts the immune system, and helps prevent illness. In addition, having regular practice helps harmonize the brain hemispheres, promoting better mental performance.
What are the Benefits?
Yoga Nidra offers other fantastic health benefits, as well, including:
- Calms the mind
- Relaxes and rejuvenates the body
- Soothes the nervous system
- Reduces fatigue
- Lowers high cholesterol and blood pressure levels
- Strengthens immunity
- Improves quality of sleep
- Treats depression
- Reduces pain
- Boosts concentration level
- It supports brain function and boosts creativity
How to Practice Yoga Nidra
Allow yourself to glide into Yoga Nidra rather than be something you “do.” As a practice, it is a simple method consisting of breathing and mental exercises. It always starts with Savasana.
- To practice, lie on the bed on a hard surface in a quiet, undisturbed place. Use a pillow under your head for comfort. Cover your body with a blanket. Put a black cover over the eyes. Try and noises as they can be disturbing.
- Apply diaphragmatic breathing. After 21 deep breaths, feel as though you are inhaling by visualizing an incoming ocean wave. Exhale by emptying yourself and letting the wave come back to the ocean. A journey through the body should be applied with sequenced body relaxation.
- Quiet your mind of thoughts, feelings, goals, or intellectual contemplation. Be careful and determined not to fall asleep. The mind should be focused on inhalation and exhalation only.
- Make the breath equal, even on the inhale and exhale. Allow the inhale to fold into the exhale and the exhale to fold into the inhale. You reach harmony when there are no jerks or pauses between the breaths.
- Practice only for 10 minutes in the beginning and not more than once a day. Repeat the same practice the next days again.
Here are a few Yoga Nidra practice videos to get you started.
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