Yoga Nidra: An Inner Journey of Peace and Restoration
April 26, 2023
What is the dream that completes tranquility and recharges energy?
Well, with Yoga Nidra you fall asleep, but without sleeping. Interesting, right?
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yogic sleep or Yoga Nidra is a very powerful practice in which all the restorative benefits of sleep are perceived but at a conscious level.
In savasana position all the time, the practitioner is led on an introspective journey in which he finds the natural balance between breath and body. It is deeply restorative and it is said that an hour of yoga nidra is the same as 4 hours of sleep!
Many times we sleep interruptedly or find it hard to sleep because of thoughts and ultimately feelings of restlessness. Yoga Nidra can be the solution as it helps you reconcile tranquility and thus be able to sleep better, accessing deeper states of sleep. And you know, sleeping better equals more energy, productivity and a well-functioning immune system ;)
Anyone can get into Yoga Nidra sessions as you don't need to do firefly pose, just lie in savasana position on your yoga mat and be present in complete stillness.
Yoga Nidra is an excellent ally to reduce tension and stress response. Asking him to turn his attention inside, the practitioner ends up freeing the body of anxiety thanks to a state of deep breathing. This state slows down the nervous system, which starts to release the hormones responsible for relaxing the body. A recent study suggests that yogic sleep reduces cognitive and psychological symptoms of anxiety.
What is the difference between meditation and yoga nidra?
Although it is true that they share some stages of the process, there are key differences between what Yoga Nidra and meditation are. In the first you are stretched out and the goal is to enter a deep state of conscious sleep. It is fluctuating between the unconscious and the conscious. In meditation you are seated and fully lucid while with conscious concentration you allow thoughts to come and go.
Another difference is that Yoga Nidra is much more structured.
In Yoga Nidra you work with the autonomic nervous system (sympathetic and parasympathetic system), which are those processes that the body does without conscious effort such as breathing, digestion, blood circulation and pressure, heart movements, etc. And while meditation also helps its proper functioning, with yogic sleep you can reach a deeper relaxation that activates the pineal gland and releases the hormone melatonin.
Melotinin is a very powerful antioxidant that stimulates immune functions, blood pressure, cortisol levels and better quality of sleep.
Is the Yoga Nidra session always guided?In general, Yoga Nidra is usually a guided practice since to induce a state of relaxation it is necessary to listen to a series of instructions. It can last between 15 and 60 minutes.
It can be composed of different parts:
Initial physical relaxation. A small warm-up to eliminate tensions in the body.
Sankalpa. The repetition at the beginning and end of a positive affirmation that the practitioner believes.
Consciousness rotation. It focuses quite successively on individual parts of the body, naming each part mentally.
Opposite feelings. Opposite sensations (hot/cold, heavy/light) are evoked to help relive past experiences but without identifying with them.
Chidakasha. It is a conscious mental space where the practitioner projects all the visualizations that will take place during the session.
If you haven't tried Yoga Nidra yet, we encourage you to! It may be just what your body and mind need.
The benefits of entering this state of deep conscious relaxation are many. It not only repairs and brings peace, it also improves concentration, self-esteem and stimulates creativity and intuition.