I discovered Yoga Nidra a couple of years ago. I registered to a workshop with a teacher I love & respect and as a token of appreciation for having participated she sent us 4 pre-recorded meditations. One of them was a 20mins Yoga Nidra. I've been meditating for about 3 years and I was curious to learn something new. I hit PLAY. A few minutes later I fell asleep, LOL!!! It was soooooo relaxing and so beautiful that I started to join (almost religiously) a local Yoga Nidra & Sound bath class on Friday evenings. Before lock-down that was my end-of-the-week treat!
My favourite thing about this practice is the FREEDOM. You are comfortably lying on the floor, snuggling into a soft blanket with your eyes closed, you can hear the teacher’s voice but you don’t have to understand what she says, you can remain awake and aware or you can fall asleep, there is no pressure to “perform” or to “achieve” anything in Yoga Nidra. It’s an opportunity to totally surrender!
If you’re used to powerful, energetic yoga practices, feelings of boredom can surface when you first try Yoga Nidra. Boredom is sometimes the result of resistance. Resistance of exploring new territories or to stay with uncomfortable feelings bubbling up. All this is very normal and it happens to everyone regardless of how experienced you are with meditation.
What you probably don’t know is that even if from the outside it looks like you’re not doing anything, in reality a lot is happening in your nervous system & mind.
Let’s have a look at 6 reasons you should try Yoga Nidra:
1- IT CLEARS YOUR MIND
When you feel the body, the thoughts slow down. You can’t think and feel the body at the same time! Yoga Nidra gives you an opportunity to switch from thinking to feeling, so the body & the mind naturally relax.
2 - IT STRENGTHEN THE MIND-BODY CONNECTION
As you become more aware of the body and the breath, your ability to feel the body and what your body needs improves. With a better sense of what your needs are you can respond before you get ill or reach burnout. Poor ability to feel what your body needs has been linked to eating disorders and depression. Increasing your sense of embodiment can be part of your mental path to wellness
3 - IT HELPS REGULATING YOUR EMOTIONS
As you become more tuned with your body and what your body needs, you also become more aware of your emotions & feelings. This awareness gives you space from your emotions so you can observe them and choose how to respond. You can still experience anger or frustration but you have the choice to respond rather than to react.
4 - IT IMPROVES YOUR MEMORY
Yoga Nidra helps your often-jangled nervous system to soothe and relax. As a result of the relaxation, the brain is more able to process information and your memory can improve.
Also, during Yoga Nidra you experience similar brain waves as when you sleep. In this state, information is transferred from your Hippocampus (your temporary storage area) to the permanent memory area or discarded. "Freeing up” the Hippocampus means you create space for taking in fresh information. Hence, doing Yoga Nidra before or after a period of study, will help you to remember.
5 - IT HELPS WITH YOUR SLEEP
Insomnia is unfortunately a modern epidemic. Not sleeping well has been found to contribute to a huge number of issues such as decrease immune system, mental functioning, increase obesity to name a few.
The good news is that repairing your sleep is possible and Yoga Nidra can be part of the process. Learning to consciously relax the body can help to fall asleep and stay asleep. You can have more awareness during sleep, reframing disturbed sleep as being more aware of shallow sleep. This can help drifting off again if you “wake up” in the middle of the night.
6 - IT BOOSTS YOUR CREATIVITY
When we are in the dreaming brain wave state, your brain goes through a process of comparing new experiences and facts with old ones. It does it in a state where the prefrontal cortex, the logical part of the brain, is switched off, so you can make connections and have ideas and think out of the “box” of your normal waking consciousness.
The last thing I would like to share is that, like with everything else, changes don't happen overnight! It takes time, patience and dedication to strip the benefits out of Yoga Nidra. So, if you feel "itchy" or bored the first time, keep trying a few more times before you judge if it's for you or not!
Voila’, here you have it! Thanks for reading until here.
If you want to give Yoga Nidra a try, I’m looking forward to seeing you on Fridays at 7:05pm (GMT). Let it be your treat at the end of the working week :)
Until next time,
Be WILD, be YOU!