What is Yoga Nidra and Where did it Originate?
An ancient technique originated in India, Yoga Nidra is a powerful technique that can control your body’s relaxation response. It’s a state where your body is completely relaxed. It is sometimes also referred to as psychic sleep, the “going to sleep” sensation that is typically achieved through guided meditation. Yoga Nidra is said to be as old as yoga itself. Simply put, Yoga Nidra is a deep sleep under the spell of spiritual meditation.
What Happens in Yoga Nidra?
It’s a process that enters your consciousness into NREM delta wave sleep, it is associated with the release of increased endogenous dopamine in the ventral striatum of the brain. Being in this state reduces the flow of blood in parts of the brain associated with controlling actions, such as the prefrontal cortex, the cerebellum, and the subcortex, which reduces the desire for action.
It starts with specific breathing techniques that trigger your relaxation responses, which then balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and this process also balances the left and right brains. Your brain is then shifted from the awakened state with lots of brain activities, the beta state, to the alpha state, which is a more relaxed state. In this alpha state, the mood-regulating hormone serotonin is released, and that helps to calm you down.
It is shown in research that people spending more time in the alpha brainwave are less prone to anxiety and stress than people who don’t. In simple terms, when your brain shifts into an alpha state it starts the process of “powering down,” otherwise put, it’s your brain going into a state of rest with slower, restorative brainwave activity.
What are the Benefits of Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra helps in improving the variability of your heart rate, and also measures a balance in your autonomic nervous system. The regular practice of Yoga Nidra is proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and tension. It also makes the autonomic responses of high anxiety, like headaches, giddiness, chest pain, palpitations, sweating, and abdominal pain well responsive. Research has also shown that it can boost self-esteem and alleviate stress. It takes on to the deepest possible state of relaxation while still fully maintaining consciousness.
It is often used to help soldiers coming from war to cope with their posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It must be kept in mind that Yoga Nidra is not a substitute for sleeping, many people practicing the technique of Yoga Nidra often fail to understand that because it’s often seen that just around 45 minutes of Yoga Nidra feels like 3 hours of sleep. There is some debate over this matter but it is likely caused because of the changes of brainwaves caused during Yoga Nidra.
It improves depression and many psychological problems, lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, improves blood flow, symptoms related to diabetes, improves sleep and so much more. It helps you live a full, calm, and healthy life.
When is the Best Time to do it?
Yoga Nidra can be done at any time of the day, at nights, during the evenings before heading to bed even. It is a technique that allows you to connect to your deep consciousness, it can be done at whatever time suits you best except it is not recommended to do it right after eating since your body is full and tends to be more inclined to sleep. Doing it at night helps you be a part of your conscious mind as you slowly turn yourself inactive and makes you more relaxed by unwinding your mind, providing a great prelude to your sleep.
“Remember, we are a portion of this great intelligence. God never sleeps, so the real self never sleeps; only the mind and the body become inactive,” says Dharma Mittra, a regular practitioner and teacher of Yoga Nidra.
Can you do Yoga Nidra in Bed?
It is not recommended to do Yoga Nidra in bed even though there’s nothing really wrong with it but as all Yoga Nidra positions involve laying down, and practicing a technique that helps to relax your body and mind is almost certain to make you fall asleep if you are to do it on a soft and comfy surface like your bed. It needs to be kept in mind that the purpose of Yoga Nidra is to rest laying at the edge of sleep but not to get a deep night’s sleep.
It is better to do it on a yoga mat where it’s a harder and more rigid surface. One of the most popular recommended positions in Yoga Nidra is the Savasana, also known as the corpse pose.
What is the Difference Between Yoga Nidra and Meditation?
Meditation is a state of consciousness in which the person is required to concentrate on a single focus, whilst Yoga Nidra relaxes your body and mind and makes you more systematically aware of your inner self and your inner world by following a set of verbal instructions.
What are the Conditions for Successful Yoga Nidra?
While practicing Yoga Nidra it is better to have a calm, cool, and peaceful environment, sometimes putting calming music in the background also helps a lot.
It may be something new in life but it’s nothing to be uneasy about, just make sure that you are well supported while laying down on your mat.
Can Yoga Nidra Cure Insomnia?
The lack of sleep comes with a whole lot of other psychological issues like stress and even depression, so everyone needs to get a night of proper sleep, Yoga Nidra offers that in the best way by slowing down your brain wavelengths and inducing a sleep-like state and if done at night it helps a lot to provide a great slumber.
Yoga Nidra is an amazing and powerful technique and it helps the practitioner in multiple ways to live a better, healthy, and full life. It helps with many psychological issues and soothes one whole being and it should definitely be given a go if you’re suffering from stress or depression or anything of that sort!!