In today’s modern world stress, burn out and anxiety are as common as physical illnesses. What if I told you that taking 30 minutes for yourself, every day, is going to improve your overall wellbeing drastically.
I must admit during my yoga teacher training the yoga nidra class was just an excuse to relax without having to feel guilty. I couldn’t help but fall asleep every single time and didn’t give this practice much more attention. Until recently, when I had to face my fear of sleepless nights and nightmares again, which I had since I was a little girl. Due to the lack of sleep at night I was always extremely tired and unfunctional during the day. So, I decided to do some research and give it another try. Since then I have been practicing yoga nidra for 30 minutes every day. It has helped me a lot with staying focused in stressful situations, overcoming unnecessary fear and extreme tiredness during the day. In this blog post, I share my new-won knowledge about yoga nidra with you.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga nidra also called „Yogic Sleep“, is a practice which brings your mind and body into a deep relaxation state without losing consciousness. In many ways, it is similar to meditation. It is said that 30 minutes of yoga nidra has the same restorative effect as 3 hours of sleep. Even scientists have proven that during yoga nidra our brain waves switch from Beta state to theta state.
- Beta state is the kind of brain waves we are using during normal everyday activities, such as logical thinking, reading or socialization. Beta waves can be influenced by drugs like caffeine or nicotine which can lead to stress or anxiety.
- Our brain uses the theta state during daydreaming or even semi-hypnotic state. During this state, the mind and body are deeply relaxed. This particular brainwave-state is what we are aiming for while practicing yoga nidra.
How to practice yoga nidra!
To practice yoga nidra you need someone to guide you through the practice. Don’t worry, if you can’t find a Yoga Instructor who teaches Yoga nidra. You can simply practice by yourself at home.
I have been using this Youtube Video to guide me through my practice.
- Find a setting where you can be by yourself for the entire practice.
- (Switch off your phone)
- Wear comfortable, warm clothes and make sure you are not wearing jewelry, which is too tight around your body.
- If practiced outside place a scarf on your face to prevent from being distracted by flies or other insects.
- Yoga bolsters and blankets can be used if desired.
- Choose an intention for the practice (for example: I will remain calm during stressful situations)
- Lie down in savasana (Corpse Pose) arms away from the body.
- Adjust your position so you can be comfortable, without having to move, during the entire practice.
- Close your eyes.
- Repeat your intention 3 times.
- Bring your awareness towards all body parts in this order:
each finger, palm of the hand, back of the hand, hand, forearm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder joint, shoulder, neck, each section of the face (forehead, eyes, nose, and so on), ear, scalp, throat, chest, side of the rib cage, shoulder blade, waist, stomach, lower abdomen, genitals, buttocks, whole spine, thigh, top and back of knee, shin, calf, ankle, top of foot, heel, sole, toes.
- Be aware of your whole body and the space surrounding you.
- Repeat your intention 3 times.
- Mentally prepare to return to consciousness.
- Start moving your fingers, your arms and head.
- Eventually slowly open your eyes.
There is no time limit for yoga nidra. I practice 20-30 minutes every day. Starting the practice, you might find it hard to stay awake. If you have plans after make sure to set an alarm.
The benefits of yoga nidra
And now finally all the amazing benefits of yoga nidra if practiced regularly:
- Decreases stress
- Decreases anxiety
- Increases energy levels
- Better focus and awareness in everyday life
- Transforms negative habits and negative ways of thinking
- Gives deep rest in few minutes
- Improves memory
- Sleep improves drastically
- Physical illnesses such as digestive disorders or a migraine can be relieved
- Helps with creativity
- Helps to learn and absorb new material during studying
- Improves sense and body awareness