The Benefits of Yoga Nidra
Over six thousand years old, Yoga Nidra is an ancient healing technique that triggers the body’s falling asleep reflex to access the low brainwave states (alpha, theta and delta) typically only accessed during sleep.
We all know how crucial sleep is for health and wellbeing and this practice provides all the benefits of both sleep and meditation.
Yet that is a massive understatement of the benefits of this practice, which include:
Yoga Nidra triggers the body’s falling asleep reflex, but unlike in normal sleep where you are unconscious of your surroundings, in Yoga Nidra the intention is to remain awake and have a conscious experience of sleep.
The practice effectively represents a consciously-experienced, compressed sleep cycle. For this reason, time spent in Yoga Nidra is equivalent to 2-3x normal sleep time.
The practice also improves the quality of your normal sleep at night, by restoring and strengthening the muscle memory of a healthy sleep cycle in your body.
Activating the body’s ability to heal itself
As the practice triggers the falling asleep reflex, your body guides you effortlessly through the brainwave states you access in a healthy sleep cycle. This includes alpha, theta and delta brainwave states, the slowest brainwave states available, where the body’s ability to heal itself is activated.
It takes decades of dedicated practice to access the delta brainwave state with traditional meditation yet with Yoga Nidra, you could access this state from your first experience.
It is common for experienced meditators to report accessing deeper states of meditation than they do with their normal practice.
Increased Energy Levels
Yoga Nidra boosts performance by increasing your energy levels and your capacity.
The Yogis realised that the body performed optimally when the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system were in balance, or more simply, when action was balanced with relaxation. They believed that when you ‘do, do, do’ without taking the time to rest and recharge, performance tails off. As with a car; if you ‘drive, drive, drive’ without taking the car to be serviced or repaired, eventually the wear and tear starts to show and, over time, the car becomes less reliable.
The Yogis believed that rest was fuel for the body and they created the ultimate relaxation tool in Yoga Nidra, which works on a physical, mental, emotional and energetic level.
You rest and recharge during the practice and emerge from Yoga Nidra with greater energy and capacity to get things done.
Increased Mental Clarity
In Yoga Nidra, you reduce the amount of activity and noise in the brain, which enables you to think more clearly and more creatively. You fire and wire new neural pathways that equate to these lower brainwave states, creating the brain equivalent of muscle memory, so that over time you can access these states more easily in everyday life.
In addition, the practice can be used to get clarity on a challenge you are facing, whether it involves a relationship, work scenario or personal situation. It’s equivalent to sleeping on a problem and waking up in the morning with the solution. Simply set getting clarity on the challenge as the intention for the practice, lie back and see your challenge from a different perspective.
Greater Emotional Resilience
As with all forms of meditation, the purpose of Yoga Nidra is to distance yourself from your thoughts and emotions and to be able to observe them. As you create space between your thoughts and emotions and your actions, you are able to respond rather than react, becoming more resilient.
You are no longer reacting in the moment and, with practice, no longer triggered by events or people in the same way. You are able to choose where to focus your energy, and to be more proactive and empowered.
Speeds up the attainment of your goals
There is much literature on the power of intention and visualisation in achieving goals. Both of these tools are integrated into the practice of Yoga Nidra in a way which amplifies their impact.
Intentions and visualisations are introduced at the deepest part of the sleep cycle so that there is no resistance from your conditioned mind. It is a very powerful way to lay down new neural pathways and anchor new ways of being.
Strengthens Your Sense of Self
Yoga Nidra helps you to get clarity on who you are. You experience the aspect of yourself that exists beyond your body and beyond your thoughts.
Referred to as your Essential Self, your Inner Guru or your Master, it is the place of your highest potential.
Often this part of you is drowned out by other voices in your head, or your ego mind.
Yoga Nidra establishes and strengthens your connection with your Essential Self, reducing the influence of the ego mind. As this connection builds, you are more accepting and loving of yourself, you feel more present and experience a greater sense of purpose. You are more connected to yourself and what you need and become more intuitive and empathetic.