What is Yoga Nidra and how can it help me? By Rina Modi teacher training Manager at the Shala
Over the last few years I have heard more and more yogi’s talk about Yoga Nidra, with an increasing number of teachers offering this practice as well as the demand for teacher trainings in this area. I first encountered Yoga Nidra a few years ago at a yoga retreat and I was mesmerised at how well rested I felt after a 30 minute session, not only that, I also felt like I had gained some clarity and creativity from the session. How could 30 minutes of lying on my mat not in downward dog do this? I was intrigued to find out more about this practice and the theory behind the “magic” that is Nidra…..
Yoga Nidra is a state of consciousness where you “surf” the borderline between being awake and asleep. You get into this state by practicing some of the many techniques in the “Yoga Nidra” toolbox and the only skill you need to have to get into this state is to be able to lie down on your mat, listen to the teachers voice and be open to receiving this wonderful practice. Easy right? Borderlines have always been considered to be a special place, i.e. it is said that the most powerful time for practising Asana or Meditation is said to be dawn or dusk, or the borderline between day and night. We normally pass through the borderline between waking and sleeping without really noticing, but in a Yoga Nidra we can learn to stay here and surf the interface.
But why do we do this? Sure it’s nice in our busy lives to have a rest on your mat, especially for somebody like me who never wants to get up after Savasana! The magic of Nidra goes way beyond rest and relaxation, for example being comfortable in our borderline state opens up space for creativity beyond the usual known certainties. It is a place behind rationality, that can open us up to ideas and concepts that are bigger than our limits and take us more easily into “blue sky thinking”, hugely contributing to our creative capabilities.
Nidra also helps with sleeping better. We know that not sleeping well is a modern epidemic, with risks related to anxiety, depression and an increased risk of getting some types of cancers, heart attacks, hypertension, stroke and even developing diabetes.
Yoga Nidra can help by getting us off to sleep in the first place by learning to consciously relax the body. We sleep in 90 min cycles, sinking down to deep sleep and back up - so we will naturally wake up in the night. Often the problem is anxiety about getting back to sleep. Nidra helps with having more awareness during sleep, reframing disturbed sleep as being more aware of shallow sleep. This can help us drift off again if we “wake up” in the middle of the night.
There are so many other benefits of Yoga Nidra, it can help relieve stress, gain clarity and focus, foster self-compassion, deeply relax and wake us up to awareness. Yoga Nidra also helps to sooth the nervous system by reducing our stress hormone cortisol and re-energise our life energy by focusing inwards and reducing our outwards energy that can often be scattered and dissipated.
Whatever you feel you need right now, Yoga Nidra is an inclusive practice that can really help people to rest, rejuvenate, focus, create and more.
Try Yoga Nidra in our weekly Sunday night class or find out more about our next Yoga Nidra Teacher training click here.
To read more about the magic that is Yoga Nidra, and how it specifically relates to how it affects our brainwaves and how this helps us- please click here….