Consciously sleep your stress away

Posted on March 5, 2024

With Yoga Nidra


In today’s sleep-deprived society, yoga nidra, an ancient practice and the deepest of all meditations, might just be the answer. It takes you to the brink of sleep, and while you remain conscious, you’ll experience an extremely profound level of relaxation. It is said that an hour of yoga nidra is the equivalent of four hours of regular sleep. Sounds good to us!

The science
Lying down and being guided through breathing instructions and a verbal meditation journey to relax every part of your body, yoga nidra relaxes the mind, taking it from the fast beta waves into the alpha state, and then further into the slower theta wave state.

In the waking, beta state the sympathetic nervous system reacts to stimuli and adrenaline, and can force the creative right brain and parasympathetic nervous system to grow more dormant.

Shift your focus to the third eye and you can enter the alpha state where the brain calms and the nervous system relaxes. The slower alpha and theta states allow you to access your subconscious, cross over from the left to the right brains and connect to your conscious pranic intelligence, balancing both sides of the brain and the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

The benefits
Modern science suggests hormones located in the pineal gland are activated, including melatonin, which is beneficial for helping to slow aging, minimise stress, boost sleep quality, improve the immune system and promote self-healing.

Above and beyond additional physical benefits of reduced migraine, stomach pain and ulcers, diabetes and other stress related disorders, practicing yoga nidra can help calm the mind and promote clarity, reduce anxiety and rebalance emotionally. It also helps to open the mind, encouraging insight and inner lucidity and preparing you for heightened physical, mental, emotional and spiritual awareness.

Yoga nidra is called a ‘master key for self-transformation’ allowing you to connect to your true nature, free from conditioning and bias, and access self-healing and true personal potential.

“Most people sleep without resolving their tensions. This is termed nidra. Nidra means sleep, no matter what or how but yoga nidra means sleep after throwing off the burdens. It is of a blissful, higher quality altogether.” – Swami Satyananda, who is credited with inventing a technique of yoga nidra.

To explore yoga nidra for yourself, check out this link.

Thanks to YogaJournal for the beautiful image – originally used for this article on yoga nidra.

Don’t miss Michelle Ricaille’s Yoga Nidra workshop on 18th November 11.45am – 1pm at Island South, which combines pranayama (breathing) with yoga nidra.

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