Don’t give up on Yoga –Yoga Nidra might be for you.
So, flowing and holding poses in a heated room isn’t your thing. Fair enough. But don’t give up on yoga just yet. Studios will reopen, but in the meantime, online classes are an excellent way to keep in touch.
Did you know that there’s a style of yoga that involves relaxing on a mat, blanket or even your bed?
The best part about this style of yoga is that a 45-minute session could leave you feeling like you’ve indulged in a peaceful three-hour nap. If you’re ready for an easy, pose-free way to slow down and recover from the stressors in your life, read on to discover how yoga Nidra could be the answer.
How does yoga Nidra differ from meditation?
Yoga Nidra involves slowing down and chilling out, similar to meditation; however, they are two different practices.
With yoga Nidra, you are lying down rather than sitting, with the goal being to move into a deep state of conscious awareness sleep, a deeper state of relaxation than meditation. This state involves moving from consciousness while awake to dreaming and then to not dreaming while remaining awake. It’s a very structured practice.
Benefits of yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra works with the autonomic nervous system that regulates the body’s processes that take place without thought. For instance, your heartbeat, breathing, digestion and blood flow.
In this more profound relaxation, the pineal gland is activated, releasing the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is a potent antioxidant that can help manage immune functions, blood pressure, cortisol levels and prepare you for restful sleep.
Yoga Nidra seems to be very effective in reducing anxiety at cognitive and physiological levels.
Basic Steps to Yoga Nidra
Connect to your heart’s deepest desire. Visualize reaching a lifelong goal and feel the joy of accomplishing it.
Set an intention. Think about why this is important to you, get centred, and put some self-care on the schedule.
Find your inner resource, a safe place so that you can feel secure and at ease while you practice.
Scan your body mentally. The goal is to help reduce tension so that you can relax.
Become aware of your breath and pay attention to how the air flows in and out of your body. This will help you slow down and breathe evenly.
Welcome your feelings recognize the tough stuff, yet think about the opposite emotion you’re feeling to balance things out.
Witness your thoughts at the moment without judgment. Again if negative thoughts surface, think about the positive side of things to ease tension.
Experience joy; let it wrap around your body.
Observe your ‘self.’ Be aware of your personality and how you might be feeling. Then, consider yourself as only an observer. This will help you become more aware and in tune with your feelings.
Reflect on your practice. When you finish, think about how you feel and what you could tap into. Think about how you can bring those good feelings into daily life.
Don't Give Up
And like with most things, don’t give up if you struggle with your first session. Quieting your mind and not doing anything is more complex than you think. Give new things a few tries. You’ll get the hang of it in time – especially when your mind and body need time to rest and recover.
For more on Nidra yoga and other yoga styles, click here.
Written By: Jane Laker
Photo Credit: Veronika Kovecses
If you have been trying out new yoga styles, let us know in the comments!