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Yogic sleep or Yoga Nidra is a powerful meditation practice, enabling practitioners to access the deeply restorative aspects of sleep while remaining conscious. Conducted in savasana, students are guided through an introspective meditation, leading the practitioner to find natural equilibrium between breath and body. It is a deeply restorative, healing process; just 1 hour of yoga nidra is supposedly equivalent to 4 hours of deep sleep!
Given that the vast majority of us experience broken sleep regularly, yoga nidra may well be the answer. Here are just some of the many benefits of this unique practice.
Open to Everyone
You do not need to have an advanced yoga practice or experienced meditator to experience the benefits of this deep meditation. While rigorous asana and difficult postures may not be for everyone, yoga nidra is accessible to all. All you need is a mat to lie down on and a teacher to guide you through the meditative practice. In yoga nidra, everyone is equal. Whether you are a seasoned yoga pro or struggle to touch your toes, anyone can benefit from yogic sleep.
Understandably, the last year has resulted in many of us feeling increased stress levels. While yoga nidra cannot change our circumstances, it is highly effective in reducing tension and stress response. Yoga nidra releases the body of anxiety. The deep-breathing restful state slows the nervous system, which in turn releases hormones that relax and calm the body. Unlike typical vinyasa classes, the complete physical stillness of yoga nidra induces a sleep-like state, allowing practitioners to fully unwind and find complete harmony between body and mind.
Poor sleep has been linked to increased rates of depression, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, yet, according to research up to 45 million Europeans have a chronic sleep disorder. Given that just 60 minutes of yoga nidra has the same physical and mental benefits of 4 hours of deep sleep, this dream-like practise can restore and heal the body. What’s more, people who regularly participate in yoga nidra are better able to access the deeper, restful states of sleep. Better sleep equals more energy, improved productivity, boosted immune system and much more!
The modern world thrives off “busyness”. Social and professional demands, family commitments, financial concerns, a never-ending inbox and social media notifications keep us switched on 24/7. The results of this can include burnout, poor performance and distraction.
Yoga Nidra offers a welcome pause from this perpetual “busyness”, encouraging students to turn inwards and experience utter calm. The practice requires nothing from you, not even a downward dog! It is a time to simply be in complete stillness, allowing practitioners to be truly present.
If you haven’t tried yoga nidra before, give it a go! It may just be the calming, restorative practice your body and mind needs. Browse Yoga Alliance Professionals directory to find a qualified yoga nidra teacher here!
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‣ how to create an impactful Sankalpa intention statement to nourish your heart's desire
‣ stop limiting beliefs and practice love more
‣ the antidote to negativity to permanently shift and transform your life
Written by Melissa Albarran - Yoga Alliance Professionals
Photography: Sole Weller