What is Yoga Nidra Full Body Relaxation Meditation?
Yoga Nidra is the simplest of all yoga asanas. In Yoga circles, we often call it the “yogic nap” or the “yogic sleep”. Nidra = sleep.
How to do do the Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is the easiest posture in Yoga using the savasana (corpse pose). You begin by lying down on a stable surface like the floor, a bed, or a carpet. You begin with slow deep breaths, focusing on the inhale and exhale, as your body begins to relax. Allow your hands and feet to fall in their resting place, feet wide and palms facing upward. Next tense and relax your body one muscle group at a time.
Use your breath in pose to focus on each body part at time-your feet, ankles, and knees. With each breath, exhale stress and allow yourself to move towards a state of pure relaxation.
Yoga Nidra does not need any mind-clearing along with the physical activity of relaxing your body. You simply allow the body to find balance and ease. Relaxing one body part at a time and effortlessly you move towards a state of deep sleep. Yoga Nidra sleep meditation is an ideal sundowner even for those who do not practice yoga.
To begin, lie down at ease in your favorite space. Next, you take a “Sankalp” or make an affirmation. You can intend, (I am healthy, I am loved, I am healing) and begin the savasana pose. I always say a guide or yoga guru is extremely helpful to lead you into meditation.
This pose can be done by anyone at any age as it is the closest state to physical sleep. You just need a comfortable and stable place to lie down. Elderly people can do it in bed. It can even be done by those who are infirm and require care.
A 10-minute Yoga Nidra session daily is for me the best and most relaxing part of a busy day.
Benefits of Yoga for sleep Meditation:
- Lying down flat helps the spine
- Gentle breath work increases oxygen in the lungs
- Emotions such as anxiety, deprivation, depression & frustration can be resolved
- Reduces HI blood pressure
- It helps reduce disorders like Insomnia due to PTSD, BP, Depression as well as hyper states
- The flow of oxygen in the lungs increases for infirm, elderly
- The body moves into Deep Sleep State, accelerating healing processes
- Mindful and consistent practice can alter chronic negative thought patterns
- simple & effective for specially-abled practitioners
Are There Side Effects to this meditation:
- People with schizophrenia or debilitating mental disorders should abstain from Yoga Nidra
- Pregnant women should practice yoga Nidra under the supervision of a guide/guru and after clearance from their medical supervisors
- AVOID yoga Nidra during the day, it is a practice to bring the mind and body into a restful state after sundown. It can be practised by those who want a nap but are unable to manage it due to medical or other reasons.
- Doing yoga Nidra too often can lead to mild headaches
What is Yoga Nidra with Gratitude?
As you practice Sleep Meditation (Yoga Nidra) you open your palms upward, with feet slightly apart in the Savasana Posture. It will release all negativity into the universe and help you invite peace in your being.
This state of being in acceptance is gratitude.
The sooner you start acknowledge and appreciate your life and the gifts of food, medicine, family, and friends, you enter a state of gratitude.
Combined with yoga for sleep the practice of gratitude is a powerful motivator to release chronic conditions like depression, grief, neurotic obsessions, negative overthinking, and self-sabotage.
Try using simple affirmations like:
“I am Well,” “I am healthy,” and “I am Happy”
for a higher level of Sleep meditation or Yoga Nidra.
Express gratitude by meditating on:
“I thank you for my life,” “I thank the universe for my doctor/health care/medicines and support,” “I thank the universe for my family and friends.”
Yoga Guru Denzil Oconnell made a huge difference in my life by teaching Guided Sleep Meditation or Yoga Nidra where he taught me how to be grateful for each muscle group in my body. Moreover, I was able to release toxic thoughts and negativity both from my mind and body.
What is the difference between Savasana and Yoga Nidra?
It is easy to confuse the Savasana with Yoga Nidra or Sleep Meditation practice. Savasana (Sav = dead body, Asana=Posture) is the last pose of any yoga session.
The corpse pose or Savasana is the easiest to do. Just lie down flat on your back on a comfortable, clean surface like a floor, a carpet or even on a towel in your garden if the weather permits. The feet should be a foot apart. Keep your arms down, shoulders resting comfortably flat, palms open and pointing. Take a deep breath, exhale, and allow the body to move towards a state of peace.
However, Yoga Nidra by itself is a complete meditative session. In this yoga for sleep meditation, the practitioner makes a Sankalp, a vow or affirmation, towards a particular state of being.
For example, you can take a Sankalp to become more focused in order to resolve daily challenges. It has been a turbulent stressful day. You take a Sankalp towards putting down your worries and sleeping peacefully. You could even take a Sankalp towards resolving the deeper issues of anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, and lethargy.
After the vow, you can lie down in savasana and begin to meditate. This level of resting meditation allows us to release negative emotions and go deeper into healing mode.
According to my Yoga Guru, the savasana is a step in a yoga Nidra meditation session.
How to do Yoga Nidra or Sleep Meditation
The 7 Stages Meditation for Sleep
I. Sankalp or Resolve:
Make an affirmation or a resolve. What do you seek as the outcome from the practice?
Lie down in Savasana (corpse pose) and breathe. Use each breath to relax each body part, starting from the feet, ankles, calves, and thighs.
Begin with your breath work to focus on your thoughts. Use each breath to calm the turbulence. With each breath, you inhale peace and calm and ease into the moment. With each exhale you release sadness, grief, negative thoughts, and anxiety.
III. Use Gratitude Affirmations at this stage:
I thank the universe for my life, I thank the universe for my second chances, and I thank the universe for my health and family. Gratitude helps you ease the mind into a state of well-being, making your inner self receptive to the positive thoughts that will de-clutter the anxiety and other negative emotions.
IV. Meditate to remain calm:
As you begin to move into a state of calmness, use your breath to meditate. Your intuition will take you deeper inward to your pain points. You will notice you have begun to feel calmer. This state of well-being will deepen as you meditate.
Connect with your chakras as you meditate. At this moment deal with any resistance from the mind. Allow your breathwork to move you towards a Nidra stage (sleep stage).
Lastly, allow your mind and body to align in order to attain a state of mindful sleep.
What are 7 Chakras and how to balance unblock chakras
The Science behind Yoga Nidra
The Various stages of Yoga Nidra are linked directly to the mental and subconscious layers of your brain that process stimulation.
The parasympathetic nervous system flips on, which allows your nervous system to relax and the hormonal function to increase. This helps directly to begin rejuvenation and healing processes in your body.
Each of the layers of this yoga for sleep meditation has a body-mind-soul connection with you.
The First step is the body layer which is addressed as you scan your body.
Secondly, to connect with your energy with your body – practice awareness of breath.
The inner focus on the thoughts and emotions will help you to sift through the negative and positive.
The transition to inner calm from the meditation state will increase the emotional and cellular healing within.
The last stage is the silence of the mind as thought and emotions begin to settle, and the soul begins to connect to the rejuvenation that has begun.
Different Types of Yoga for Sleep Meditation
Yoga Nidra by itself is a complete practice. There are a few types of techniques that we can use to make it more fulfilling.
- Meditative Yoga Nidra: Uses meditation as a part of yoga Nidra to achieve a calmer state of mind.
- Visualization in Yoga Nidra: The use of visualization can help you release negative emotions. Imagine a clear sky, cool breeze, a field of flowers to feel closer to nature. Activate your healing process by visualizing your best shape and health. Do you know athletes often use this technique to achieve prime health and healing.
- Auto Suggestion during Yoga Nidra: Try and use phrases like “I am healthy” “my heart is healed,” and “my body is light”. These are auto-suggestions that seep into the mind as you inhale and exhale.
Denzil Script (No content here as per instruction)
Why Should I Practice Yoga for Sleep?
Yoga Nidra is one of the fastest-growing daily practices. Also widely acknowledged by the medical world for its healing properties. It is highly recommended for patients who suffer from sleep disorders and are in stages of recovery from long term conditions.
Yoga Nidra is ageless and timeless!
It brings much needed mental and emotional relief in today’s modern world scenario. You will be happy to know basics of Yoga Nidra can be taught to kids as young as ten years old. Most importantly, it also bring down the overstimulated mind due to exposure to social media and television.
The elderly can practice Yoga Nidra to alleviate the stress and strain of the day. It is practiced in the twilight hours.
Best Solution for Women
This form of Full Body Relaxation Meditation calms the emotional rollercoaster of hormonal flux. Moreover, Yoga Nidra reduces menstruation pain and induces deep rest and peaceful sleep during days of discomfort. It stabilizes the endocrine system, and mood swings, controls the release of flab-forming cortisol, and helps women tackle the turbulence of hormonal shifts.
The completion of the Yoga Nidra circuit helps to increase memory power. Mainly, it increases your capacity to recall data as soon as the overstimulation decreases.
Suitable for Urban and Rural Settings
Yoga Nidra practitioners have begun to share their experiences and the positive outcomes of this simple, zero-burden practice. The Yoga Nidra Network is expanding every week across urban and suburban clusters.
No Side Effects
Yoga Nidra literally has no side affects. In modern day and age you will come across lifestyle diseases caused by too much of technology and dependence on drugs. Sleep meditation helps overcome, emotional challenges like insomnia, attention disorders, hyperactivity and overthinking.
No Equipment Required
Yoga Nidra is a practice where you require no equipment. Moreover, no matter where you are you can do it easily.
It is no wonder that even doctors across the world endorse yogic practices like mediation to help build broken sleep patterns. Yoga Nidra is one such practice
Always Begin with a Mentor
The Best way to begin this journey from sleeplessness to good wholesome sleep is to reach out to a mentor/guru. A Mentor who can take you through the initial challenge towards calm and mindfulness. Yoga Nidra has multiple benefits for those who can begin the practice even for a limited time on a schedule under guidance.
The programmes offered on Yoga Nidra on wellnessworks.com will be able to ease your initiation as a beginner, as well as add more depth and resonance to your daily Nidra sessions if you are a regular yogi.
WATCH : Yoga Nidra Yoga for Sleep Meditation VIDEO