Yoga Nidra is a gateway to unearthing your greatest potential. It is a powerful tool which will clear your mind and enable you to live a fulfilled life.
Yogic practices have existed for thousands of years to help people realize the power that lies within them. A lot of us find it hard to meditate and sit in a particular position for hours, but Yoga Nidra is a unique solution – allowing you to enter profound and stable meditative states from the first time you practice. Yoga Nidra completely takes the struggle out of Meditation. It is Meditation made easy. Yoga Nidra is meditation done lying down.
Yoga Nidra is a multi-step process comprised of body, breath and awareness techniques designed to help you achieve the deepest level of relaxation and restoration effortlessly and seamlessly, while maintaining gentle, non-mental awareness. It helps you delve into the different realms of your consciousness whilst you are in between a state of waking and sleeping. As you enter that state and naturally meditate, you come out of the practice with a calm and relaxed mind.
As Yoga Nidra continues to gain popularity all over the world, let’s look at some of the myths of this mighty practice and set some facts straight:
Myth 1: Yoga Nidra Replaces Sleep
Even though 45 minutes of Yoga Nidra is said to be as restorative as three hours of sleep, it isn’t a long-term substitute for sleep. Quality sleep is extremely necessary for mental and physical well-being, cellular restoration and repair, skin care and living a wholesome life.
Yoga Nidra is a catalyst for a great night’s sleep. It helps cure insomnia and disturbed sleep patterns. Practicing Yoga Nidra on a daily basis will help you sleep throughout the night without any difficulties. It will help you to reflect on your day and gently disengage from distracting events of your life, facilitating easy entry into deep sleep.
Yoga Nidra is not meant to replace sleep on a regular basis. However, Yoga Nidra can be used in situations like jet lag, working the night shift or before being awake all night. Yoga Nidra can help prevent the loss of cognitive function and the slowing of reflexes associated with sleep deprivation. [i]
Myth 2: Yoga Nidra is about postures and poses
The term “Yoga Nidra” has the word Yoga in it but it doesn’t involve complex physical movements or postures we usually associate with taking a Yoga Class. Yoga reunifies the body/mind with the soul. Yoga Nidra is a meditative way to experience this state of oneness. There might be some movements like a few simple preparatory stretches, but that is the extent of it. Yoga Nidra will soon have you lying down in your position of comfort and give you a blissful experience.
You can have everything you need to keep yourself as comfortable and as cozy as you wish. I have students who bring their entire Yoga Nidra kit to class – padded mat, blanket, their favorite pillow, and even fuzzy socks!
For those with chronic pain or other conditions that don’t allow lying on the back, you can practice in any position that is most comfortable and where you are least likely to move. If possible, it is ideal to keep the spine aligned, whether seated, lying on the side or on the back.
Myth 3: Yoga Nidra is not backed by science
The foundational principles of Yoga Nidra have existed for thousands for years and find their roots in ancient eastern philosophies and traditions. However, that does not mean that the practices of Yoga Nidra are not backed by science. Health professionals all over the world have documented research as early as from the 1970s. They have noted various mental and physical benefits of Yoga Nidra:
- Yoga Nidra helps with Inflammation and Diabetes Type II.
- I AM Yoga Nidra can help you relieve physical and mental stresses with an easeful approach
- Yoga Nidra helps with anxiety, depression, PTSD and Addiction
- Yoga Nidra will help you restore your sleep cycle and improve sleep quality
Myth 4: Yoga Nidra is always relaxing
A feeling of calm and bliss emanating from within can be a wonderful byproduct of practicing Yoga Nidra. However, the mind can also be active in Yoga Nidra. It is not necessary to get rid of our thoughts during Yoga Nidra. Rather it allows us to relate to those thoughts from a peaceful state of consciousness. It becomes easier to allow the thoughts to pass rather than getting caught in them.
Yoga Nidra is also a clearing and healing modality. Yoga Nidra can surface memories and feelings that need to be processed and absorbed. Life is not always pleasant and Yoga Nidra enables us to face what needs to be faced in a non-mental way. Rather than trying to process unresolved events with the mind, Yoga Nidra allows such experiences to be processed by the body at the energetic, subconscious level.
My students who suffer from traumatic experiences tell me this is one of the reasons they love Yoga Nidra so much. They find they don’t need to go back into the story of what happened to heal it.
Myth 5: Yoga Nidra is a fast fix
To fully benefit from Yoga Nidra, it’s important to practice it consistently. What is shown is that consistency is more important than length of time. It is an investment in yourself. Most studies show medical benefits when practicing daily or at least 5 times a week. It is important to make it a part of your everyday life and dedicate that time to yourself. A full Yoga Nidra takes anywhere from 20-45 minutes. You can find guided I AM Yoga Nidra experiences on YouTube or on a convenient app such as this one: I AM Yoga Nidra for Apple and Android. Or if you want to know more, take an online course.
- Yoga Nidra has the power to transform your life
- Yoga Nidra should be a consistent practice and a part of your everyday routine
- Yoga Nidra will help you process unresolved feelings
- Yoga Nidra will improve your sleep quality
Kamini Desai PhD is the Author of Yoga Nidra: The Art of Transformational Sleep.
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[i] Meditation acutely improves psychomotor vigilance, and may decrease sleep need Prashant Kaul12, Jason Passafiume1, R Craig Sargent1 and Bruce F O’Hara1*
Originally published online at www.kaminidesai.com on April 26, 2021