By Ashley Dahl, MSW
People cite all sorts of reasons for why they practice Yoga Nidra. The bottom line for many of these reasons: It feels good.
Unlike some physical and health practices, Yoga Nidra actually tends to feel good while practicing. If you’re unfamiliar with this style of yoga you can read more about what it is here. Essentially though, Yoga Nidra is a state of consciousness wherein our brain waves slow down. That is, we become very relaxed. The most common way to practice is through guided meditation while in a highly supported supine (lying down) position. The experience makes me think of a young child, who is expertly tucked-in with the help of blankets and pillows and cushions, and is listening to a calming voice while they drift into an exquisite lull - barely awake, their body, mind and imagination filled with gentle, encompassing contentment.
Needless to say, people tend to feel great just after practicing Yoga Nidra. Studies show that residing in the state of Yoga Nidra for an hour is the equivalent of getting four hours of sleep. People emerge feeling rested, refreshed, restored, replenished…the list goes on. Coming out of Yoga Nidra can also feel like one has pushed a reset button with their emotions. Deep relaxation often inspires fresh perspective on those daily life shenanigans that can derail us. Deep diving into ease tends to illicit a sense of spaciousness. This, in turn, allows us to introduce more calm and compassion into our responses.
So yes, it’s no wonder people enjoy practicing Yoga Nidra. And it’s easy to see how our bodies and mind-states benefit. There’s more though. Yoga Nidra is more than something that feels good and is good for us – it’s actually really good for many of us. At a time when chronic autoimmune diseases appear to be on the rise and countless folks struggle with things like anxiety and depression, there are more reasons to practice. Bottom line - Yoga Nidra helps with these deeper layers of health as well.
Research is beginning to pile up showing that maintaining a regular Yoga Nidra practice is tremendously healing. Yoga Nidra has been found to lower stress, depression, anxiety and symptoms of PMS. It also benefits many chronic autoimmune diseases including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and Lyme’s disease. It’s also shown to support post-heart attack care. In a nutshell, Yoga Nidra helps our bodies’ innate healing capacities do their job.
Whether you’re looking to feel more rested and relaxed after a tough week or you’re navigating a chronic health challenge, you might want to give Yoga Nidra a try. Plus, just the practicing really does feel good.
Click here to find more info re: Ashley's Yoga Nidra series, which start September 19 and November 7.
Written by teachers at unfold studios and guest authors.