Curious: What is Yoga Nidra?

I feel, for many reasons, now is a perfect time to formally introduce you to Yoga Nidra. In the Yoga Sutra, a famous yoga text written by Patanjali firstly offers this thread of wisdom: 1. Atha Yoganusasanam . This translates very simply as “ now yoga instruction”. The word “now” is important, as it reminds us of the value of the now, the wisdom of the present moment. Now, is the beginning of something. In this case, it is the beginning of the Yoga Sutras, the beginning of the teaching. But, it is also: now is the right time, the student is ready, here and waiting to receive the teachings.


So, now, I believe is the right time to practice Yoga Nidra more than ever. Now is the right time to receive this teaching. I also believe a lot of you feel and know this to be true too. Lately, a lot more people have inquired about the yoga nidra, many clients have asked for yoga nidra in our private sessions instead of their usual asana (movement and postures) practice and I have received more bookings for my nurture and nourish session.


So what is Yoga Nidra?


Yoga Nidra, to offer another simple translation is “ Yoga sleep”. It is a systematic guided meditation to bring you to a complete relaxed state physically and mentally. It is often claimed that 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to 2-4 hours of sleep.[1] It is a technique of Pratyahara (sense withdrawal). But more than just a yoga technique or a meditation method, it is a way to heal, it is a way connect to our consciousness, it is a way to expand into a feeling of truth within ourselves, a feeling of coming home. As Uma Dinsmore-Tuli describes: “an inner ritual of healing and homecoming”.[2]


During Yoga Nidra, our nervous system can balance. We could all do with some of that! We shift from beta brain waves (awake and active state) to alpha (relaxed state). From alpha, we go into the deeper state of theta brain waves (dream state), here our thoughts slow down, this is where emotional processing, integration and release can happen. Next, we enter delta, where our thoughts slow down even more. This is the absolute restorative state as our body removes stress hormones from our system and regenerates.[3] Yoga Nidra guides you to a deeper layer beyond delta, a place of deep surrender, your brain is believed to become thoughtless, here your consciousness can enter a state of bliss, Samadhi. Not everyone is able to dive this deep into the relaxation, and some only get a glimpse. As with everything, practice will increase your chances to access this magical place beyond mind and body. But, hey, don’t worry, even if you do not get to this end destinations there is much to be gained.


Remember, in yoga our journey and path is of great value and on this journey to Samadhi the benefits are bountiful! As you can tell by the description of the brain wave stages, we are guided to relax on a profoundly deep level. Why is this helpful? Why should everyone do this? Because, we live in a world of stress, lack of safety, over vigilance, burn out, anxiety, over stimulation, that many of us cannot relax or having forgotten how to relax. If we can consider our culture towards work “work hard, play hard”, what about rest hard? Our culture over values the ability to produce, do more, be more, contribute more, consume more and under values true health, rest, relaxation and simply being comfortable with just being. The obvious and current elephant in the room, the pandemic, will have an impact on our nervous system as we are bombarded with messages that increase feelings of fear, leading many of us to believe our world is not a safe place, in many different ways.


I think this is why so many people are interested in Yoga Nidra at the moment. We feel a deep longing to feel safe, to feel supported, connected, rested, refreshed, present and nourished. I myself, have been practicing Yoga Nidra most days, either as a mid-day reset or to un-wind in the evening before bed.


You are welcome to join me for a Yoga Nidra practice. For more information or to practice with me, you can:

· Join our monthly online Nurture and Nourish session

· Book a free consultation to work privately with me

· Purchase a downloadable Yoga Nidra recording by me, to keep.


I hope you have found this useful, inspiring and curious. Thank you for your attention and reading this far, I truly appreciate your time and energy. Any questions, feel free to drop me a email. Namaste, Sarah x



References:


[1] Bruce Chung, 5 reasons to practice Yoga Nidra, Do You Yoga, doyou.com https://www.doyou.com/5-reasons-to-practice-yoga-nidra-90029/

[2]Uma Dinsomre-Tuil, Yoni Shakti, p432, YogaWords 2014

[3] Karen Brody: How Yoga Nidra Can Help you get more sleep, Yogajournal.com, Novemeber 1 2017


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