Yoga Nidra – The Art of Becoming Aware of Everything


What exactly is Yoga Nidra?

Yoga Nidra is a condition of deep, relaxed rest between sleep and wakefulness, much like the “gathering-in-waiting” stage of meditation. It has many of the same benefits as those of Zen meditation, including reduced stress, better flexibility, improved attention span, and an overall sense of wellbeing. Those who practice yoga Nidra have said that it is much different than standard meditation because there is no specific mantra used to awaken one’s mind. The practice consists of a deep breathing exercise and controlled muscle relaxation. It can also be accompanied by light physical exercise such as Pilates. Many people who practice yoga Nidra have expressed concern that it may not be effective for some people who are experiencing chronic pain.

Is yoga nidra a relaxing remedy for you?

One way to determine if yoga nidra is right for you is to see if it can relieve pain. Pain that persists throughout the day, or that gets worse, is probably not due to the temporary effects of deep relaxation. Instead, your body is responding to the prolonged awareness of pain experienced during the deep relaxation exercise. Because the primary goal of this type of meditation is to experience the ultimate state of stillness, it can lead to increased feelings of pain relief.

What studies reveal on its significance?

One study performed on a group of sleep apnea patients found that a significant improvement in sleep was noted after they took part in a five-day yoga nidra retreat. Other research found that participants who participated in daily mediation practices were more alert and had higher levels of concentration and IQ than those who did not meditate. Anecdotal evidence supports the idea that daily meditation can lead to a heightened sense of relaxation and tranquility. It has been noted among yoga practitioners that a meditative practice can help participants sleep better at night.

When to practice yoga nidra?

Yoga Nidra is sometimes referred to as “flow yoga nidra” or “awareness yoga nidra.” It can be practiced anytime of the day but is particularly effective right before bedtime. The technique encourages participants to remain consciously aware of their breathing. As the breathing becomes more aware, it becomes easier to stay in contact with the breath. This leads to a period of sustained awareness, which many report as being extremely calming. It is this elevated state of awareness that promotes sleep.

Some practitioners are uncertain about the claim that yoga nidra can induce sleep because it does seem to require conscious thought to fall asleep. However, there is no doubt that this state of deep relaxation can make sleep easier to achieve. Another advantage of performing this form of meditation is that it can facilitate the transition from sleep to wakefulness. It has been noted among people who regularly perform the idea that it can help them fall asleep faster and more easily. The increased alertness, increased focus, and improved concentration and memory also make sleep easier to attain.

Most benefitting aspect of yoga nidra

A major benefit of doing yoga nidra on a regular basis is that it helps practitioners learn how to quiet their minds. Because of the heightened levels of attention that are required to perform this type of meditation, it can be very difficult to stay focused and on track. When practitioners find themselves thinking non-stop, their concentration may also suffer. However, when they are able to slow their minds and focus on only one thing at a time, they find it much easier to concentrate. This, of course, is very helpful for anyone who hopes to become a good yoga teacher.

While many schools teach yoga nidra in a traditional classroom setting, a far more effective method is to follow one’s intuition. Most experienced yoga teachers, however, will suggest that beginning students do a bit of yoga nidra at home first. Doing so allows the student to become familiar with the process and with the feeling of being completely in tune with oneself. Most good teachers will also encourage the use of a mantra to help transition students from simply trying to achieve inner peace, to achieving an enriched experience of consciousness. For example, you might use the words “om” and “awe” during a session to connect yourself with the sound of the universe and to create a rich inner state.

The takeaway

In general, doing yoga nidra requires the development of a certain level of emotional stability. It requires the ability to be able to use your imagination and your intuition at will in order to sustain a rich inner awareness. However, for people who are new to this type of practice, the experience can be highly beneficial. By learning how to meditate using different parts of your body – including the voice – along with a strong sense of spiritual belief, you can learn how to cultivate a powerful sense of spiritual awareness.


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