Are you struggling to sleep? You've tried the herbal sleep teas, switched off from social media and stayed away from the late night sugary snacks, and you still can't get a good nights rest?
Maybe it's time you try something different; Yoga Nidra.
Yoga might not have been the first thing you considered before going to bed. Thoughts of lyca-wearing humans doing handstands and downward dogs wasn't your idea of rest, but did you know theres various styles of yoga that can support your journey to a deeper sleep.
Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury.
As a culture, we're always connected, often stressed, and our nervous systems are constantly in a fight-or-flight, sympathetic state. Yoga Nidra, often referred to as "yogic sleep," is a powerful relaxation technique and an effective and efficient way to access the "rest and digest" parasympathetic state, which is where healing happens.
How do I practice Yoga Nidra?
Quite simply, find a quiet space to be still and listen to the voice of the yoga nidra practitioner, online or in person. The systematic meditation will allow you to enter a state between wakefulness and slumber, where the body can rest profoundly while the mind stays alert and receptive.
If you are lying down and prone to lower back pain, take a bolster or pillows under your knees. If seated is more comfortable, that is totally okay too.
Wear layers and use a blanket as often when your body is still your temperature will drop and you want to maintain that relaxed state as long as possible.
You can tune into Yoga Nidra for free with Aimee. Listen here
Rest is a productive activity.
Yoga Nidra is a sleep meditation - but you want to don't want to fall asleep ;)
Imagine that moment just before you drift off to sleep, when you're fully aware of your body, relaxed in bed, and your worries have faded away. Your thoughts may take on a slightly dream-like quality, yet you're still conscious of your surroundings, almost like a hypnotic state. Even if you hear a noise outside, it doesn't bother you; you're on the verge of entering dreamland. This state of mind is precisely what you should aim for during Yoga Nidra.
While it's natural for beginners to occasionally fall asleep during Yoga Nidra, it's advised to stay in the hypnotic state of mind as long as possible. This is because when you're asleep, you are completely unconscious of your surroundings and when entering the theta stage of brain waves, you can enhance the restorative benefits of the practice.
What are the benefits of Yoga Nidra?
According to Dr Swami Satyananda (1998), "a single hour of yoga nidra is as restful as four hours of conventional sleep" plus many other benefits:
Minimises tension: muscular, emotional and mental tension.
Trains the mind with the power of your sankalpa / intention
Clears the unconscious mind
Enhances memory and learning capacity
Now, its all great sharing the benefits of Yoga Nidra, yet ultimately, its best you try for yourself and see what you receive from the practice.
And remember, it is a practice, so schedule in 30 minutes consistently, starting with once or twice a week and build from there. Really perfecting the art of deep rest every session.
Would like to try Yoga Nidra, for free, with Aimee? Listen here.