If you’ve been practicing yoga for awhile chances are you’ve heard of yoga nidra. Yoga nidra is “yogic sleep” or as my husband calls it “advanced napping”. Sounds pretty good, right? You get to lie in Savasana (corpse pose) the whole time while you’re systematically instructed through a deep relaxation exercise. The practice guides you through the koshas, or layers of our being. The sequence of cues relaxes the body and awakens the unconscious and subconscious mind.
You don’t need to know what the koshas are to get all of the benefits of yoga nidra. Benefits of the practice are numerous and range from better sleep to stress reduction and beyond. In this post I will list out just a few of yoga nidra’s benefits. Also, if you’re interested in a free guided yoga nidra in the comfort of your own home join my newsletter and you’ll receive a link to the practice. Don’t worry if you fall completely asleep during the practice, it just means that your body needs to rest.
1.) Delta & Theta Waves
Yoga nidra guides the student into the deepest state of sleep where the brain produces theta (4-7 hertz) and delta waves (1-3 hertz), but the student remains conscious throughout. According to Theta Healing, “Theta State is a state of very deep relaxation; it is used in hypnosis and during REM Sleep. The brain waves are slowed down at a frequency of 4-7 cycles per second…Theta waves are always creative, characterized by feelings of inspiration and very spiritual. It is believed that this mental state allows you to act below the level of the conscious mind.”
Delta waves on the other hand, are the slowest waves at 1-4 cycles per second and are experienced during deep dreamless sleep.
2.) Heals Trauma
Yoga nidra can be used to heal from trauma. According to an article in the Boston Globe, “In 2006, the Department of Defense conducted research at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on the efficacy of yoga nidra on soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder. This led to the incorporation of yoga nidra into weekly treatment programs for soldiers in several VA facilities across the country.”
3.) Reduces Stress
Yoga nidra reduces stress. In the United States there has been a dramatic increase in hospitalizations due to stress in both men and women. Yoga nidra is proven to help reduce stress and anxiety.
4.) Reduces Chronic Pain
Yoga nidra reduces chronic pain. According to the same Boston Globe article before “the US Army Surgeon General endorsed yoga nidra as an intervention in treating chronic pain”. The practice of yogic sleep gives the body time to rest, recover and restore, which thereby brings down inflammation and improves the function of the immune system.
5.) Reduces PMS Symptoms
According to a recent study, “… patients with menstrual irregularities having psychological problems improved significantly in the areas of their wellbeing, anxiety and depression by learning and applying a program based on Yogic intervention (Yoga Nidra).”
6.) Improves Sleep and Reduces Insomnia
Yoga nidra improves sleep and reduces insomnia. Insomnia and sleep deprivation contribute to mental disorders, stress management (or lack there of), and immune suppression. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults and young adults get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Yoga nidra trains the mind and body to relax and move more easily into the deeper states of sleep. Forty-five minutes of yoga nidra is equal to up to 3 hours of sleep!
7.) Reduces Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Deep relaxation practices like nidra may also reduce symptoms of type 2 diabetes. According to a recent Huffington Post article, “A recent study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found yoga nidra may reduce the symptoms of diabetes and help control blood glucose levels.”
8.) Plant The Seeds of Future Growth
Don’t forget, you can listen to a free guided yoga nidra by joining the Ambuja Yoga Newsletter. Hope to see you on your mat soon!
Love and Light,