Did you know that approximately 25% of the global population struggles with some form of mood disorder? Or that 70% of Americans don't get enough sleep?
Yoga Nidra Benefits Introduction
These are just two of the many health problems society faces every day. But what if we were to tell you that there is a practical solution to these problems and many more?
Yoga Nidra, also known as yogic sleep, is a meditative technique that dates back to the 7th and 6th centuries, predating the common era and Buddhism. The unique meditation process is profoundly healing for the body, mind, and soul.
As we fall asleep, brain waves begin moving from thoughtful beta waves, pass through the stages of alpha waves, then theta waves, and finally enter the slowest frequency of sleep - delta waves. Yoga Nidra puts practitioners into a state of relaxation between alpha and theta waves. This allows us to enter a deep state of relaxation between waking and sleeping.
Here, this brain calms the autonomic nervous system that regulates the body's processes that take place without a conscious effort. In addition, it puts the parasympathetic nervous system into a deeper resting state. Through calming the nervous system, the guided meditation is deeply healing for the brain and body.
Continue reading to learn the seven amazing benefits of Yoga Nidra that may help you.
Improved thought patterns and reduced stress
During Yoga Nidra, you will enter a calming state for the mind and body through a guided meditation. The practice creates physical and mental activities that change brain waves to release emotional tension, slow down the nervous system, and allow muscles to relax. This naturally relieves stress in the body and mind. Alleviating stress can also relieve headaches and muscle tension.
Thought patterns are neural connections that have strengthened over time. The strength of these connections makes changing the patterns very challenging - it is comparable to retraining a muscle. By entering an altered state of consciousness, sleep meditation benefits practitioners by helping them access thinking patterns from a completely different perspective. Rather than being thoroughly ingrained in your thoughts, you are able to observe them from a distance. This new point of view gives you the opportunity to retrain your thought patterns.
Enhanced cognitive performance and memory
Yoga Nidra practice improves your cognitive function by creating space in the brain. It does this by reducing stress. When the brain is overwhelmed with emotions, the mind has little room to perform activities of daily living well. By reducing stress and anxiety, the brain has the freedom to execute duties at its top capability.
Those who practice Yoga Nidra on a regular basis have also found an improvement in their memory. It helps prevent cognitive decline related to ageing and improves attention. Through frequent practice, you can improve your cognitive performance, allowing you to carry out everyday tasks more efficiently.
Improved self-esteem and confidence
Regularly practicing Yoga Nidra can thoroughly improve your self-esteem and confidence. A recent study from two universities in Turkey supports this claim. The study looked at the effects of Yoga Nidra on burn patients' self-esteem and body image and found a significant improvement in these areas of the experimental group.
An essential step in the guided meditation includes setting intentions for yourself. These intentions are called Sankalpa - this is your heart's desire and the goals you set for yourself. When you define your intentions, it is highly gratifying to achieve personal growth and progress. Reaching your goals helps improve your self-esteem and confidence.
Better sleep and improved physical health
Yoga Nidra is highly effective for improving your sleep quality and schedule. It strengthens your sleep routine, helps you fall asleep faster, makes staying asleep more effortless, and enables you to achieve a whole night’s rest. In addition, it helps treat sleeping disorders such as insomnia.
Through frequent practice and learning how to relax the body and mind, you can calm the brain and body to enhance your sleep cycle. Accessing a deep sleeping state is crucial in improving your physical health and wellbeing. Please read our articles on Yoga Nidra for Sleep to learn more.
Improved waking mindfulness
Mindfulness is our quality and state of being aware of each moment during our lives. It is a rejection of past and future thinking by living fully in the present moment. Mindful thinking emphasizes acceptance of events happening in the moment rather than judging thoughts or rejecting what is happening around you.
During yogic sleep, your mind will quiet, and you will enter a natural resting state. Here, you will recognize when thoughts pop into your head and learn to let them go. The development of more profound awareness will help you integrate mindfulness into your daily life.
Diminishes symptoms of anxiety and depression
People with anxiety disorder suffer from high alertness, an overactive brain, consistent negative thoughts, and other stresses. The reaction patterns our mind creates are the source of suffering and can make regular daily activities difficult. Practicing Yoga Nidra can diminish symptoms of anxiety by releasing negative thoughts, teaching the mind calmness, and cultivating a state of deep physical and emotional relaxation.
In addition, the ancient practice releases pent-up emotions and stress to detoxify the brain. Yoic sleep effectively mitigates stress to help you access thinking patterns in a brand-new state and even alter them to become more accepting of life’s variabilities. This helps reduce symptoms and risks of depression and other mental illnesses.
Treats chronic pain
The U.S. Army Surgeon General endorsed Yoga Nidra as an intervention in treating chronic pain. Yogic sleep puts the practitioner into a state of deep relaxation so they can rest. This calm state slows the nervous system giving the body time to heal. Here, the body can rest, recover, and restore. Yoga Nidra has the power to reduce inflammation and improve immune system functions to treat chronic pain effectively.
Other benefits of guided Yoga Nidra include:
Lowers blood pressure.
Strengthened immune system.
Lowers cholesterol levels.
Recharges vital energy.
Balances the nervous system.
Strengthens the endocrine system.
Reduces the need for pain medication.
For best results, practice Yoga Nidra several days a week. Frequent practice will help you access the benefits of Yoga Nidra through the restorative healing process.
Yoga Nidra can help you feel well-rested, relaxed, and energized. It has the ability to alter your mood, feelings, and more. The guided meditation is deeply restorative when practiced with care and intention. So whether you struggle with a mood disorder, experience chronic pain, or are just looking to improve your overall health and wellbeing, Yoga Nidra can help.
When it comes to the benefits of Yoga Nidra, the sky's the limit! So what are you waiting for? Begin your journey to a better life by reading our guide to Yoga Nidra for Beginners. Or, reach out to a wellness advisor here at Anahana to get you connected with a Yoga Nidra teacher.
References And Resources
American Sleep Apnea Association. (n.d.). The State of SleepHealth in America. SleepHealth. https://www.sleephealth.org/sleep-health/the-state-of-sleephealth-in-america/#:~:text=In%20America%2C%2070%25%20of%20adults,report%20insufficient%20sleep%20every%20night.&text=It%20is%20estimated%20that%20sleep,all%20ages%20and%20socioeconomic%20classes.
Brody, K. (2017, November 1). Yoga Nidra for Sleep: The Benefits of Guided Yoga Nidra Meditation. Yoga Journal. https://www.yogajournal.com/meditation/your-brain-on-yoga-nidra/.
Brogan, J. (2013, December 17). Ancient form of Yoga used to cure Yuletide stress - The Boston Globe. BostonGlobe.com. https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2013/12/17/yoga-nidra-gaining-credibility-stress-reducing-technique/QTUhiX40B33l5HvHBzt3qO/story.html.
Ferreira-Vorkapic, C., Borba-Pinheiro, C. J., Marchioro, M., & Santana, D. (2018, December). The Impact of Yoga Nidra and Seated Meditation on the Mental Health of College Professors. International journal of yoga. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6134749/.
Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. (2020, September 14). What Is Yoga Nidra? Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-yoga-nidra/.
Saritas, S., & Ozdemir, A. (2019, February 4). Effect of yoga nidra on the self-esteem and body image of burn patients. Complementary therapies in clinical practice. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31003692/.
Yoga Nidra for Anxiety: Yoga Nidra for Depression: Anxiety Eliminator. Art of Living (India). (n.d.). https://www.artofliving.org/in-en/yoga/health-and-wellness/yoga-nidra-anxiety-eliminator.