Yoga Nidra - What is it?
To put it simply it can be defined as a Yogic sleep or to sleep with awareness.
It is a form of yoga based meditation that is taking the world by storm, and once you experience it you will know why!
As someone who struggles personally to meditate due to excess Adrenalin and anxiety I have seen the magic that Nidra can create within myself and my mind. While being guided by a yoga teacher, following that soothing voice i have managed to drift away on many occasions, to a place that is not quite sleep but not quite wakefulness - a place of peacefulness where my mind is free to wonder where it likes as i let the thoughts pass through me without reaction.
At Square One Yoga we know how important it is to ease into any meditative practice, to come from a hectic day and busy mind and then to be expected to snap into a state of relaxation is hard even for the most experienced meditator. That is why we offer our Nidra as a part of a 60minute yoga class where we perform a gentle yoga flow that i like to call mindful movement. 30 minutes of the class is used to flow with breath between yoga poses slowly and steadily, a gentle yet dynamic flow is created and performed easing the brain and body into a state of calm, ridding ourselves of excess Adrenalin before we lay down to rest for our Nidra.
To speak in more scientific terms, the way we use the breath and sense into our bodies in Yoga Nidra creates a shift in your brain waves from Beta - the awakened state where lots of activity is taking place - to Alpha, a more relaxed state where the body releases serotonin to help calm the body and mind. Nidra taps into our parasympathetic nervous system and helps us to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
Once we tap into our Alpha brain waves we can go even deeper from here! You may sink into a state of deep alpha and high theta state where emotional integration and release can happen. Structures in the brain can begin to change and it’s here that some people sometimes have random thoughts or see images during there Nidra practice. A person in theta may see colors or visions or hear the voice of a person talking yet at the same time not hear this voice. It’s where you being to enter the gap of nothingness. This state has been reported commonly among those who have a Yoga Nidra practice.
After Theta we can tap into Delta, this is the most restorative state where our organs regenerate and the stress hormone cortisol is released/removed from your system.
There is a fourth state that can be reached, even deeper then the Delta state and although rarely reached it is most certainly possible. In this state your brain becomes thoughtless, completely silenced, a feeling of deep surrender where nothing is going on, however you are still awake.
We of course are guided back into the room at the end of practice from whatever restful state we have reached and we can expect to experience some if not many of the benefits of Nidra such as:
- Better Sleep
- A state of relaxation
- Improved functioning of the nervous and endocrine system
- A quieter mind
- Better focus
- Better memory
- Better functionality during everyday life
- Better control of emotions and emotional responses.
So come give our Mindful Movement and Meditation practice a try on a Monday night at 6pm and set your week up right!