Yoga Nidra for Sleep

Shilpi

#anxiety

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Take Charge of Your Sleep Cycle with this Meditation Practice

Not sleeping very well? If you’re having trouble with your sleep cycle, you’re not alone. Over 35 percent of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep a night, less than the minimum needed for good health. 

There are many causes of sleep disorders which vary based on all kinds of factors — including age, health, and even geographical location. And let’s face it, modern day life is full of stressors that give us lots of reasons to lie awake at night. However, sleep deprivation can negatively affect your health in ways that may actually reduce your life expectancy. It can be a serious health issue if left unaddressed.

Thankfully, there’s a yogic medicine that can help alleviate sleeplessness and restore your nightly cycle. First introduced by Swami Satyananda Saraswati in 1976, Yoga Nidra can help you relax your mind and body, which in turn allows you to sleep better overall.

Yoga Nidra for Sleep

Yoga Nidra, otherwise known as the “yoga of sleep,” is a meditation practice that utilizes that transitional state between sleeping and waking to induce deep relaxation. This state opens up your conscious awareness and connection with yourself.

To enable the most relaxation possible, Yoga Nidra is practiced as a guided meditation. Anyone can practice Yoga Nidra regardless of your ability or experience level. Beginners are welcome in the practice, as well as people who have never meditated or performed yoga before. Yoga Nidra is one of the easiest and most approachable meditations you can try and it’s incredibly good for you.

You can use Yoga Nidra to simply wind down and get ready for bed in the evening, as a tool to decrease stress and anxiety, or to heal trauma. There is no risk in trying it, and you may be surprised at how well Yoga Nidra can restore nervous system functioning and get you sleeping the recommended 7 to 9 hours every night.

Yoga Nidra For Sleep

Benefits of Yoga Nidra

Other than getting your sleep cycle back on track, Yoga Nidra has numerous other benefits that impact your health and day-to-day life. Even though this Sanskrit name translates to “yoga for sleep,” it can impact your well-being in a variety of ways. 

Studies show that meditation reduces symptoms of anxiety and stress, and Yoga Nidra is uniquely effective in decreasing anxiety and increasing your quality of life. If you suffer from trauma, depression, anxiety, or high blood pressure, this meditation can help you find tranquility and boost your sense of well-being.

Yoga Nidra also stimulates your pineal gland and helps balance your hormones, giving your body the tools it needs to heal itself. Practicing Yoga Nidra regulates your nervous system, which in turn helps calm your body and mind, so that you can sleep soundly and restful

Some of the benefits of Yoga Nidra include:

  • Improves sleep

  • Eases symptoms of trauma and PTSD

  • Reduces stress and anxiety

  • Increases relaxation

  • Reduces depression and addiction

  • Calms the mind

  • Increases breathing capacity

Yoga Nidra Meditation

So, how does Yoga Nidra work? It’s often performed as a guided meditation so you can allow yourself to relax as deeply as possible. You can find Yoga Nidra scripts and audio recordings online, or you can try enrolling in a Yoga Nidra class at MyYogaTeacher. It is a meditation that can be practiced at home where you feel most comfortable. 

Yoga Nidra focuses on helping you achieve a delicate state that is neither awake or asleep. This focus is what makes it different from other types of meditation, because you’re trying to reach a state of relaxation that is much deeper than most. In technical terms, Yoga Nidra involves tapping into the delta state of consciousness, whereas most other meditations focus on the theta state — which is a more alert, focused state.

Yoga Nidra For Deep Sleep

How to Practice Yoga Nidra

While it’s intended to help you reach a delta state of consciousness, Yoga Nidra can actually make you fall completely asleep, so you can choose to practice this meditation from your very own bed — however, to get the full benefits of this meditation, it’s recommended that you try and maintain that state between waking and sleeping — without falling asleep. The best place to practice Yoga Nidra is on a yoga mat with an eye pillow and a blanket.

Typically, a Yoga Nidra script is read by a certified instructor or you can listen to this meditation by downloading it online. If you don’t have an audible script available, you can guide yourself through the process of Yoga Nidra. It’s easy for anyone to try and there is no wrong way to practice.

You can begin each session with an intention for yourself, or a goal of what you’d like to get out of your practice. Make sure you’re in a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed, lying down on your back on your yoga mat or anywhere else you feel comfortable. Use your eye pillow to block out the light and help your face relax, and a blanket to remain comfortable, since your body may cool down. 

Gently close your eyes and allow yourself to breath easily and steadily. Let your entire body relax into the mat. Turn your awareness to your head and your neck, and allow the muscles in your face, neck, and shoulders to completely relax. Continue to move your attention down the length of your body — to your torso, arms, hips, back, legs, and feet — helping each body part fully relax with your awareness.  

Once your entire body is deeply relaxed, allow yourself to remain in this state for as long as you feel comfortable. If you’re new to practicing Yoga Nidra, you may want to start with a short session — anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. As you get more experience, you can lengthen your sessions as you see fit.

Yoga For Sleep

Online Yoga for Sleep

Yoga Nidra often works best if you practice some light yoga asanas before your meditation. In fact, you can try a complete yoga routine to help you sleep by enrolling in an online class to ease stress and anxiety. Performing easy yoga postures before your Yoga Nidra meditation will help your body relax more fully and allow you to get the maximum benefits from your practice. 

If you’ve never tried yoga postures or Yoga Nidra before, you can start by signing up for a free, two-week trial of MyYogaTeacher. With access to yoga classes online, you can set up a new routine of nightly yoga to help you fall asleep. There are live, group classes available, or you can schedule a private session with a certified instructor who can tailor a session to your Yoga Nidra meditation. 

You can get back to sleeping peacefully every night with a regular practice of Yoga Nidra. This meditation works best over time, and with a regular routine you can reduce sleeplessness and get the recommended hours of rest every night — which will improve your day-to-day life immeasurably. 

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