Yoga is becoming more and more popular, especially in this lockdown time where we have suddenly more unplanned time to spend at home. If you started to check for yoga lessons, you may have found multiple different names, and if you experimented few of them, you probably found out that Yoga (Asana - body movements) can be done in multiple ways and still be Yoga. Even meditation or breathwork can be Yoga. If not before, now you found another type called Yoga Nidra.
What is Yoga Nidra and why you should give I it a try?
Yoga Nidra means yogic sleep, mentioned in the old Indian scriptures as the deep sleep, or sleep with full awareness (But also the Gods' transcendental sleep and it's as well the name of the goddess Yoganidra). It's called sleep because for this type of Yoga is not required any body movement, unlike the one everyone know very well mentioned before, Yoga Asana.
Yoga Nidra could be defined as a technique, it is a mix of very ancient with relatively modern ones, that provides multiple medically recognized benefits.. while laying down and relaxing.
Usually at this point people start to be curious..
It is required to lay down in a comfortable position (Savasana), it could be simply on a mat or carpet, it could be your bed or sofa. If you want to be adventurous, various props or blocks and pillows can be used to be in a even more relaxing position or take a light restorative Yoga pose if you prefer. The work for the body is here concluded.
At this point the teacher will ask most likely to close your eyes, unless it's uncomfortable, then she/he will guide you in the Nidra, after few information will be provided. There are different styles and schools on how to guide the Nidra, and each teacher can lead and compose her/his own text. This means that each session is going to be different than the other, unless you listen a recording. At the end of the session, you can give yourself few minutes to let the Nidra go and enjoy the restorative effect, or you can let yourself fall in a deep sleep, especially if it's needed and you have time. Online session may give you even more freedom to take your time afterwards.
What's happening during Yoga Nidra?
During Yoga Nidra you will be not fully awake and not fully sleep, that gives space for an extremely relaxing experience. Sometimes it's consider it a way to meditate. Most people find it a way to make easier managing their stress level. I personally find myself refreshed and full of creative ideas afterwards. As for most of the things, also for Yoga Nidra practicing increase the effect for the body and the mind.
Studies on Nidra can be found since the '60, it has scientifically proven benefits, from relaxing body and mind, reducing the stress level, to awakening creativity and enhancing memory and learning abilities. More recently researcher are mentioning Yoga Nidra regarding neuroplasticity effects. I collected some of these article in the website (bottom of the page).
If you are officially curious, you can look for Yoga Nidra sessions and try what is the style you like the most and enjoy the inevitable benefic effect that will follow.
I have few dates in May if you are interested.