Yoga Nidra is a technique from the great yoga adept Swami Satyananda Saraswati of the Bihar School of Yoga, India.
The word yoga means conscious connection to Self. Nidra means sleep. Yoga Nidra is a yoga meditation technique that allows us to relax, recharge, rejuvenate and awaken higher consciousness.
(Note: Yoga Nidra is a Sanskrit term that means the light, wakeful sleep of an accomplished practitioner yoga and meditation).
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is a powerful meditation technique where the mind remains conscious during the normally "unconscious" state associated with deep sleep.
Practice in the lying position, it is one of the most popular yoga meditation techniques because it induces a profoundly deep state of rest. It is effortless, enjoyable, soothing and recuperative.
As it is practiced today, Yoga Nidra is a technique that carries awareness deep into you, layer by layer. This process is called "introversion", or pratyahara in Sanskrit. The pratyahara of Yoga Nidra induces deep relaxation.
Thousands use Yoga Nidra scripts to relax and meditate.
Yoga Nidra takes your awareness deep into parts of you that you normally cannot access because of tensions. You systematically relax each part of your physical body and then move your awareness to the more subtle layers, your emotions and deeper mind, in order to relax these parts.
Insufficient Rest and Poor Sleep Causes Heart Disease.
Rest is the foundation of a Happy and Health life. And yet millions of people around the world are suffering from the effects of busy lifestyles, stress, overwork and fatigue. They work unable to rest, recharge and rejuvenate themselves.
Many people have lost their ability to replenish themselves through good quality sleep. Millions of people are clinically sleep-deprived or suffering from sleep disorders.
Work Hard, Party Hard.
We have become blind to the importance of sleep. "Work hard, party hard" is an accepted way of life in our modern 24 x 7 lifestyle. Sleep is given a low priority. It is seen as a weakness or something that gets in the way of life rather than as the foundation of a healthy and full life.
Sleep needs to be redefined as an activity to be treated with the utmost respect, like exercise and a good diet. Sleep, and our inability to relax and rest deeply, is the basis of a good life.
The National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research in America has labelled 'insomnia' is a silent epidemic staggering proportions".
30-40% of people in the USA and Australia have insomnia and poor quality of sleep each month.
40-70% million American experience either chronic or intermittent sleep-related problems costing $15 billion in health care and $500 billion in lost productivity.
Sleeplessness is a chronic problem for one in ten Australians, over 2 millions people.
Approximately 5 - 10% of people use prescribed sleeping pills. Another 5 - 10% of people use over-the-counter prescriptions. an unknown number of people use alcohol and other substance at night to try to help them sleep.
And yet these attempts to sleep well usually do not provide the deep rest and recuperation we seek.
How much Restful Sleep do you Need?
The amount of sleep and rest in each of us need is different. There is consensus that for the majority of people six hours sleep is a minimum. However, the best way to judge if you have had sufficient rest and sleep is to feel how tired you are and how you well or poorly you perform during the day.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Going to long without sleep diminishes your ability to function. It's like being drunk. Extended periods of sleep deprivation result in the brain shutting down. We are unable to make accurate judgements and in extreme cases this can result in hallucinations.
Lack of rest and untreated sleep disorders:
1) reduces quality of life,
2) lower productivity in school and workplace,
3) increase the chance of ill-health and death from heart disease, diabetes, depression and obesity,
4) increase the risk of accidents associated with excessive sleepiness.
5) increase the risk of accidents associated with excessive sleepiness.
Professor Charles A Czeisler from Harvard Medical School states that in the United States 80,000 people fall asleep at the wheel every day, an average of one person every second. Every two minutes one of those people crashes.
Research is now showing that lack of rest and the resultant burnout and depletion of energy is a major factor in a number of chronic illness, especially in heart and blood vessel disease.
Major Sleep Research
Recent medical research from Holland (2011) studied over 20,000 men and women for over 12 years. They showed that poor quality combined with insufficient sleep time is linked with massive increased risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
Sleep Research Findings
They discovered that short sleepers (6 hours or less) had a 15% higher risk of cardiovascular disease (disease of the blood vessels) and a 23% higher risk of heart disease (coronary artery disease) compared with people with normal sleep duration (seven to eight hours).
Researches found no association between poor quality sleep and cardiovascular disease. It was the combination of poor quality and short duration that caused the problem.
People who had a combination of poor quality sleep and short duration sleep had a massive 65% higher risk of cardiovascular disease, and an 85% higher risk of heart disease than people with a normal sleep duration and good sleep quality.
Sleep Research Conclusion
This means that insufficient good quality sleep and lack of rest leads to exhaustion, which sets up the perfect conditions for degenerative illness.
Good sleep has to be experienced most nights if we are to function to the best of our potential and remain free of disease.
Get Extra Sleep Credits
Practicing relaxation techniques like Yoga Nidra in the morning following a bad night's sleep may prevent cadiovascular disease and heart disease.
Techniques such as Yoga Nidra allows us to gain deep rest and this diminish the damage that occurs t the body when it is exhausted.
If you wake feeling tired or exhausted in the morning the best thing you can do is to rest deeply with yoga Nidra before the day begins. This will give you the extra sleep credits your body needs
to maintain itself and keep you healthy and relaxed.
Although it does not replace normal sleep, 30 minutes of yoga Nidra is the equivalent of 3 yo 4 hours of sleep.
30 minutes of Yoga Nidra is the equivalent of 3 to 4 hours of sleep
Removing Deep-Seated Tensions
Tensions block awareness and energy. Yoga Nidra releases blocked energy that is trapped within the body-mind, often frozen by anxiety and worry. The release of energy during relaxation rebalances and harmonizes the body and the deeper mind. Energy that is released can be used for healing and positive growth.
Removing tensions allows you to penetrate your awareness into the unconscious areas of yourself. You become aware of and can connect to your inner abilities and potential. This expands your sense of self by expanding your awareness of the deeper and subtler parts of you.
Yoga Nidra therapy
Yoga Nidra is a yoga meditation technique that can be used in therapy settings to enable people to recuperate from exhaustion and illness. It can be applied as both primary therapeutic tool and as an adjunctive treatment for many acute and chronic physical and psychological disease condition.
Deep relaxation liberates the energy trapped within tensions.
Source: Article by Dr. Swami Shankardev Saraswati with Jayne Stevenson.