Yoga Nidra ~
Originating in India, the Hindi translation of yoga nidra is yogic sleep. Yoga Nidra is not your typical yoga session filled with asanas, rather it’s an ancient yoga practice where no movement is involved.
Yoga nidra is traditionally practiced while laying down in savasana, or corpse pose, and is similar to meditation. However the intention of this practice is to achieve deeper rest and relaxation than you would achieve through traditional meditation. If you happen to fall asleep during this deeply restorative practice, no worries! Your subconscious still absorbs the experience.
A yoga nidra session can last anywhere from 5 - 90 minutes. During this time an instructor guides you to explore the deep layers within yourself. An intention, usually prompted by the instructor, is set at the beginning of the practice. As you’re guided through the practice you’ll often be encouraged to explore your samskaras.
In Indian philosophy and Indian religions, samskaras are mental impressions, recollections, or psychological imprints. According to various schools of Indian philosophy, every action, intent, or preparation by an individual leaves a samskara (impression, impact, or imprint) in the deeper structure of the person's mind. In ancient Indian texts, the theory of Samskara explains how and why human beings remember things, and the effect that memories have on people's suffering, happiness, and contentment.
As a samskara arises during your practice, you’re guided by the instructor to feel and experience the feelings related to it on a deeper level. Through repeated yoga nidra practices you can move deeper into a samskara until it’s impression releases from you.
Yoga Nidra is fantastic for helping to relieve mental, emotional, and muscular tension.
Mental Tension ~
All of your life experiences register in your consciousness and accumulate in your mind. The result is excessive mental activity. Yoga nidra helps to release and relax built up tension in your mind, thereby helping to bring harmony in your entire being.
Emotional Tension ~
When emotions aren't expressed freely and openly they become repressed. Over time repressed emotions become deeply rooted in the body causing a form of tension that requires much more than sleep to release. Yoga nidra is a practice that can bring the level of calm and relaxation required to help relieve deeply rooted emotional tensions.
Muscular Tension ~
Tensions that have accumlated in the body, the nervous system, and the endrocrine system are easily released through the deep physical relaxation that's achieved during yoga nidra.
Further, there are numerous health benefits to yoga nidra including:
Helping to calm the nervous system thereby reducing stress and anxiety
Improving sleep by helping to reduce insomnia
Cultivating deeper body awareness
Restoring the mind and body
Clearing the subconscious
Yoga nidra is an extremely easy and accessible practice that anyone can do. The more you do it, the more you help release imprints that no longer serve you while greatly improving your overall well-being.
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Looking for more tips to help you live well? Check out Your Live Well Journey - The Podcast, every episode offers ways to help you improve your self-care.