Want to reduce stress and anxiety? Try Yoga Nidra.

There was a period in my life when I felt really lost. It was very hard for me to concentrate, I felt a lack of energy, my thoughts were negative. In other words I felt stress, and I was very afraid of tomorrow. One day I saw an invitation to a new course called “Yoga Nidra”. At that moment I knew a lot about yoga, but I have never heard anything about Yoga Nidra. I decided to try that new course and never looked back since then. First I learned this technique at yoga school, then I started to practice it at home. I bought books about this relaxation technique, tried different variations and decided to dig deeper and deeper. So now I want to share my knowledge with you. I am sure this relaxation technique will help you too.

So what is Yoga Nidra?      

First let me give you the description of those two Sanskrit words. Yoga means to join, to make a connection, to make union, Nidra means sleep. So during the practice of Yoga Nidra one goes into deep relaxation, he is only small step away from sleeping, but he is not sleeping. His consciousness is functioning at a deeper level of awareness. In other words it’s a sleep with full awareness.

We all have a lot of tensions in our bodies. I want you to feel your face. Is it relaxed? Now try to feel your shoulders. Are they relaxed and without tension? Probably not. Physical tension can be eased by stretching or exercising. Massage can help too. But what about subtle tensions? These tensions are difficult to recognize. We accumulate them during all the day, but we aren’t observant, so we don’t see that. Tensions show up in negative emotions, anxiety, concerns etc. Have you ever felt something heavy in your chest without a reason? Or have you ever felt fear without knowing what you are afraid of?  Have you ever started shouting at your friend just because he left a cup in wrong place? That’s tension. Yoga Nidra is a unique method that goes below surface tensions to release stress at its deepest level. During the practice of Yoga Nidra the body sleeps but the mind remains awake listening to the instructions. One achieves the hypnogogic state, this is a state between sleep and wakefulness.

Yoga Nidra is easy to practice. You just have to lie on your back with your feet spread slightly apart from each other. Put your arms at your side with your palms facing up, your fingers curling naturally. Your eyes should be closed as well. This pose is called shavasana. While lying in this pose you just have to listen to the instructor’s voice and try not to fall asleep.

Yoga Nidra is divided into some stages. If we have enough time we can practice all the stages, that will take about 45 minutes. And there are shorter versions which will take about 15 minutes.

Now I will shortly describe all stages.

• Preparation. You have to lie down as I mentioned earlier listening to instructor’s voice and trying to forget everything in the world. You just have to listen and do what is said to you. You are like a witness, you don’t think if something is good or bad, if you are doing everything right. There are no mistakes in Yoga Nidra, so relax.

• Sankalpa. Sankalpa is a statement, which does something for us. In other words it helps to achieve our purposes and make our dreams come true. You have to think about your sankalpa before Yoga Nidra begins, and you will have to repeat it three times mentally in the beginning and in the end of the practice. You have to repeat it with full determination and confidence. Sankalpa is like a seed, you plant it in your subconscious during deep relaxation and there is no way you will not see the plant later. So you have to choose sankalpa wisely.

• Rotation of consciousness. In this stage you have to move your awareness around different parts of your body. You have to remain aware listening to the instructions and move the mind rapidly according to the instruction without making the physical movements.

• Awareness of the breath. In fourth stage you have to become aware of your natural breathing. You have to bring your awareness to inhalation and exhalation by counting them mentally.

• Opposite feelings and sensations. This is a very interesting stage in which you have to feel opposite feelings or sensations like heat and cold, heaviness and lightness, pain and pleasure, love and hate, and so on.

• Visualization. During the stage of visualization you have to bring your awareness to the space in front your close eyes. You have to listen what instructor says and visualize objects or situations.

• Ending Yoga Nidra practice. In the end you have to repeat your sankalpa three times as in the beginning. Then you have to move your awareness from your inside to the external sounds and start moving your legs and hands. The practice of Yoga Nidra is finished.

Various studies have been done in order to find the benefits of Yoga nidra. Regular practice of Yoga Nidra:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves general well being
  • Positively affects blood pressure
  • Brings joy into your life
  • Helps to connect with your True Self
  • Enhances memory and learning capacity
  • Awakens creativity and intuition.

Try it. Have questions? Write me: irma@fightyourstress.com

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About Irma

Hey, I'm Irma - stress fighter and almost psychologist. I can’t make your stress disappear, but if it’s like an aggressive lion, we can make it into a lovely cat.

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