Clarity Holistic Health
Yoga Nidra is considered the "master key" to initiating shifts in conscious sleep states, where change happens outside of doing. In this ancient, simple and restorative meditation practice, you enter a state of non-doing, where transformation happens from beyond the mind rather than through the mind.
Nidra means sleep. Yoga Nidra is a unique meditation practice that stills the mind and progressively moves you through the same brain-waves that are normally experienced in sleep. There are five major brainwaves states: Beta, Gamma, Alpha, Theta and Delta. Brainwaves measure the electrical activity of the brain and the rate at which the electrical currents of the brain are cycling per second (measured in Hertz-Hz). Brainwaves can be observed with an EEG (electroencephalograph). Each type of brainwave has a specific purpose and helps us reach optimal mental functioning.
The initial stages of Yoga Nidra occur between Alpha and Theta brainwave states, but in even deeper states of Yoga Nidra - Theta and even Delta brainwave frequencies have been observed via EEG. Keep in mind that when a person undergoes anesthesia, the body is in a Delta brainwave state. The fascinating research information doesn't end there. In Delta states of Yoga Nidra, human growth hormone is released which is essential to maintaining proper metabolism.
"Yoga Nidra could be an important tool to enhance recovery
from traumatic brain injury because of the slow-wave Delta brainwave state it induces." (1)
The clinical benefits of Yoga Nidra for PTSD are well documented. (2) A published, peer-reviewed study on PTSD was conducted with returning war veterans who participated in eight weeks of Yoga Nidra. The results showed:
- reduced rage, anxiety and emotional reactivity
- increased feelings of peace and self-awareness
- relaxation despite ongoing challenges to mentally focus and intrusive traumatic memories
- better sleep
- mood improvement
In 2010, the War Related Illness and Injury Study Centers found that of 164 veterans attending Yoga Nidra classes, 85% reported improvements across 13 different symptoms including: disturbing memories, headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, hypervigilance, irritability and angry outbursts. (3)
Yoga Nidra has also been studied for the management of chronic pain in veterans with Traumatic Brain Injuries. Conclusions show significant and demonstrable health benefits for those with chronic pain. (4)
(1) Desai, K. "Yoga Nidra: The Art of Transformational Sleep". (2017) p. 43
(2) Stankovic, L. "Transforming Trauma: A Qualitative Feasibility Study of Integrative Restoration (iRest) Yoga Nidra on Combat-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder." International Journal of Yoga Therapy 21.1 (2011): 23 - 37.
(3) "IHeal." - Bethesda Magazine. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.
(4) Nassif, T., D. Norris, K. Soltes, F. Sandbrink, M. Blackman, and J. Chapman. "Using Mindfulness Meditation to Improve Pain Management in Combat Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury." (2015). VA Healthcare.
G. Jill Cook is a Certified Yoga Nidra Practitioner who received her training at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts
under the direction of Dr. Kamini Desai, PhD - author of Yoga Nidra - The Art of Transformational Sleep