Clarity Holistic Health
What is Yoga Nidra?
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra - This rich and powerful holistic modality offers you a truly unique experience of learning to let go of mind chatter and enter deep levels of relaxation. Backed by solid scientific research, you will receive expert guidance and instruction of the practice of Yoga Nidra and the powerful use of intention, you learn about unconscious thinking patterns and the resulting biochemical states that can contribute to ill health, stress, insomnia, depression, trauma, bad habits and addictions. You also learn the important Six Tools of Yoga Nidra that will further your overall experience.
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 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)
Frequently Asked Questions About Yoga Nidra
Q - "I have knee and back problems and have problems bending. Is there alot of stretching, bending and standing in the practice of Yoga Nidra?"
A - The beauty of Yoga Nidra, is that there are options to adjust each session to allow for individualized physical and emotional needs. Light stretches are used to begin some sessions, but it truly depends on the unique needs of the client. The majority of the session is done resting in a comfortable reclining chair or on a yoga mat on the floor with an optional blanket and eye pillow. Yoga Nidra has become very popular with all age groups. This practice allows your body to receive restorative sleep benefits without having to take sleep medications. That is a powerful benefit as well.
Q - "What is the difference between Yoga Nidra and Hypnosis?"
A - While both hypnosis and Yoga Nidra are powerful tools, hypnosis is focused on optimizing the workings of the body/mind complex: thoughts, behaviors, habits and beliefs. Yoga Nidra works with these same things, but in a "greater context". A key difference between the two is on a physiological level. The brain state of Yoga Nidra corresponds to meditation where both halves of the brain are operating simultaneously as one, in complete relaxation. A unified, sequential and synchronized movement of BOTH halves of the brain is detectable in medical imaging tests such as PET scans of those who are experiencing Yoga Nidra! In hypnosis, the brain activity is different than in Yoga Nidra or in meditation. In hypnosis, left anterior executive functions are suspended; and the right posterior part of the brain is activated. (5) This is just the beginning of the fascinating benefits to the human body.
(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.
(5) Desai, K. "Yoga Nidra: The Art of Transformational Sleep". (2017) pp. 133 - 135