Yoga Nidra is a form of guided meditation that is also popular by other names such as “ Yogic Sleep” or “Effortless Relaxation”. Yoga nidra is derived from two Sanskrit words which means union or one pointed awareness (Yoga or Yuj) and sleep (Nidra). According to the ancient Indian scriptures, it has been practised widely by sages and their disciples.
India is the second most sleep deprived country in the world after Japan. Therefore, MHT decides to propagate the practise originated in India’s hinterland to improve the sleep quality and behaviours of Indians and others facing sleep related issues or disorders.
What is Yoga Nidra?
As mentioned earlier, the practise of Yoga Nidra draws one’s attention inwards through which an individual learns to surf between the two different states: state of wakefulness and state of sleep, directing the body to find its natural state of equilibrium (homeostasis). Changes can be observed in the breathing pattern as the breath balances and becomes quiet.
Research studies have also shown positive evidence of Yoga Nidra in patients experiencing insomnia. The study by Datta et al; 2017, observed significant improvement in sleep onset latency as well as wake after sleep onset in individuals diagnosed with insomnia. Research evidence obtained by Markil et al; 2012, has found Yoga Nidra also associated with a shift towards parasympathetic dominance.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra
- Sleep related problems are prevalent across all age groups. One of the benefits of Yoga Nidra is that it can be practised by anyone, from children to seniors. Moreover, it can be practised by lying down or by simply being seated.
- One can practise Yoga Nidra for as less as 5 minutes to upto 1 hour. You can choose the length as per your comfort. You can simply plug in your earphones to a guided meditation by Eka Meditation App while in your bed and simply drift off to sleep. This makes it really easy to incorporate this practise in our daily life.
- Yoga Nidra is also practised to reduce stress as it promotes deep relaxation through breath awareness. This, in turn, calms the nervous system, helping it relax and reduce stress.
- While practising guided meditation, one gets the opportunity to know more intimately about themselves and their feelings. Yoga Nidra helps individuals explore the intimate needs and emotions in that moment as well as work on releasing the long-held emotions.
How to Practice Yoga Nidra?
Practising Yoga Nidra has never been easier. The Eka Meditation App has an inbuilt feature of a guided meditation focusing on sleep. Start the guided meditation provided in the Eka Mediation App when you are ready to go to bed.
The first step involves lying down on your back. Rest your arms by your side with your palm facing downwards and close your eyes.
The next step is to follow the voice of the guided meditation by the expert in Yoga from Eka Mediation. This will help you guide your consciousness through your body.
The third step is to bring conscious awareness to your physical body. You can do this by focusing your concentration on the right side of your body first starting from your thumb, hands, legs and then feet. Do the same for the left side of your body.
Last, feel your body weight acting upon the surface. Now awaken the feeling of lightness for each part of your body.
You can observe significant changes in your quality of sleep within a few days of practising Yoga Nidra. It is a habit that one can inculcate in their day to day life. Apart from its benefits in improving sleep, Yoga Nidra can also be used for distressing your mind before sleeping and acknowledging more intimate thoughts of your consciousness.
References: Datta, K., Tripathi, M. & Mallick, H.N. Yoga Nidra: An innovative approach for management of chronic insomnia- A case report. Sleep Science Practice 1, 7 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41606-017-0009-4 https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/practice/what-is-yoga-nidra https://ekameditation.com/2020/05/27/yoga-nidra-benefits-against-coronavirus/ https://yogainternational.com/article/view/5-benefits-of-yoga-nidra https://beyogi.com/yoga-nidra-practice-psychic-sleep/ https://www.businesstoday.in/technology/top-story/indians-least-active-second-most-sleep-deprived-fitbit/story/387461.html Markil N, Whitehurst M, Jacobs PL, Zoeller RF. Yoga Nidra relaxation increases heart rate variability and is unaffected by a prior bout of Hatha yoga. J Altern Complement Med N Y N. 2012;18:953–8. Picture Credits: Openfit