5 Reasons to Try Yoga Nidra by Stephen Marks

5 Reasons to Try Yoga Nidra by Stephen Marks

If you practice yoga you may well have heard of yoga nidra. This ancient
practice really came to prominence first in the West in the 1970s. It has
become increasingly popular in the last 5 years - but how and ultimately
why? The answer lies in the many benefits of yoga nidra. So let's look at
why you should try it…

Insomnia – if you suffer from difficulty falling asleep then the initial stages
of yoga nidra can dramatically help you unwind, prepare for sleep and drop
off. With the initial relaxation of the body and quieting of the mind the
practice of nidra will see many fall asleep. The principles work just as well
if you wake up in the middle of the night and are unable to go back to
sleep. Once you find the nidra that works for you (there are many
recorded now online) a neural pathway is created in the brain so next time
you listen to it you will be very likely to fall asleep again

Antidote to a strong yoga practice – if you have a strong ashtanga, hot
yoga or power yoga practice the chances are that you may not be
engaging in enough relaxation. You may think of nidra simplistically as a
much extended and deeper Savasana pose. Perhaps a better way of
understanding it is as a guided meditation ultimately bringing forward the
unconscious and subconscious mind. So for those looking to begin
meditative practice…nidra may be the route in.

General health benefits – as well as obvious benefits such as reducing
stress and tension, yoga nidra can also help with chronic fatigue. For those
requiring long-term convalescence in hospital yoga nidra has proved very
helpful. By encouraging balance within the body yoga nidra supports and
nourishes the immune system. Working by shifting the body from the
sympathetic state – “fight or flight” – to the parasympathetic state – “rest
and digest “– the practice brings about a range of physiological and
neurological benefits.

Deep relaxation – the practice of yoga nidra is richly restful but don't just
take my word for it ! Many scientific studies have shown that regular
practice can cause brainwave activity to change from a beta state to an
alpha state. Put simply this means that we shift from the usual alert, awake
and stressed state of beta activity to the more relaxed alpha state.
Increased dominance of alpha waves in the brain is beneficial as it is
conducive to mental resourcefulness, creativity, problem solving, efficiency
and relaxation.

Sankalpa and beyond – as with all yoga there is also a deeper spiritual
and emotional dimension to yoga nidra. The ancient yogis devised this
practice to return to the source of themselves and their inner being. And so
there can be a focus in the nidra on setting an intention or sankalpa within
your life's purpose or dharma as it is known. And within Richard Miller’s I
Rest system there have been huge successes in treating PTSD among
soldiers, those with addictions and other mental illnesses.

Join Stephen in his 'Nidra yoga sleep lab: nidra workshop' on Friday 24th May at the London Wellbeing Festival, tickets can be bought here: http://bit.ly/StephenMarks