Last Updated on February 16, 2021 by melissanreynolds
How can Yoga Nidra help you manage all the things? Meditation can be a polarizing topic, anything yoga related can be. But I’d like to share with you, how it can help you manage all the things and how it is a top self-care tool.
We don’t need research to know that we are burning out in incredible numbers. Women, in particular, are trying to work like four equivalent jobs at the same time.
Women are also more likely to suffer from insomnia, chronic pain, chronic fatigue and many other chronic illnesses.
We live in a culture of go-go-go. Where little to no maternity leave is often the norm. Busy is the symbol of successful.
Meditation invites us to take a moment.
And while we take that moment we are accidentally multitasking with many benefits.
Any type of meditation will help us here.
A simple breath-focused meditation. Mantra meditation. Mindfulness meditations. Body scan meditation. Christian meditation (focusing on a bible verse). Visualisation meditations. Self-hynosis meditation.
But the type of meditation that really helps me, and can really help you, is Yoga Nidra.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra also means “yogic sleep”. It is said that an hour of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to four hours sleep. I haven’t seen research proving this, but I do know that during Yoga Nidra brain wave patterns mimic sleep. This article has some pictures of brain waves.
It [Yoga Nidra] is an ancient technique where the practitioner enters the deep states of conscious relaxation. It is a systematic practice of moving awareness from our external world to the inner world. It brings us to a state of deep sleep where our senses, intellect, and mind relax. We become free from the concepts of time, space and reason. When this happens, brain activity reduces and the body goes in the healing stateWhat is yoga nidra
Benefits of Yoga Nidra
- Deeply restful
- Helps with chronic insomnia
- Calms the central nervous system
- Can improve the immune system
- May help with depression and anxiety
- Reduces pain and fatigue
- Relieves stress
- Improves concentration and memory
What is different about it?
For a start, you tend to do it lying down. When I am leading it for those with chronic illness/fibromyalgia, I suggest they do it in bed with their heat pack for ultimate rest. The aim of Yoga Nidra is to stay awake and alert, while letting the body rest. However, it is my belief, that if you need the sleep, it is the perfect time for your body to take it.
My story with Yoga Nidra
I have struggled to sleep for as long as I can remember. Insomnia was a problem long before I had any idea of having a chronic illness. A locum doctor I saw once read my history and prescribed Amitriptyline (an antidepressant, that when taken at lower doses has a sedating effect) when I was in my early twenties. This shows you how long the issue had been going on.
By the time I had my first child at 28-years-old, I had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia (a chronic condition characterised by chronic pain, fatigue, insomnia, brain fog and more) but had received little concrete help.
The extra sleep deprivation and demands on my energy devastated me. When he was nearly one-year-old I happened upon a Yoga Nidra guided meditation on YouTube. It was just 18 minutes long. But for the first time in a long, long time, I felt profoundly rested.
I began squishing in Yoga Nidra wherever I could. There were times when I did 10 minute sessions on the side of the road before picking my son up from care.
It’s been six years and I haven’t looked back. It has been crucial for managing through three more children.
The long-term effects
Despite doing it for the immediate effect of feeling some rest and replacing the deep rest I don’t get during night sleep, there have been many long term effects too. My central nervous system overactivation is reduced, I have less anxiety, sleep is easier to achieve and I do reach the deeper stages of sleep some of the time. It is also profoundly emotionally bolstering to know I have a tool that can help me achieve rest when I need it so badly.
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How it can help you
Even if you don’t need the benefits listed above (which I am betting at least one resonates), it is a great way to supercharge your day.
You can do it first thing in the morning if you wake feeling like you had no sleep at all (read: when infants or sick children dominate your night).
Or in place of a nap, it is far more efficient to put on a 10, 15, 20 or even 40 minute Yoga Nidra meditation and get up refreshed to do your nap time hustle than try to fall asleep (and wake up potentially groggy after an unknown amount of time of sleep).
Perhaps you are an introverted mama who needs some time out to recharge, you could do a 10 minute session when your partner arrives home from work.
Use it during your lunchbreak, Yoga Nidra for 10 minutes, eat for 15 and then refresh before hitting the desk again.
It is also handy for jet lag. Perhaps you arrive at your destination feeling like death warmed up, it’s bedtime in your hometown but hours away from it where you are. Do your meditation, wander about the town and go to bed at the right time for your new time zone. It will help you acclimatize faster.
Hopefully you get the gist of it by now.
Would you like to try it?
It is one of four FREE classes I give you in the free 10 minute self-care challenge. You can experience four yoga practices that can become part of your daily self-care.
Have you tried Yoga Nidra before? Do you have a regular mediation practice?