Nidra has been used with veterans managing PTSD, pregnant people facing intense fear of birth, and preschoolers coping with learning or behavioral disabilities. But you don't need to be facing a major challenge to try Yoga Nidra - it is also a powerful tool for managing the stressors of every day life. Here are my top 5 reasons to try it out...
What is Yoga Nidra?
If you haven't already read our article, "What is Yoga Nidra?", make sure you go back and read that one - it has more info on the history and uses of Nidra.
The short answer is, Yoga Nidra is a guided meditation experience that usually lasts from 35-60 minutes, but can be longer or shorter. It follows a specific protocol, but can be, and often is, tailored to meet the needs of specific groups of people or address specific concerns. For example, Nidra has been used with veterans in managing PTSD, pregnant people facing intense fear of birth, and preschoolers coping with learning or behavioral disabilities. But you don't need to be facing a major challenge to try Yoga Nidra - it is also a powerful tool for managing the stressors of every day life.
5 Benefits of Yoga Nidra
So, why practice Yoga Nidra? As opposed to another flow class, a meditation session, or a good hard workout, all of which I do use and encourage for managing the stress of winter. Nidra has some pretty specific after-effects that are especially useful and welcome.
1. Better Sleep
Better sleep is one of the most common immediate and noticeable affects of Nidra. One case study in Sleep Science and Practice, Yoga Nidra: An innovative approach for management of chronic insomnia- A case report, showed that Yoga Nidra improved sleep quality and decreased insomnia severity, depression, and anxiety when used in combination with a better sleep protocol. Nidra increase dopamine levels in the brain, which not only improves sleep but improves creativity, mood, concentration, and feelings of belonging and contentment.
2. Reduce Anxiety
Nidra practice increases dopamine levels in the brain, which not only improves sleep but improves creativity, mood, concentration, and feelings of belonging and contentment. Nidra is regularly used with veterans and survivors of trauma in managing PTSD, and also with people managing addictions, confronting fears, and preparing for birth. It is a very powerful tool. But you don't need to be facing a major challenge to practice Nidra. It is also useful for facing down the every day stressors of life.
3. Nidra is systematic
While there are endless variations, there is a set protocol; a script. So, practitioners come to know what to expect and, over time, can settle into the routine and familiarity of Nidra. Even when practicing with a new guide or script, the practitioner will know what to expect. This allows the guide to tailor each Yoga Nidra experience to the group, the individual, the time of year, current events or situations, the environment, or a theme, while maintaining the integrity of the practice.
4. Relationship to Body
Practitioners of Nidra develop a closer relationship with body and self that is both immediately noticeable and also deepens and grows over time with regular practice. For people feeling disconnected from body, either through trauma, anxiety, or just the day-in-day-out stress of life, the awareness and connection to body and breath that we find in Nidra is healing.
Nidra can be practiced by anyone. Seriously. ANYONE. No special equipment, space, abilities, or clothes are needed. Nidra is used in prisons, preschools, VAs, nursing homes, hospitals, homeless shelters,... anywhere you can safely sit, lie down, or be still for 35-60 minutes, you can practice Nidra.
Ready to try Yoga Nidra?!
The best way to learn about Yoga Nidra is obviously to try it out! There are many resources online. You only need the audio, since your eyes are closed, but there are video versions, too. I, of course, believe the best way is in the presence of a guide with whom you can share your concerns, issues, or just be in shared energetic space. I am leading a Thanksgiving Day Flow and Nidra in 2022. If you are close, come and see me! Or contact me to get the next Nidra practice dates.