Yoga Nidra Meditation – holistic medicine

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Yoga Nidra Meditation

Yoga Nidra is a classical meditation or relaxation practiced lying supine comfortably in shavasana. Deeply relaxing and rejuvenating for body, mind and spirit, yoga nidra is the perfect antidote for life’s everyday stresses. In fact it is a modern day panacea which can be incorporated with any healing modality to enhance rejuvenation.  Being deeply calming it is perfect for many forms of anxiety, trauma or periods of rehabilitation after illness. It can be practiced in hospital, while traveling for jet-lag and in bed for insomnia. As a widowed mum with busy growing boys Yoga Nidra was a life saver for me in the 90’s.

Keep Calm and Practice Yoga Nidra

The calming and relaxing benefits of yoga nidra helped maintain my energy levels so I could keep up with my 4 active boys. And, still have the energy to run a naturopathic practice and yoga studio. I noticed when I did my yoga nidra practice daily I didn’t experience that sense of grumpy exhaustion around dinner time. This is sometimes called the witching hour by tired parents. Weary from a full day already, this was when I really felt the difference yoga nidra offered to my day. Read below how Yoga Nidra can help overcome anxiety and benefit your brain health.

A Scientifically Validated Practice

Yoga Nidra, in its modern form is now known and used all over the world by yoga teachers and health professionals alike. It is a simple yet scientifically validated practice. It has been used for war veterans,  for vibrant health and rejuvenation. 

Anyone Can Practice Yoga Nidra

The beauty of this practice is that you require no formal training in meditation or any form of yoga to practice and receive full benefits. Practiced from the completely passive and relaxed position (flat on your back) of Shavasana, we simply listen and follow the instructions of the practice. With eyes closed we are directed to become aware of the senses of sound, touch, relaxing of the body parts and then to breath. 

In more advanced practice we may be aware of vibrations of energy and the chakras. A deep sense of relaxation is felt as we go into theta brain waves and rejuvenation of body and mind occurs on a cellular level. If the practitioner is too weak to sit or walk they can still practice yoga nidra from a hospital bed, chair or wheelchair with wonderful results. I have found it great to listen on headphones on long haul flights for overcoming jet-lag. Yoga Nidra can be practiced by all ages and simply improves every aspect of life.

 Yoga Nidra for Rejuvenation, Jet-lag, Relaxation and Rehabilitation

The sickness industry has become a major concern worldwide, with every new company looking for the pill, drug or potion to magically cure all and promise health and instant healing. This modern lifestyle has become fast and furious; fast food, fast cars, and fast communication with the press of a button, cash with the swipe of a card, but to what avail.

The very important pauses and periods of inaction between life’s happenings. Most people watch tv or play computer games but this only stresses the brain. We have forgotten that it is in these very important pauses that we integrate and digest life’s experiences thus developing wisdom. The creative mind can bring through to our consciousness new and brilliant ideas in reverie moments as epiphanies or deeper insights. Great scientists, composers and artists often speak of this. The human body is not a machine, it is a finely tuned instrument that requires care and finesse to maintain vibrant health and clarity.

Yoga Nidra, Meditation and Brain Waves.

From a scientific point of view the brain waves are very much affected and influenced through music, sound, and meditation. In daily life we mainly experience Beta brainwave patterns (13-30 cycles per/second), however if we listen to ambient music or enter into a relaxed state the brainwave patterns change to Alpha (7-13 cycles/second) and when we enter into an even  deep state of meditation we can experience Theta brainwave patterns (4-7cycles/second). The benefits of Alpha and Theta brain waves are many and these patterns can be invoked through meditation, relaxation and listening to certain music, sound and tones.

Alpha and Theta

Have you ever wondered why young children are so “Full of Beans”, so eager and enthusiastic about life? Scientists now propose that this is because they spend most of their waking hours in Alpha or Theta brain wave states; in their creative imaginary world of make believe or even visions.  As they become more grown up they spend more of their waking hours in the logical and analytical states of mind that generate Beta brain waves. Logic is of course necessary; however when we spend too much time in Beta, as can happen in our fast and furious life styles, then stress can become a contributing factor to physical, mental and emotional dis-ease. Reflect next time you say to a child or younger person to “stop daydreaming”, or “grow up” or “get into the real world”. What is REAL? Perhaps this is why we sometimes reflect during stressful times on the innocence, joy, excitement and carefree experience of childhood. We crave a bit more Alpha and Theta to bring us back into balance. Recent discoveries in the science of psycho-neuro-immunology (a long word for the relationship between the mind and body), have demonstrated a clear link between healing and brain wave patterns. Interesting link to brain scans after yoga nidra

The Relaxation Response

During relaxation in Alpha and Theta states, breathing pattern relaxes and deepens, the blood pressure drops, there is muscular relaxation, and the levels of neurological and emotional stress drop dramatically. With the resulting lowered levels of anxiety (reflecting stress), the ability to concentrate  improves, sleep patterns improve, and emotional re-action that create family and relationship friction lessen. We develop the ability to act more from the present moment as we relax into present time. Given it is now considered a fact, that stress is a major factor dis-ease in relationship dynamics, physical and psychological health, it figures that time spent in Alpha and Theta states, which includes the wonderful practice of Yoga Nidra, definitely has its many benefits

Mental Direction 

Lack of direction or the lack of positive aims and goals in life leads to feelings of confusion and worthlessness. This is a major problem for people today and a common stress factor in life. Have you asked yourself lately  “What do I really want?” or “What is my aim in life?”Because Life has become so fast and the pauses between actions are fewer there seems to me a distinct lack of time to contemplate this question deeply and fully. Due to this we are often racing around fulfilling small desires that gratify the senses in the moment, however there is now big picture, no real direction. A lot of energy can be expended in this way with no real achievement.

Sankalpa

Yoga Nidra addresses this issue with the introduction of  a “Sankalpa”. Sankalpa is a sanskrit word meaning resolve. To develop a resolve is to have firm determination to do or achieve something or some state of being. Sankalpa can offer us an opportunity to develop wisdom. Sankalpa is a magic ingredient of the practice of yoga nidra. Through the creation of a sankalpa and the daily, or regular use of it we set a course to steer ourselves clearly toward self-discovery. A Sankalpa may be as simple as ‘I remain alert and deeply relaxed’ or “I am calm and peaceful” or “who am I”.

I am deeply and Completely Relaxed 

The sankalpa is chosen by the practitioner carefully and repeated at the beginning and at the end of the practice when the mind is open and relaxed. It is like planting a positive seed in the fertile ground of the sub-conscious mind, where it can germinate, grow and flower by manifesting in our lives.

Sankalpa is NOT ‘The Secret to Acquisition of Goods”

Note: this is not the secret or a get rich quick scheme – it can help us awaken to deeper wisdom. Our minds are very powerful, a virtually untapped resource. Yet take care you don’t get caught in the mind trap. There comes a time when this is unnecessary and we are simply available to life as it is.

In his book on “Yoga Nidra” Swami Satyananda Saraswati talks about lack of direction and states that most of us are “floundering in the darkness, like ships without rudders”. I have to say sadly that this is true. Confusion and lack of a clear direction in life, coupled with stress and a lack of personal confidence or low self-esteem leave many of us unhappy and depressed, never manifesting our highest potential.

Using Yoga Nidra for Insomnia and Anxiety

The practice of Yoga Nidra is deeply relaxing to the physical body and can assist people to recharge their batteries. To understand the nature of the mind better and develop greater wisdom. This allows healing on a deeper level. Some people practice it at night while in bed if they suffer from insomnia or awaken at odd hours. It can help one to jump off the mind train and relax the body enough to fall asleep deeply. .

Soraya’s recordings

On this cd or download there are 3 Yoga Nidra practices  10 minutes,  20 minutes and 30 minutes to fit any schedule. And my advanced Yoga Nidra download here. This is a wonderfully nourishing practice guided by my voice together with the sublime flute of Terry Oldfield. I do hope it goes out to the world to benefit many people as it has done for myself and the hundreds of students I have shared it with in classes over the past 30 years. I have added one yoga nidra to youtube as a gift for everyone to enjoy.

 

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