Yoga nidra: this is deep relaxation and healing (lucid dreaming too)

yoga-nidraI recently posted about yoga nidra and am doing an extended post again on the topic again because I’m finding it more and more helpful as part of my healing practices and protocols.

While the expectation is that one does this on the floor in a yogic position of relaxation as the photo shows, I find that I can do it in my bed as well. I do find that a pillow underneath the knees is helpful whether I am on the floor or in my bed.

Definition from wikipedia:

Yoga nidra or “yogi sleep” is a sleep-like state which yogis report to experience during their meditations. Yoga nidra, lucid sleeping is among the deepest possible states of relaxation while still maintaining full consciousness. Lucid dreaming is the Western practice derived from yoga nidra. The distinguishing difference is the degree to which one remains cognizant of the actual physical environment as opposed to a dream environment.

From the Boston Globe, last year:

Relaxation technique found to be effective for pain, and even post-traumatic stress

This yoga isn’t about exercise.

Yoga nidra is a systematic, multistage set of relaxation techniques that help induce a deep, meditative state. It’s as old as yogis, but has gained both in popularity and credibility in recent years in the West as an effective way to relieve stress and anxiety…

Unlike exercise-based yogas, yoga nidra’s health benefits are more closely akin to those of meditation practices and have been researched accordingly. Studies have shown that yoga nidra may help with insomnia, anxiety, depression, addiction, and chronic pain…

…The step-by-step process is designed to relax the body and awaken the subconscious and conscious mind, Reis says, leading to inner healing of both physical and emotional tensions. She calls it “an antidote to modern life.”

“We are so stressed out living our lives in the flight-or-fight mode that we have lost the ability to switch out of it,” she says, adding that when nervous systems are stuck in this mode, it leads to a variety of health problems, including digestive issues, tight muscles, vascular illnesses, and asthma.

It is an inexpensive mental health intervention, with no side effects, Miller says.

The author of “Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga,” and other yoga nidra books and CDs, Miller says yoga nidra can be done in small doses of 10- and 15-minute increments or as longer stand-alone practice. “When I teach yoga nidra, I welcome people to lie down or sit up in a chair, stand, even walk around the room,” he says. Eventually, he’d like them to integrate the practice so well into their lives they could do it while “working at the computer.”  (read more)

I’ve been doing yoga nidra meditations for a couple of years as part of my collection of healing practices. Lately I’ve been doing a lot more of it and it’s so deeply relaxing and healing I thought it was time I shared it. I have to say that even though I’ve been doing it for two years it’s only recently from a greater state of well-being that I’ve come to deeply appreciate the profundity of this practice.

I started with Richard Miller’s CD’s. Here he talks about his work with yoga nidra.

This is a excerpt from his website iREST:

Yoga Nidra, one of the principal programs offered by IRI, is a research-based transformative practice of deep relaxation and meditative inquiry that:

  • releases negative emotions and thought patterns
  • calms the nervous system
  • develops a deep capacity to meet any and all circumstances you may encounter in life

Research has shown that iRest Yoga Nidra effectively reduces:

  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic pain
  • Chemical dependency

The Integrative Restoration Institute is committed to excellence in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), collaborating with research partners, and providing advanced training for health care professionals, yoga teachers and individuals looking to facilitate their own personal growth.

This is a play list so all four parts should play. There is generally a small break between each video.

Note: when I was in the midst of the worst of the psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome (really for a couple of years) I could not listen to guided meditations of any sort. Please don’t assume if you cannot do something now you won’t be able to do it ever. Things change and it does get betterI put a lot of practices on the back burner for the day I might be able to utilize them. I still do that sometimes when I learn about something new. I think, hmmm, that doesn’t sound quite right now, but it may be in the future and I take a mental note.

Here is 15 minute video with a short yoga nidra meditation available on youtube:

You can download the above audio for free right here: UNWIND: yoga nidra  — very good for beginners because it’s only 15 minutes long.

I also have these two which I’ve really enjoyed and can be purchased at amazon:

and:

  • Yoga Nidra  — Julie Rader   — just 99 cents as an audio download and my current favorite.

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters