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International Day Of Yoga 2022: What is Yoga Nidra? Benefits And How To Perform

Yoga Nidra, also known as psychic sleep is an ancient yoga practice that may help promote deep physical and psychological relaxation, keeping the mind active and aware. In Yoga Nidra, a person lies horizontally on their back with their face and torso facing up in a position called corpse pose. [1]

Yoga Nidra is also a highly effective meditation technique that is simple to learn and maintain. Practicing this yoga helps a person pass through the pancha maya kosha, also known as the five layers of self, leaving them with a sense of wholeness and well-being. Yoga Nidra is mainly a 45-minute session that can help give the relaxed feeling of a three-hour nap.

Take a look at the details.

Is Yoga Nidra Meditation?

Slowing down and relaxing are key components of yoga nidra. Meditation has the same effect. While some people consider them the same, they are not. Though there are some similarities between the two processes, they both involve some significant variances.

In yoga nidra, people lie down with the intention of moving into a profound level of sleep and relaxation with consciousness awake. So basically, it includes transitioning from consciousness while awake to dreaming, then to not-dreaming and staying awake.

On the other hand, meditation involves sitting with consciousness awake while focusing on the mind and letting thoughts come and go. Meditation allows us to enter the theta state, the deepest part of the sleep cycle in which the subconscious mind takes over from the conscious mind.

Yoga Nidra tends to achieve the same when the body and mind are at rest, yet the consciousness is awake.

Benefits Of Yoga Nidra

1. May help cancer patients

People undergoing cancer treatment go through a lot of physical and mental distress. According to a study, Yoga Nidra can help improve the psychological outcomes of patients such as distress and depressive symptoms, along with improving their physical symptoms like pain, sleep disturbances and fatigue. [2]

2. May help with menstrual irregulaties

Menstrual irregularities, probably due to stress and depression, are common. According to a study, Yoga Nidra can help reduce the levels of depression and anxiety and increase the general health and well-being of a person, thus improving physical symptoms like menstrual problems. [3]

3. May help with lung problems

Though there are many effective yoga asanas to improve lung functioning and prevent lung-related diseases, some studies say that Yoga Nidra, when carried out with other yoga types, may help improve asthma-related symptoms and other inflammation of the lungs. [4]

4. May reduce anxiety

A study says anxiety affects around 33.7 per cent of the world's population. Yoga Nidra is great for reducing mental health problems and is more effective than yoga in some ways. It not only helps reduce anxiety and related symptoms, but also improves the physical and cognitive functions that help keep anxiety at bay for a longer period.

5. Good for sleep-related problems

A study says that Yoga Nidra has promising effects on the autonomic nervous system, brainwaves and sleep onset. It can help treat sleep disorders and address related problems like insomnia and help provide a great feeling of relaxation to the person. [5]

How To Practice Yoga Nidra?

  • Lie down flat on the back similar to Shavasana or Corpse pose yoga.
  • Relax and close the eyes. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly.
  • Begin by paying careful attention to the right foot. Maintain the focus for a few seconds and then, slowly shift the focus to the right knee, then right thigh followed by the right hip. Recognize the entire right leg.
  • Do the same with the left leg.
  • Then, change the focus to other body areas like the stomach, genitals, navel and chest.
  • Move the focus to the top of the head after focusing on the right shoulder, palm and fingers and then the left ones.
  • Inhale deeply and pay attention to the body's sensations.
  • Relax for a few minutes in this state.
  • You will slowly start to become aware of the body and surroundings
  • Then, turn to the right side and lie down for a few more minutes.
  • Breathe through the left nostrils and allow the body to cool down.
  • Then slowly sit straight and gradually open the eyes.

To Conclude

Yoga Nidra is easy to perform and can be added to other forms of exercises. However, it is good to consult a medical expert before starting the yoga form or practicing it under the supervision of an expert.

Story first published: Tuesday, June 21, 2022, 11:15 [IST]
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