Love your sleep?
But not all ‘sleep’ is the same. There’s the scattered kind, the deep and the light. We wish our loved ones to ‘sleep tight’, sleep ‘sound’ and sleep ‘well’. You’ve probably experienced all of the above but have you experienced Yogic Sleep or ‘Yoga Nidra’?
Yoga Nidra is a state of consciousness between wakefulness and asleep and is slightly different from meditation, during which a single focus is required. In nidra, a guided practice, we benefit from restoring the body, senses, and mind to their natural functions and awaken the subtle sense that allows us to experience no separation, or ‘oneness’ – which is the whole point, core and goal of yoga.
Why wouldn’t I just take a nap instead?
While Nidra is not a substitute for sleep, it’s said to be that 45mins of yogic sleep is equivalent to 3 hours of your regular night time or napping kind of sleep. Although the jury and scientific studies are out on this particular stat, the proof is in the experience of it as well as some other well-documented studies on the effects is has on the brain waves.
Benefits of Nidra on the Brain (and body).
The first step in Nidra is to trigger the relaxation response done by illuminating various points in the body with your awareness (i.e. soften the fingertips, soften the fingers, soften the whole hand etc). This response balances your nervous system and shifts your brain waves from beta (an awakened state where you spend most of your day busy in brain activity) to alpha. In alpha states, your body releases serotonin which calms and relaxes.
From alpha, you go into deep alpha and high theta brainwave state. We call this place the dream state or REM sleep. This space is pure magic. A space in which you’re prone to free flowing ideas. It’s a place of creativity and learning. Emotional processing and release happens here and the brain actually begins to rewire itself.
The next step in this brain wave phase of nidra is the delta state and it’s this state that is the most restorative. You have the ability here to regenerate and replenish cells and organs and the stress hormone cortisol is released. This is often a place that those who are in a coma go to – it’s your body’s intelligent way of shutting things down so that you can heal and restore.
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