What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is a systematic method of encouraging deep physical, mental & emotional relaxation: known as psychic or Yogic sleep or the Yoga of conscious sleep, Yoga Nidra involves being guided by your teacher's voice through a different series of breathing & visualisation techniques.
Can I do it?
Yoga Nidra is a truly accessible endeavour; it will benefit all & in particular, it is a great class for those who are, for whatever reason, physically unable to engage in more active Yoga right now. Sometimes through illness or injury, we are ‘kept away’ from the very practices that could help us help ourselves. So if moving in a more physical way is not an option for you right now but you are able to lie down on the ground, then try Yoga Nidra & start accessing some of Yoga’s fantastic benefits.
How does it help?
Likewise, Yoga Nidra is very therapeutic for those who are ‘over-doing’ it physically, whether that’s too much work or say triathlon or marathon training. It is a very restorative practice that allows us to tune into the body, mind & spirit. It would be ideal as a ‘Rest Day’ practice for those with heavy training schedules & who may be struggling with physical ‘over-tiredness’. For anyone who has ever experienced ‘DOMS’ (delayed onset muscle soreness) from overdoing ‘Leg Day’ at the gym, from overdoing the gardening, or a long training run or cycle, Yoga Nidra is for you.
Yoga Nidra provides those exact same benefits for those of us who are ‘over-busy’, who feel burdened by stress, anxiety & an endless barrage of thoughts. So it equally benefits those who are feeling mentally or emotionally battered; it is like a balm for the nervous system, allowing us to take a break from ‘Fight or Flight’ mode (our Sympathetic Nervous System response) & to enter into the healing & nourishing ‘Rest & Digest’ mode (our Parasympathetic Nervous System Response).
Due to being able to access this ‘Rest & Digest’ mode so well, Yoga Nidra has been much researched for & used in trauma-related contexts & has been found to be beneficial for those suffering from insomnia, PTSD, addiction, stress, tension, back-pain & other chronic conditions & more.
What will I be expected to ‘do’?
During Yoga Nidra, you are asked to identify sensations throughout your body & to focus on your breath, while (ideally) remaining in a state of relaxed awareness so that you may release deep-held tensions, some of which you may not even be aware. It is important to note that it is not actual sleep; it is ‘active relaxation’. This can prove challenging to begin with but don’t worry, after a few sessions, being able to stay aware & awake for the whole practice will become easier & easier.
What will I bring?
As always, when we try something new, bringing with us a curious mind & an open heart will help. On a more practical level, as the class is not physically ‘active’, it’s best to dress comfortably & warm. Layers are best to allow for our ever-changeable Irish climate. Bring your own Yoga mat if you have one, an eye-pillow (if you have one) & also a small, firm cushion or pillow too. During the practice, you will be lying still, apart from being seated at the very beginning & the very end so keep that in mind. Our bodies drop in temperature when we are still & the last thing you want in Yoga Nidra is to be distracted because you feel cold!
Namaste & see you for Yogic Sleep very soon