5 Surprising Benefits of a Yoga Nidra PracticeJul 02, 2020
Most of you know about my love for yoga nidra. After years of practice, I finally had the time to study it in depth at the Amrit Yoga Institute. Now, I’m a proud certified teacher of the I AM Yoga Nidra Integrative method. Yoga nidra is a fully guided, sleep based meditation that has evolved over 3,000 years. When I mention trying yoga nidra to my patients or friends, the most common response is: “Sure, it’s really relaxing.” Yes, it’s true. Yoga Nidra is very relaxing. But it has so many more benefits that I want to tell you about today. Here are five surprising benefits of cultivating a regular yoga nidra practice.
1. Boost your Immune Function. During yoga nidra, we find that nearly everyone experiences brain wave states that generally occur during sleep. In particular, the alpha wave state is known to strongly rejuvenate our immune system. Spending just a few minutes in this state has been shown to give our sometimes- battered immune systems a fantastic boost. Whether we’re dealing with a pandemic or not, it’s always a good idea to keep our immune function primed. This second reason, improved sleep, is one of the biggest factors in having a healthy immune system.
2. Improve the quality of your sleep. One of the most common complaints I hear from my patients is insomnia. We know that most people suffer from some aspect of insomnia or disrupted sleep in their lifetimes. In our high stress world, doing is emphasized over being. It’s like we’re “human doings”, not human beings. I AM Yoga Nidra helps us to let go of rampant thoughts and naturally enter calmer brain wave states. We re-learn how to effectively activate the parasympathetic response, called “rest and restore”. By re-learning how to be vs. do, we can produce the necessary amount of the hormone melatonin – a vital ingredient for quality sleep. As a bonus, we also see reduced levels of cortisol, which is also immensely helpful for restful sleep.
3. Help alleviate symptoms of depression. Studies show that within just 11 hours of practicing a mindfulness practice like yoga nidra, there are significant elevations in our levels of Serotonin and Dopamine. These hormones are known as “feel good” hormones with good reason. Normal levels are protective against depression and well, help us feel good. Nearly all prescription medications for depression (SSRI’s and SNRI’s) act at the level of Serotonin to help with symptoms such as sadness, loss of pleasure and difficulty with so many other things in life.
4. Improve anxiety and chronic worry. Anxiety may be the most common issue my patients are dealing with today. I can name a dozen things that make me worry at any given time. How about you? We can quickly find ourselves in a whirlwind of thoughts, feelings and sensations that can drive us to constant anxiety. Yoga nidra allows us to let go of these stressful and racing thoughts so that we are better able to see things how they really are. In other words, we get a little breathing room between those racing thoughts and our awareness of them. The stressors don’t go anywhere, but our ability to deal with stress improves with each practice of yoga nidra.
5. Move your life consciously towards your intention. I have the privilege of knowing my patients intimately as their family physician. Many times, my patients talk about how they feel like their lives are on “autopilot”. It can be frustrating to feel perpetually stuck in the proverbial hamster wheel, right? How about if we change that wheel into a road with a purpose-filled direction? That’s exactly what we do in yoga nidra. We use the power of intention. By planting the seeds of intention during a yoga nidra practice, we begin to harness the power of our daily thoughts and actions, which of course eventually lead to the course of our lives.
Let’s face it. We are living in stressful times. A method for relaxing is important but look at all of these other phenomenal benefits from practicing yoga nidra! I love facilitating yoga nidra sessions. I offer at least 2 yoga nidra sessions every month, sometimes more. Contact me for your invitation today.
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