September 7, 2016 Rachel

Yoga Nidra योग निद्रा – what is it?

It is interesting to see how yoga nidra, where we literally do ‘nothing’, can do wonders for the body and mind. I find yoga nidra as restorative as sleep, or even much more than sleep. It offers benefits that go deep down to the subtler levels of our personality.

We often equate ‘relaxation’ with activities like listening to music or walking in nature, or simply having a quiet time. Relaxation is something we do naturally, and we don’t need any special training or techniques.

However, deep relaxation is something very different. It quietens your mind and releases physical tension in your body. In a state of deep relaxation, your heart beat and breathing slow down, and your body and mind become deeply calm.

There are many techniques to help you relax deeply, including the practice of yoga nidra, or ‘psychic sleep’.

Yoga nidra comes from the Indian yoga tradition. The guided technique could be described as a lying down form of meditation that uses the whole body as a focus of awareness. It works on something called our body of energy or life force, which in India is known as prana, and in China it is called chi.

Nearly all spiritual traditions acknowledge the existence of a body of energy that permeates the physical body and is responsible for our health and well being. The aim of acupuncture and all martial arts, for example, is to balance and enhance the flow of life force in your body.

Yoga nidra also aims to enhance and balance this energy. Moreover, it does so in an enjoyable and effortless way that involves no costly equipment or training. Some practitioners describe yoga nidra as a form of self-administered acupuncture.

Practitioners say that with regular practice, yoga nidra can have profound physical, psychological and spiritual benefits. The most common feedback we get is that stress and tension is released, and sleep is enhanced.

Importantly, please remember, Yoga Nidra requires no previous meditation experience – it’s for everyone! Our mind may tell us that Hatha yoga and the ‘difficult postures, balance, or strength required’ to do a class is not for ‘me’; however Yoga nidra is a practice that everyone from children to seniors can do very easily. It’s easy to follow at any age, and all that is needed is your body! Preferably you lie down on the floor, but if you can’t do that, you can still do this practice seated. It’s also something you can do anywhere, anytime. Learn the techniques and then enjoy the benefits of this practice while you’re lying on the beach, sitting at your work desk, or “watching” a star wars / romantic comedy with your loved one (for the females / males respectively).

We look forward to seeing you on Monday nights at Nundah, 6:30pm!

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