Too much to do? You need to slow down. Yoga Nidra – or yogic sleep – can help you combat stress and slow down in a constructive way. And anyone can do it. Kirsty Norton explains:
Top yoga teacher, Kirsty Norton, writes:
Google ‘yoga nidra’ and you will find information about the science behind it, how to do it, different names for it and all sorts of great teachings. One of my favourite teachers does a whole training just on Yoga Nidra. It is that important in our times. But what is Yoga Nidra and why should you try it?
1. It’s Utterly Novel
I consider Yoga Nidra to be vital in my life.
After I gave birth to my daughter, I was exhausted and unable to practice the asana I had become so used to. This was when Yoga Nidra revealed it’s beauty to me, the fact that I got to just lie down and listen was and is blissful. No doing or achieving here. How utterly novel.
If it was down to me, one of the best gifts our population could receive would be twice weekly free yoga nidra sessions in every studio, workplace, home and park (ok, not in the winter for the park bit).
2. Detox From Chemicals Such as Adrenaline and Cortisol
I can tell you all sorts of good ‘facts’ about it but you can find that elsewhere on the internet. This piece is really about how this technique is an extraordinary medicine for our times and here’s why. It’s no surprise to hear most of us are living in a flight or fright response day to day. Stress has become natural in our daily living and our body gets used to living in that state. For a period of time. What happens is we then get hooked on the chemicals produced by stress in our body and we find it harder and harder to look after ourselves and slow down.
3. Let Your Body Recall Calm
When our body enters a state of rest, we are far more receptive, the systems of the bodies aren’t distracted by coping with our overfilled schedules and best of all, we remember how to live in a calm state.
Yoga Nidra helps to remind our nervous system just what rest feels like, a way to return your being to a state of homeostasis. It allows you to practice entering a deep rest whilst listening to the audio of someone guiding you into a deeper state. The body and mind rest but you stay aware of the voice talking to you. At first, some people are either restless and can’t settle (usually because they’re in a heightened state of reactivity in the body and find it hard to stay still) or they fall asleep (so wired and overtired that the body goes straight into deep sleep). The idea is to keep coming back to the practice over and over again to ‘train the body into remembering what state is natural to it. We aren’t meant to be running on our reserves and unless we take responsibility for ourselves, we are going to be burnt out and ill.
4. The Perfect Antidote to the Stresses of Modern Life
What I find extraordinary is the amount of people desperate for help with their stress levels, yet they find it so hard to slow down and give themselves the gift of yoga nidra. So – this is an invitation to find yourself a time slow this week and mark it in your diary. That is your yoga nidra hour. The best gift you are going to give your nervous system this week.