Name/s of approach: Yoga Nidra/ Yogi Sleep
Heritage/Spiritual context*: Ancient Hinduism, such as Tantric scriptures. No belief required.
Their explanation: A potent state of consciousness to re-encounter the truth of who we are. One hour is equivalent to 4 hours normal sleep.
Accepting Sceptics’ view^: A clever, deep relaxation technique that uses a rotation of awareness related to a neuronal map of the brain, so that our concentration is focused in proportion (i.e. extra focus on the hands and feet). This releases tension. During Yoga Nidra people transition in and out of alpha (relaxed), theta (meditative) and delta (deep sleep) brainwaves.
What to expect: yoga of the mind which produces a sense of being in a deep sleep and conscious at the same time (don’t worry if you feel like you’re temporarily paralysed). I was surprised at how quickly it takes effect. It seems like the process is quite similar to a Mindfulness body scan but it feels very different and requires a lot less concentration.
Helps with: too-tired-to-sleep, overactive monkey mind, brain fog, pain
Not so good for: people who don’t like an altered state of consciousness sensation. If it makes you anxious there’s no point!
Side effects/cautions: I’m not aware of any but its generally good to do things in moderation.
My questionª: is this the deepest relaxation you’ve experienced? If not, share!
Further reading: Yoga Nidra for ME
website: Yoga Nidra for ME (16 mins, music off)
app: Deeply Relax (10 mins, music on/offº)
youtube: Yoga Nidra (36 mins, music onº)
wellness required: ability to listen to instructions while lying still
*I will indicate if specific religious belief is required. Most meditative practices are rooted in spiritual traditions but you do not usually need to believe anything specifically to benefit from using them. ^ This is either a best-guess at other reasons for the positive effect of the practice or based on secular research. It should make it more palatable to those of you who can’t believe the official position (see ‘Why, sometimes…‘). ª Can you help me to understand? If so, please comment. º Indicates length of session and whether there is background music.