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Deep Rest - Yoga Nidra, Body Scans, Progressive Muscles Relaxation

Exploring deep states of relaxation.

Deep rest practices are a very important aspect of yoga. Yoga Nidra is most popular deep rest practices in Yoga.

Yoga Nidra is also called as conscious sleep or sleep meditation. In this body & brain, go into deep states of relaxation, but we are not asleep. Our brain activity slows down to a similar level, which mimics deep sleep, and this allows the nervous system to go through a reset. This helps:

  • Our brain to flush out toxins that get accumulated during day-today activities.

  • To repair, rejuvenate and restore body-mind complex.

  • Person feels refreshed and recharged as if waking up from a nice long sleep.

  • Several studies have shown that deep states of relaxation are conducive to learning, optimal cognitive functions and neuroplasticity (ability of the brain to change itself).

  • Yoga Nidra and similar deep relaxation practices are helpful to calm down stress response, reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, pain perception and muscle tightness, migraine and insomnia.

In present times, there are many variations in Yoga Nidra. I generally incorporate:

  • Guided Progressive muscles relaxation: We consciously contract and relax our muscles.

  • Body scan and autosuggestion: We bring our attention to different body parts and make a deliberate intent for them to relax.

  • Silence or guided imagery: Mind is very receptive in this state and we can actually command our brain to evoke certain responses. We can also use this phase for goal setting.

Yoga nidra is one of my most sought after modules, as:

  • Anyone can practice it at any level of physical/mental health.

  • Doesn’t need much preparation.

  • This practice happens in a lying down position so one can just let go.

  • Mostly people who are coping with intense exhaustion fall asleep, that ok too.

  • Since it’s safe and does not need any prior knowledge or experience, it works very effectively in 1:1 sessions as well as in sizeable groups .

Ref: iRest Yoga-Nidra on the College Campus: Changes in Stress, Depression, Worry, and Mindfulness. 

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