Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dynamic Relaxation: Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is a gentle, ancient practice of dynamic relaxation that invites awareness to enter into the state that is between dreaming consciousness and waking consciousness.  In this state, the brain enters into healing theta brainwaves (the same as in deep REM sleep), the body enters into its healing parasympathetic response, and we are able to release samskaras - the energetic/emotional blockages and patterns that can drain energy and restrict your life.  Its said that one hour of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to 4 hours of regular sleep!

A student in my weekly Yin/Yoga Nidra class has this to say about Yoga Nidra in her life:
"In today's busy world with its abundance of chronic stress, exhaustion and over-stimulation, I find Yoga Nidra is absolutely essential for rejuvenation and relaxation.  Jasmine's gentle calm and soothing voice and presence helps me melt away accumulated stress and calm my jumpy nervous system.  Attending this class regularly allows me to sleep better, think more clearly and experience more love and joy in life.  It fills my cup!" -Susan

If you're interested in the research behind Yoga Nidra, take a look at the studies cited by the Integrative Restoration Institute, a pioneering program bringing a specific protocol of Yoga Nidra techniques into Veteran's and Military hospitals.  Meanwhile, here's some information on the effects of the Theta brainwave state that is induced by the practice of Yoga Nidra: 

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Theta brainwaves

(3.5 to 7 Hz deep relaxation, twilight state)

Theta brainwave states have been used in meditation for centuries: It is common for people to feel as if they are in a trance, where the mind feels as though it may have gone to sleep although it is conscious of what is happening around it. Theta induces a capacity for prolonged daydreaming, where a loss of time may be experienced.
Theta waves are also conducive to visualization and creativity and the mind in this very relaxed state is highly receptive to direct suggestion under hypnosis. As with Alpha, in Theta our brain hemispheres are synchronized and we experience whole brain functioning.

Features and benefits of Theta brainwaves
·        Increased sense of inner peace and emotional stability
·        Deep relaxation
·        Improved memory
·        Heightened intuition and inspiration
·        Calms the chatter of your mind
·        Increased psychic abilities and sense of spiritual connection

Health benefits of Theta brainwaves
·        Speed healing, improved physical healing
·        Release beneficial hormones related to health and longevity
·        Sleep onset and better more restful sleep
·        Reduce mental fatigue
·        Reduction of anxiety and stress

NOTE: Research has proven thirty minutes a day of Theta meditation can dramatically improve a person’s overall health and well-being. Theta meditation has also been known to result in a reduced need for sleep.

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If you're interested in finding out more about Theta brain waves, here's an internet article that talks about this deep restful healing state in a very approachable style, and cites experts to boot!

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