Recently I spent a day at a yoga ashram where I got to experience Yoga Nidra, a relaxing lying down meditation (I sat in a chair due to injuries, but I think it would be preferable to be lying down, if suitable). Yoga nidra is the deepest possible state of relaxation while still maintaining full consciousness. It is that state of between being awake or asleep, and you remain aware of your environment while being in a dream-like state. Although some people do find it hard to keep awake during this meditation!
We began by tensing the muscles in different muscles of our body, then relaxing them. Our minds were brought to examine the physical environment outside the room and inside the room. Visualized imagery was used, as well as a personal affirmation called San Kalpa, which is a short positive statement of intent of what you want to change in your life. It is an instruction from your conscious mind to your sub-conscious mind, which should be uttered in the present tense as if it is already happening.
I opened my eyes after a 30-minute yoga nidra session and felt like I had slept for hours, when I had been completely awake and aware the whole time. I felt like I didn’t want to move; I was connected to my body – in that moment I was not feeling any pain, and it felt amazing:).
Regular practise of Yoga Nidra is helpful to rest, restore, and renew the whole body, mind, and spirit, to process and release stress and tension that can lead to physical, emotional, and mental disturbances. Studies have shown that a single hour of Yoga Nidra is as restful and refreshing as four hours of sleep.
Yoga Nidra may:
Reduce chronic pain; strengthen immune system; lower blood pressure; reduce anxiety, depression, and addiction; balance the nervous system; calm and stabilize mind and emotions; reduce or eliminate pain medication; reduce or eliminate insomnia; strengthen endocrine system; lower cholesterol levels; effectively reduce PTSD (was involved in a study on soldiers with PTSD and subsequently used as a tool for them); remove unwanted physical and mental stresses and tensions, and enhance creativity.
So look up a yoga nidra practise today (I found one on You Tube), or even better find a yoga centre that includes yoga nidra in their classes, and get ready to relax:).