World Mental Health Day is the 10th October 2020 - this week I'll be sharing a meditation recording everyday to support mental health and well-being using some of the tools from the iRest protocol, an evidence-based practice.
One of the signals that something is wrong or we undergoing a lot of stress is that our sleep becomes disturbed - either not being able to fall asleep or waking up in the middle of the night unable to get back to sleep. The issue lies in our bodies and mind - when we are stressed we release stress hormones into the body alerting the nervous system, when we constantly have negative or stressful thoughts the body continues to pump these hormones into the system.
In order to bring our body back to homeostasis we need to work at the physical, mental and emotional level - we can do this through yoga, breath work and meditation. Yoga nidra meditation, however, is a unique meditation practice because it actually works at all these layers of the body throughout the meditation and the brainwaves mimic sleep. We can use this meditation to get to sleep and to activate the nighttime response that helps to clear the emotional baggage of our day.
Scientists have now shown that when we sleep at night we process the day's events and emotions - use this sleep meditation to review your day and ignite the processing faculties of the brain so that you wake up refreshed and ready for your day tomorrow. Sleep well dear friends!
Yoga Nidra Instructions
Yoga nidra is best done lying down in pose called savasana. It can also be done seated or walking but most people prefer to receive the full benefits of yoga nidra meditation lying down. Lie on your back, have your palms facing upwards not touching any other part of your body and allow your feet to drop out to the side.
To make yourself comfortable you should lie on a mat or something else that supports you - a bed is ok if you are using this practice at night time or to sleep. You can have an eye mask or something to cover your eyes, small head pillow so your chin is lower than your forehead. Your temperature also drops during the practice so if you feel the cold, have something to cover yourself close by. Yoga nidra meditation mimics sleep but is much more than our regular night-time practice. We can quickly drop into deeper states of consciousness and brain-wave states that feels like sleep. If, however, you are extremely tired or exhausted you may drift in and out of awareness. Please do not drive immediately after this practice - perhaps leave a 10-15 minute gap or integration period and have some water or tea. Also please set an alarm if you have an important meeting afterwards. It's a great practice to do for a nap if you’re feeling tired and after a session you might find it easier to think outside the box, do something creative or problem solve because it mimics the same brain wave patterns we have during sleep.