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. iRest has been used by many public institutions in the US including the US military to treat stress, anxiety and PTSD.
Yoga nidra meditation works by bringing the body into deep brainwave states that are similar to the brain patterns we have while we sleep - in fact the deepest state 'delta brainwave state' is the state that doctors put brain injury patients in during coma so that the brain can heal. This is important because during sleep we activate a process that sweeps the day's emotions so we that have space for a new content next day - so the old saying 'let me sleep on it' is true. The one important difference between sleep and yoga nidra is that during yoga nidra it might feel like you are asleep but the mind and body are asleep but Awareness is awake - so there is some level of consciousness during the practice.
During yoga nidra we are conscious of the images, memories, thoughts and emotions arising but we are almost in a dreamlike state so we don't attach or react to them. We have the space to allow them to be here and glean the insights that they have for us.
During this yoga nidra practice, I invite you to dive deeper into your own psyche and discover the messages our emotional discomfort brings. When we are relaxed through yoga nidra we can feel safe enough with ourselves to welcome our emotions and realise that they hold nuggets of wisdom. Go at your own pace. This is your time. Your space. And remember to be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to simply just be. Everything is waiting for you. You can come back to them any time!
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.
Yoga Nidra Meditation 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.