“You have a great voice to put people to sleep.”
Not exactly my idea of a compliment, but given the context, I’ll take it!
My friend was commenting after I guided him through yoga nidra, it helped him to relax – so much so that he wanted a recording to play at bedtime.
Yoga nidra, also known as dynamic sleep, is where the body relaxes deeply while the mind remains alert. Step by step, one relaxes physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Guided instructions prompt us to physically prepare the body, then the breath, and the mind, followed by physical, mental, and spiritual relaxation exercises, before being re-awakened.
These guided exercises focus on different parts of the body and specific breathing, which helps to balance the nervous system. As our brains shift from an awakened state to a more relaxed state, serotonin is released, which calms us down even further. Our bodies get the chance to restore themselves, and the stress hormone cortisol is removed.
Given the effect on our bodies and minds, it’s no surprise that yoga nidra has been found in prior studies to help stabilise blood sugar levels, alleviate depression and anxiety, and combat PTSD. Since learning more about it, I’ve been more consciously using some of the techniques recently – to manage jet lag.
I travel frequently for my “day job”, across time zones, including long haul flights… in economy class. I applied some of the relaxation techniques while flying- allowing my body to fully relax first, then my mind, and the next thing I knew I was sound asleep during the flight. Despite a 7 hour time difference, I arrived rested enough to go straight to practise yoga with friends!
When I woke up in the middle of the night in the new time zone, I again used yoga nidra techniques to relax my body. For the first time since learning about yoga nidra in YTT, I became aware and could identify that my mind was alert, while my body was deeply relaxed.
They say that one 30-minute practice of yoga nidra equals approximately two hours of deep sleep. I can attest that despite the changes in time zone and missed hours of sleep on the way, I had one of the most energised, yet restful business trips yet!