Updated: Feb 14, 2022
In these challenging and busy times we live in when was the last time you truly relaxed? If you have a regular meditation or yoga practice then maybe the answer is today and if so that’s great!
By stimulating our relaxation response we are moving out of our stress response, our sympathetic nervous system and into our parasympathetic nervous system. So we are no longer in the fight or flight response that so many of us spend our days in rushing around and dealing with stressful situations.
Yoga asana practice (the physical practice of yoga using postures) always finishes with savasana, relaxation, corpse pose and it can often be the part that gets cut short, the asana practice runs over, you have somewhere to be, maybe you struggle to relax so you just get up and get going, sound familiar? I know from personal experience relaxation isn’t always the easiest place to be. When my late husband passed away suddenly the grief and trauma of it affected my ability to be in savasana and feel relaxed or like I even wanted to be there at all. Yoga Asana were different as it was easier with something physical to focus on to be present and in my practice. It is very important to remember to be kind to ourselves and give ourselves time to heal and grow, there are no quick fixes and sometimes it is hard. Yoga can help as it provides us with so many tools we can then take off the mat and into life. I am so glad I stuck with it and now I love Yoga Nidra, led relaxations, meditation, pranayama - probably more than I ever did before! Before he passed I was far more into ashtanga and power yoga than any of the subtler practices although I did practice them, now Yoga Nidra and other relaxation practices help me to feel grounded, relaxed, centred and calm.
Life is a journey, for everyone it’s different and it changes with time, we change, the people around us change, the world changes. A regular Yoga Nidra practice can really help reduce stress and improve relaxation and it can be practiced as a stand alone practice, there is no need for any yoga experience. All you need is a comfortable place to lie down, that you feel safe and secure in and that is warm and cosy, it could be your bed, the sofa, the floor or your mat if you have one.
A regular Yoga Nidra practice can:
Lower blood pressure and increase heart health
Improve sleep and reduce insomnia - 1 hour of effective Yoga Nidra practice can be the equivalent to 4 hours of sleep (Kumar 2013a)
Have a positive effect on your mental health, improving and pressing refresh on your outlook in life
Help you to develop your intuition and increase your creativity
Help you to remain calmer and deal with life from a more grounded balanced standpoint, moving away from mood swings and towards greater emotional understanding and stability.
Relieve both physical and mental tension
Allow the physical body to move into a state of deep rest
Help you to see the world differently, finding joy, strength and happiness in even the darkest moments.
The only way to really see if these benefits are real is to practice Yoga Nidra and see for yourself! I remember the first time I practiced Yoga Nidra, it was at a yoga retreat with an amazing teacher and I felt like I had never been so relaxed in my life! It was a transformative experience but at that time I was still far more drawn to using my mat time to practice ashtanga, and thats ok, wherever you are on your yoga journey is perfect and exactly where you are meant to be. However maybe it is time to consider staying in savasana a little longer, allowing your body and mind the time to relax, or to take up a Yoga Nidra practice and bring a focus to your relaxation practice. Practicing Yoga Nidra at home in the evening can help you fall asleep easier, sleep better and even lengthen the time that you are asleep for. It is an ideal class to run over zoom as then there is no driving, bus rides or harsh street lighting afterwards, simply create your space at home, dim the lights, take the time to practice self care, nourish yourself and relax deeply. To join me for Yoga Nidra click here