Yoga Nidra is very popular among yoga practitioners, but for those who are new to yoga and those who are curious to know “What is Yoga Nidra?,” I will give a brief note about Yoga Nidra, studies done on Yoga Nidra by various people and also its benefits in few words.
Yoga Nidra aka “yogic sleep” is a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping. It is a like a shallow trance. During Yoga Nidra, body is completely relaxed, while the mind becomes systematically and increasingly aware of the inner world. Yoga Nidra is done with the help of an instructor who gives instructions to the practitioner in
soothing voice to relax each body parts by visualizing each part internally. Yoga Nidra is different from meditation, but gives most of the benefits of meditation in short time. More than meditation, it is kind of a conscious deep relaxation.
Yoga Nidra helps one to attain the deepest possible states of relaxation while still maintaining full consciousness. It gives deep relaxation to body and mind. Yoga nidra is very effective in reducing tension and anxiety. The autonomic symptoms of high anxiety such as headache, giddiness, chest pain, palpitations, sweating and abdominal
pain respond well to yoga nidra. It has been used to help soldiers from war to cope with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It does not matter if you practice physical postures (asanas) of yoga or not to undergo Yoga nidra. The beauty of Yoga Nidra is it can be done by all. An experiment conducted in Menninger Foundation in Kansas, United States in 1971 revealed evidence of the existence of a fourth state of unified, transcendental consciousness, which lies in
the Yoga Nidra state at the transition between sensory and sleep consciousness. This study was conducted in famous Indian Yogi, Swami Rama while he progressively relaxed his entire physical, mental and emotional being through the practice of Yoga Nidra. Swami’s electroencephalograph revealed remarkable changes in the electrical activity of his brain. It showed he has achieved a very deep relaxing state.
In 2006, an Indian, named Sri. Kamakhya Kumar has done research on Yoga Nidra and was awarded PhD by Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam for his work “Psycho-physiological Changes as Related to Yoga Nidra.” In his study, he observed the effects of yoga nidra on physiological, hematological and psychological parameters of the practitioners and found a significant changes on these. Indian clinical psychologist, Sri. Sachin Kumar Dwivedi in 2009 found in his research that Yoga Nidra decreases levels of anxiety. Some other Indians, named Sri. S. Dwivedi, S. Awasthi and B.B. Pandey in 2011 found Yoga Nidra increased the “alpha eeg on alpha eeg biofeedback” and revealed that yoga nidra is a type of deep meditation. Sri. M. Nikhra and Sri. S.K. Dwivedi in 2010 found in a study, “Yoga Nidra Reduces the Level of Stress.”