“In yoga nidra we experience a state of harmony between body, brain, and mind. Then the unconscious barriers and blockages within the personality, which exist due to our negativity, are removed and the healing power of the mind begins to manifest.”
- Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati
This week we want to share a fabulous tool that one of our colleagues sent to us – Thank you Sam!
Yoga Nidra is a yogic practice that encourages an intense, deep relaxation sometimes called tantric relaxation. Now the word tantric is often thought to have a sexual connotation, however, in Sanskrit the word tantra means ‘woven’ and so here it represents the idea that we can weave together different traditions and teachings to inform our practice and so our experience.
Another simpler definition is the weaving of physical, mental and spiritual in all that we do.
With this in mind, then, we can choose to do many, if not all things, tantrically combining physical, spiritual and mental techniques, to open ourselves up to new experiences.
Getting back to Yoga Nidra, in the tool that follows; breathing, the yoga pose known as corpse pose (Shavasana) and a guided meditation are combined to invoke the deep dense of relaxation akin to the period of time just before we sleep where we are loosely aware of what is going on around us but we are not affected or even interested in what is going on. In other words we are in an altered state of awareness where our brainwaves differ from those that are evident when we are wide awake.
The purpose of Yoga Nidra is a little different to other yoga techniques which aim to foster a plethora of qualities including concentration, strength, flexibility, balance and wellbeing. The objective of Yoga Nidra is to bring about total relaxation.
When we are deeply relaxed we can access parts of Self that are often unnoticed when we are busy and focused on cerebral tasks. In this space we can process things that have happened, set clear intensions that will help move us forward and repeat positive mantras (san kalpa.) We can let go of any anxieties that are taking up space and release our attachments to certain outcomes.
In this altered state of awareness we gain access to the Universe, some call this the Divine. We understand that we are part of something far greater than ourselves, our family, our workplace, society, even our world. We are the Divine and we are at peace.
As ever, we like to present the evidence-base of the tools and techniques that we share with you.
Clinical studies have shown that Yoga Nidra meditation is associated with positive physiological changes, including improvements in red blood cell counts, blood glucose levels, and hormonal status. Two neuroimaging studies have shown that Yoga Nidra produces invreases in dopamine release and cerebral blood flow. The practice has also been shown to reduce psychometrically measured indices of mild depression and anxiety.
Other studies show a beneficial effect on insomnia, and further recent work has shown Yoga Nidra meditation has a positive effect on stress, sleep, and well-being in a large and diverse sample. In this study just an 11 minute exercise created positive effects.
The evidence is clearly there for Yoga-Nidra and even more good news, the link we are sharing is a fabulously accessible exercise because the Yoga corpse pose is, as it sounds, very easy. It involves lying down in a comfortable position with the arms slightly away from the body and palms facing the ceiling.
The meditation we are inviting you to try involves
· An awareness of breathing
· A letting go of tension in the body
· A body scan
The effect is a calm, centred feeling and an understanding that we have everything that we need within us.
This exercise is only 5 minutes long and so can become part of even the busiest schedule. If you have no where to lie down you could try it sitting comfortably in your chair. There are also other examples of Nidra scripts that last much longer, for when you have more time.
Tell us what you think of the exercise.
If any of you have other interesting tools or techniques please send them to us at email@example.com or if there is something you would like us to research let us know.
For more insights and a host of tools and techniques for exploring the Self and improving your
human experience see our book:
 Pandi-Perumal SR, Spence DW, Srivastava N, Kanchibhotla D, Kumar K, Sharma GS, Gupta R, Batmanabane G. The Origin and Clinical Relevance of Yoga Nidra. Sleep Vigil. 2022;6(1):61-84.  Datta, K., Tripathi, M. & Mallick, H.N. Yoga Nidra: An innovative approach for management of chronic insomnia- A case report. Sleep Science Practice 1, 7 (2017).  Moszeik, E.N., von Oertzen, T. & Renner, KH. Effectiveness of a short Yoga Nidra meditation on stress, sleep, and well-being in a large and diverse sample. Curr Psychol 41, 5272–5286 (2022).