Yoga Nidra, also known as yogic sleep prompts the body to relax deeply while the Mind remains inwardly alert. It's the crossroads between Alpha and Delta brainwave states.
To practice Yoga Nidra, you begin by lying down comfortably on your yoga mat, couch or even your bed in Savasana. Then, based upon the guided meditation you’re following, you’re prompted to begin sensing the body and breathing in specific ways to incite a relaxation response in you. This relaxation response is the secret to Yoga Nidra because it balances the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems – the Left and Right brain – allowing you to unwind into various, beneficial Brain Wave States.
Yoga Nidra works by gently guiding you through FOUR main stages of Brain Wave activity;
The goal of Yoga Nidra is to achieve a “Hypnagogic State” — the state between Wakefulness and Sleep. It’s that magical time just before you fall asleep when the body rests while the mind is still reasonably lucid.
In order for this to occur, you have to Transcend the four states. First, the guided meditation will take you through the active thinking that’s characteristic of the Beta Wave State (14-40 Hz). You’ll then pass through the relaxed, thoughtless Alpha Wave State (9-13 Hz).
From there, you'll drop deeper into the Theta Wave State (4-7.5Hz). Here, your thoughts slow down to 4 to 8 thoughts per second. In this state, super-learning is within reach – that is to say, the ability to learn a large amount of material in a short period of time. Like hypnosis, this is also the state where negative thought patterns can be released. This makes the Theta State a prime place to address bad habits — formed in old neural pathways — and change them up for the better — literally rewire the brain for good.
Finally, the guided meditation takes you to the Delta State, where you have approximately 1 to 3.9 thoughts per second. Delta is known to be the most restorative state for the Mind and Body; your organs regenerate and heal, and the stress hormone cortisol is at the lowest level in your body. Unfortunately, it’s all-too-common these days that people don’t achieve Theta and Delta sleep in any given night, so quite simply put, our bodies lack the opportunity to restore and heal themselves entirely.
All you need to do — lie down, relax and enjoy the journey...
Written by Izzy Liyana, content creator & writer for HOA