Improve Your Health Wellness By Olivia Ryan Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just RELAX? It sounds impossible, we know. Stress is always here to keep us frustrated. But, what if we told you there is a secret weapon that can melt away stress? And for free! Stress always finds a way to catch up, even when we try so hard to avoid it. A study actually says that 77 percent of Americans experienced physical symptoms caused by stress, as well as certain psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. All this stress is normal considering the modern, fast pace of life. Still, it is highly important to have the possibility to relax and live a healthier life. In today’s world, it is crucial to learn how to manage stress. So, how can you do this? By practicing yoga nidra, of course. We have all heard the benefits of meditation, but did you know that certain relaxation practices like yoga nidra could actually do miracles in fighting off your stress? What is Yoga Nidra? Yoga nidra can help you access a particular realm between sleeping and waking, which combines total relaxation and alert awareness. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? This is exactly what yoga nidra is. It is a crossroad where the spirit and the science meet to relieve the stress in a person, often resulting in improved health and quality of sleep. For those who want to rest from the hard day at work, yoga nidra is the perfect option. This is a passive meditation form, much less self-directed than traditional meditation. All you are asked to do while practicing this discipline is follow the prompts the best you can. Yoga Nidra does not require undue mental effort and is very different from what you have previously practiced. The Difference between Yoga Nidra and Ordinary Sleep In ordinary sleep, people get separated from the conscious mind. On the other hand, we hold on to a small thread of consciousness while falling asleep when practicing yoga nidra. The Difference between Yoga Nidra and Shavasana Even though shavasana allows you to experience yoga nidra, these two are completely different. Shavasana is a posture, while yoga nidra is a state of consciousness between awakeness and sleep. In shavasana, the body and mind are awake, while in yoga nidra, only the mind is awake. The Difference between Yoga Nidra and Meditation As you know, yoga nidra is practiced by lying down. This is not the case with meditation. Meditation uses a particular point to train the mind. In addition, it is done sitting up and spine tall to facilitate the movement. The Difference between Yoga Nidra and Hypnosis In hypnosis, the brain of the person is led into deep sleep and is completely shut down. Whereas in yoga nidra, the brain remains completely awake, but develops a different kind of awareness. How is Yoga Nidra Performed? Yoga Nidra is performed in a laying down position. So, if you were thinking of a person sitting cross-legged on a yoga mat, erase that image from your head. According to yoga nidra, this position can be painful and impossible to maintain for many people. For this reason, this type of meditation requires you to lie down and cover yourself with a blanket. Most importantly, even people with extremely busy schedules can practice this discipline. Yoga Nidra can take as little as 15 minutes before you go to sleep, so use those sleepless, insomnia hours to meditate instead. Even better, replace your average nap with a yoga nidra session. This can make you feel rejuvenated and more relaxed than the 15-minute nap. How can you do this? To practice yoga nidra, all you have to do is follow these simple steps: 1. Lie flat on your back and stretch the arms out by your sides. 2. Place a pillow behind your neck and under your knees for support and comfort 3. Close your eyes 4. Choose a clear intention and repeat it three times 5. Take deep breaths 6. Use quick successions to rotate your awareness through the right side of your body 7. Go limb by limb, starting from the fingers and ending at the toes 8. Remain aware of your body as a whole 9. Repeat the rotation on the left side of your body 10. Repeat the awareness steps until you achieve the desired level of relaxation 11. Remain aware of your body and the environment 12. Prepare to return to consciousness 13. Move your fingers gently and for a few moments 14. Take a deep breath 15. Open your eyes Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It is actually simpler than you think, but much more relaxing than you can imagine. Melt Away Stress with Yoga Nidra When the body is exposed to long-term, continuous stress, the person is at higher risk of health issues. According to Mayo Clinic, unchecked stress can cause serious, chronic health issues such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Stress affects every part of the human body, including the health. For this reason, you will find numerous techniques and advice when you look for natural ways to relieve stress and yoga is one of them. Becoming more popular than ever, yoga nidra is now known to have a tremendous effect on reducing stress. In addition to the previously mentioned health issues, stress can also be a cause of anxiety, depression, migraines, digestive problems, insomnia and other sleep disorders and memory impairment. This sounds terrible, I know. So, basically, even if you do everything you can to keep your body fit, such as eating healthy and exercising, stress will keep your cortisol adrenaline levels high and prevent you from making any progress. On the opposite, it will hurt your body even more. So, what can you do to stop is? Fortunately, yoga nidra does not request that you switch to a strict, highly active workout routine or go on a strict diet. You do not have to do anything unpleasant or time-consuming at all! At this point, you can get the most of this wellness routine and improve your well-being and health. The only trick here is to relax. This is the best thing you can do for yourself and people around you. If you learn to spend only few minutes every day to perform yoga nidra, you will find your quality of life to be much higher. How it Works Yoga nidra is also called ‘yogic sleep’ and comes in the form of a systematic method that helps your body slip into a high level of relaxation. It includes various techniques that activate different lobes of your brain, by which it slows the brain waves down. When this happens to your body, your cortisol and adrenaline levels will balance back out. Stress is caused by high cortisol levels, which can be greatly reduced with regular weekly practice. Are you ready to get better results from your daily routines, improve the health and well-being? If you are, start by giving yourself a yoga nidra session. Starting from the first hour of relaxation, you will find that yoga nidra is exactly what you needed.