Yoga nidra (“yogic sleep”) meditation feels awesome for a reason – it is actually changing your physical and energetic composition. Yoga nidra and meditation are now part of mainstream western neuroscience studies, these studies confirming that statement. Meditation practices can now be found outside the yoga studio and buddhist temples and inside large corporations as part of mindfulness programs. A continued practice of yoga nidra for 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, will truly change your life. I could list so much more than the list of 5 things below, but here goes. Yoga nidra:
- makes your brain bigger. Yoga Nidra measurably grows the parasympathetic part of your brain, your prefrontal cortex, while reducing the amygdala, the fight or flight sympathetic part of the brain. Since your prefrontal cortex ties to things your ability to learn, make complex decisions, retain short term information and show empathy, growing this part of the brain is key!
- improves your sleep. Yoga Nidra increases the natural creation of melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates sleep and ties to the speed of aging. Regular yoga nidra meditation can help with insomnia and help you fall asleep. Low levels of melatonin have also been observed in patients with breast cancer, so increasing this valuable hormone is especially key for women.
- helps you change destructive behaviors/patterns. As you practice yoga nidra, you cultivate your ability to see that you are something so much more than your brain, emotions and body. Over time, this enables you to see your thinking and behavior patterns more clearly, moving you from reacting in situations to being able to respond with actions and words that are aligned with your high self, your authentic self.
- improves your health. Studies have shown that the regular practice of yoga nidra helps boost your immunity, reduce hot flashes in menopausal women, lower blood pressure and more. Patients regularly practicing yoga nidra in conjunction with conventional treatment had improved progress with diseases like breast cancer, diabetes, asthma and depression. Meditation used in the workplace has also led to studies that show reductions in healthcare costs for companies – no surprise, as 80% of expenditures are for stress-related ailments.
- reduces stress. We live a life full of stressors, our body unable to distinguish between the stress of a tiger about to attack us and the stress over a job interview. Yoga Nidra helps us break out of this mode and move back to a place of calm. Through our practice, we learn how to distance ourselves from what is causing our stress and our patterned responses to it. Our ability to concentrate and be in the moment improve. We stop producing stress-related hormones like cortisol, which tie to improved sleep, improved mood and better weight management. We move back to a balanced place from which we can truly thrive.