Yoga Nidra is a beautiful practice that is very accessible and promotes a deep sense of relaxation in the body and mind. In Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga, Yoga Nidra falls under the fifth limb “Pratyahara” or “Withdrawal of Consciousness”. During Yoga Nidra, we slowly calm the brain activity down from our awake alert Beta state, down through Alpha state (where creativity and inspiration lies) and into Theta state. Theta state is often referred to as deep meditation but can also be described as the feeling we get just before we fall to sleep. Hearing is the last of the five physical senses to shut down and our aim during Yoga Nidra is to allow the other four senses to shut down but remain alert enough to retain our hearing. Eventually we reach a point where it feels like we are in a dream state, not really asleep but not really awake. The sense of hearing will still be present but the other senses shut down leading to a vastly reduced number of messages and chemical signals being fed back to the brain. The physical body and mind are therefore able to fully relax and restore energy back into the body.
This is an essential tool for anyone who suffers from stress, anxiety, insomnia or struggles to quieten that chattering mind, especially last thing in the evening.