5 Ways Yoga Nidra Builds Resilience
Grace here. Yoga Nidra is a beautiful and easy to do form of guided meditation and one of the best ways that I know to foster resilience. The term Yoga Nidra essentially means Union of Sleep and Consciousness. The practice takes advantage of the body and mind's natural ability to fall asleep as a way to drop you into deep meditative states. This means you can start to see the benefit of a long-standing meditation practice quickly. Yoga Nidra Meditations take 20-45 minutes and are a great way to reset in early afternoon or to start or end the day. Here are five ways that Yoga Nidra Meditation helps build resilience:
- Connection to Self
As with any form of meditation, when you are in a deep meditative state with Yoga Nidra, you are able to connect with your Self. Your Self (as opposed to your self) can be thought of as your true nature, who you are before and underneath all of the defenses and beliefs that get built up over a lifetime. The idea is that when you connect to your Self, you are able to bring that connection back to your day to day life. The more often you connect to your Self the more you are able to live with that connection and that understanding of your true Self on a day-to-day basis. You may recognize this as one of the goals of The Seven Tools as well.
Maintaining that connection to your Self builds resilience by helping you to not over identify with any of life’s stuff. In Yoga Nidra we sometimes use the image of you being the sky and all your thoughts, emotions, beliefs, etc are all just clouds floating through. You are not the clouds, you are the sky in which they are all floating. That perspective helps us bounce back when we encounter a particularly difficult “cloud”.
2. Deep Physical Restoration
There are immense physical benefits from Yoga Nidra. As you relax into slower and slower brain wave states, your body starts releasing all kinds of helpful hormones. And more than just releasing them, the meditation actually helps balance your systems so that you release just the amount you need. We’re talking serotonin, dopamine, GABA, oxytocin...and this one is HUGE for resilience: Human Growth Hormone. That’s right. The hormone that helps your body’s cells regenerate. There are Yoga Nidra exercises that are particularly good for healing after strokes, surgery, and cancer. There are exercises that help regulate thyroid, blood sugar, and so much more. Yoga Nidra helps your body regain systemic balance.
3. Deep Relaxation
Doing a Yoga Nidra Meditation is the equivalent of taking a three hour nap. That’s right. It is so restful to your body, mind, and spirit that it is the equivalent of sleeping for three hours. Because you are generally laying down for Yoga Nidra, your body is able to more fully relax. You are able to enter a sleep-like state while meditating even without much practice. I have had people tell me they could not believe how relaxed they felt even the first time they did Yoga Nidra and then that they experienced such a deep state of relaxation that they felt rejuvenated and more focused the rest of the day.
4. Clearing of Old Patterns
This is one of my favorite things about Yoga Nidra. Because the practice helps reunite us with our true Self, it helps shift and release the old patterns that keep us living incongruently. We don’t always know what is being cleared but my clients and I have experienced tremendous shifts and deep integration through this practice.
5. Creating More of What You Want in Your Life
Yoga Nidra Meditation utilizes intention while you are in a deep meditative state. This means that your intention is placed in your mind while you are less guarded and more able to receive it. This helps you adopt the new intentions and build a life more aligned with what you want or what your truth is.
These are just a few of the many benefits of a Yoga Nidra practice. I am an Advanced Facilitator of the Integrative Amrit Method of Yoga Nidra (I AM Yoga Nidra). Because I believe so deeply in the power of Yoga Nidra, you will find them sprinkled all throughout our products. We offer a collection of seven Yoga Nidras to help you integrate the practice of them Seven Tools. They are a part of our Fostering Resilience in Uncertain Times class. There are two recordings included in The Chill Pack (one to help with sleep and the other stress). We use them as bonuses on the Summit All Access Passes. And I'm currently working on some new recordings that should be available in a couple months. You can check out our offerings of Yoga Nidra recordings here.
Dear Grace, thanks for this short and rich article. I’m interested in a source for the hormonal benefits of Yoga Nidra. (2.) Could you please share a reference?
Thank you for your comment and for your patience with my slow response. I am just wandering back from maternity leave.
You can check out Kamini Desai’s book Yoga Nidra: The Art of Transformational Sleep. She talks about the hormonal benefits in the book and has a lot of further references at the back of the book.