The Science and Art of Yogic Napping

ASF-Photo-3Yoga nidra (which means “yogic sleep”) is an ancient form of deep relaxation.    When I first heard about yoga nidra I was skeptical, since I’ve  tried using different variations of the body scan over the years with little success.  Like a lot of people I have a hard time relaxing unless I’m exhausted.   But after using Jennifer Reis’ yoga nidra CDs and finally attending one of her trainings this past month I’ve come to appreciate as the science and art of yoga nidra, and I can more easily drop into a mini-nap or at least a state of deep and restorative relaxation.

Much more than your average body scan, The science behind yoga nidra is being used to help returning vets, after a 2006 study conducted at the Walter Reed Medical Center convinced military health care providers to start using yoga nidra (code name iRest), to help vets recover from PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury.

The art behind yoga nidra makes it much more than a body scan.  It never occurred to me to releases the tension inside my cheeks and my eyeballs until I listened to one of Jennifer’s CDs.  But it was a life-changing moment.  Of course we hold tension inside the mouth!  The jaw is one of the strongest muscles in the body.  Most of us walk around with clenched jaws without even knowing it, sending a signal to our nervous system that something is wrong, which in turn releases cortisol into your blood stream, creating more stress.  You can get a taste of yoga nidra right now by taking a few breaths and relaxing the inside and outside of your mouth, sending a signal to you nervous system that everything is okay!  Ahhhh…. amazing isn’t it?

We highly recommend adding yoga nidra to your stress reduction tool box.  You can access Jennifer’s cds on our resource page. Learn more about yoga nidra and Irest at the following links.

Check out this poignant PBS video clip about vets and yoga

Learn more about the iRest program

Learn more about Jennifer Reis

Have you had success with yoga nidra?  Please share your story with other mindful hub readers.

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