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Feeling wired? Get some yoga sleep..

We think relaxation is very simple, just sit back and close your eyes, however the brain may still be active, churning over the problems of the day, emotions, to do lists. We know that the mind is bombarded every day with thousands of thoughts, these thoughts may create a physical response, muscular, mental, and emotional, so when we think we are relaxed, we may not indeed be fully relaxed, even when we sleep... Which is why Yoga Nidra, (Yoga sleep) is well worth exploring.

The practice of Yoga Nidra, or Yoga sleep is normally at the end of a yoga class where practitioners enter a deeper state of conscious relaxation, moving awareness from the external world to the internal.

Yoga Nidra can be practiced by anyone. It holds immense benefits for all those who struggle to let go or suffer from lack of sleep, trauma, burn-out, and even anxiety. As a result, this powerful yet gentle practice is gaining popularity all over the world as more and more people experience its healing powers.

This practice involves a progressive movement of your awareness as you scan through different parts of the body. As you do this you will mostly likely experience and promote a sense of physical, emotional and mental relaxation. Yoga Nidra relaxes the mind at the same time as relaxing the body and helps us to clear out the nerve pathways to the brain. Through regular practice, we can counteract the effect of stress and hyperactivity in the frontal cortex by accessing different parts of the brain that can help us regulate awareness, supporting a harmonious, restorative state and a greater balance between the different layers of body and mind.

When you start Yoga Nidra, your brain is generally in an active state of beta waves. You then start to transition into relaxation and the meditative practice then takes you into an alpha state, the brain wave frequency that links conscious thought with the subconscious mind.

In alpha state, serotonin is released, which helps you to reach a transformational experience of inner calm, fluctuations in the mind start to decrease and you begin to feel more at ease. The body moves into stillness and a deep feeling of tranquillity and relaxation occurs. Continuing deeper into the practice the brain will then begin to emit delta waves, mimicking what happens when we enter a deep restful sleep. The difference between deep sleep and Yoga Nidra is that you stay awake during this final phase and you are able to access your subconscious thoughts and process past memories in the present moment. Repressed and unprocessed grief can loosen their hold, tension, and grip, whilst we can learn to find a little more freedom and detachment from unhelpful habits and thought patterns.

When you practice regularly, you might make a determination to do something in your life or become something, planting this seed into the now soft soil of your receptive subconscious, and as you end the practice, reaffirming your commitment to this determination. This can have profound affects for some practitioners.

Yoga Nidra is a subtle, yet very powerful practice that can help us deal with everyday stress and triggers. We develop a deeper awareness of our physical self and improve our powers of concentration.

Try for yourself, there are plenty of resources online of join a yoga class and learn the basics. Quite often I am told it is the best part of the yoga class, we all want to relax after all.

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