Did you know that activities like reading, gardening, catching up with friends, yoga and walking are all active forms of self-care? These activities will NURTURE parts of your body, mind and spirit but they don’t allow your nervous system to slow down and to return to your basic 90 minute rest-activity cycle.
As a mum, your entire way of being is focused on making sure everyone else is okay first. Right? You race between work, school pick up and after-school activities. You grab a coffee or sugar fix to get you through. The thing to keep in mind is that if you continue down the path of consistently overriding your rest-activity cycle you’ll burn out and not be able to support those around you.
Over a year a go I started to practice Yoga Nidra, a form of mediation. I needed the rest so I could better support my family after my son’s autism diagnosis. I listen to a recording before I go to sleep each night. Sometimes, I fall asleep and other times I feel like I’ve fallen asleep but wake up right at the end. I feel less exhausted at the end of each day from regularly listening and are able to enjoy time with your family and be more present.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is a sleep-based, conscious guided meditation in which your mind is still active. Your body sleeps while your mind is awake taking in the guided instructions. It’s complete REST for both your mind and body. You get all the benefits of meditation as well as sleep.
Don’t let the word yoga put you off. There are no yoga poses. You’re lying in a comfortable position and covered with a blanket. So there’s really nothing stopping you from giving it a go.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra
Relax the brain
Your breathing in Yoga Nidra practice triggers the relaxation response. Your brain is guided to a delta brain-wave state where organs are regenerate and stress hormone cortisol is removed.
In the practice of Yoga Nidra meditation, your nervous system is calmed and your thoughts slowed down. The hormone serotonin is released to help you feel more relaxed and reduce anxiety and depression.
Create positive thoughts
During Yoga Nidra meditation we use an intention (sankalpa). It’s a positive statement or affirmation for yourself. Like ‘I am rested’ or ‘I am loved’. Your subconscious mind is very receptive when the body is relaxed and clears the nerve pathways to the brain to accept your intention.
Practicing Yoga Nidra for just 20-minutes is equivalent rest for your body to an extra 2 hours of sleep. Getting to sleep and staying asleep is also improved with a regular Yoga Nidra practice.
Yoga Nidra lowers your core body temperature which helps reduce inflammation. A lower body temperature helps with autoimmune diseases, allergies and other inflammation-related conditions. It’s also been found to lower cholestrol, improve symptoms associated with diabetes and improve hormonal function.
It’s easy to make excuses to avoid rest, especially when you have young kids. I hope these benefits will encourage you to take some time to try Yoga Nidra so that your body and mind have a chance to rest.
Download my 15 minute Yoga Nidra recording HERE
If you live in Geelong, I’m running a Yoga Nidra course over 8 weeks in term 4. Click HERE for more details. Maybe you’re interested holding Yoga Nidra sessions at your school, workplace, mothers group or community group. Contact me HERE and I’ll help you tailor something to meet your needs.
Which benefit motivates you to try Yoga Nidra?
Missed a post? You can check out my other Simply Happy blog posts like ‘How your family can benefit from you taking some time out’ HERE.