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From chaos to calm: Combatting stress and anxiety through Yoga Nidra

Published in The Times of India on 18/06/2023.

The modern world is a stage where the pressure to succeed, the fear of failure, and the relentless quest for perfection take a toll on the well-being of countless individuals. In this chaotic environment, mental health problems are very prominent. People’s hidden battles with stress, worry, and burnout are growing more and more obvious. There is a dire need for an ultimate stress buster to find relief from stress and anxiety. And the safest healing method is the natural practice which certainly has no side effects.  

A powerful natural practice to combat stress and anxiety is through Yoga Nidra. According to Indian living traditions, the practice of Yoga Nidra is centuries old. Yoga Nidra enables one to unwind, revitalize, manage stress, and comprehend oneself and also aids in the realization of desired goals. Yoga Nidra practice helps us to:

(1) connect with our core,

(2) embrace change and

(3) graduate to sustainable living.

Swami Satyananda Saraswati, the disciple of Swami Sivananda, systematized and popularised the practice of Yoga Nidra. Midway through the 20th century, Swami Satyananda Saraswati created a thorough methodology for Yoga Nidra and popularised it as a unique practice within the greater field of Yoga.

Yoga Nidra is a potent practice that induces a profound state of relaxation and enhances general well-being, which can help reduce stress and anxiety.

The several ways in which Yoga Nidra can be beneficial for stress and anxiety relief are briefly stated below:

Deep relaxation: Yoga Nidra methodically leads you into a state of profound physical and mental relaxation. You can alleviate tension and stress held in your muscles and encourage a sense of tranquillity by deliberately relaxing various sections of the human body and paying attention to the breath.

Reduces anxiety: Learners are encouraged to develop inner calm and detachment from outside stressors while practicing Yoga Nidra. This is made possible due the orientation given before the Yoga Nidra practice that emphasizes the importance of witness-attitude. As a result, you can feel more serene due to this practice’s ability to help you overcome the impact of worrying thoughts and promotes a profound level of relaxation.

Balances the nervous system: Yoga Nidra supports the autonomic nervous system, which controls how the body responds to stress. Yoga Nidra counteracts the effects of the sympathetic nervous system, which is in charge of the fight-or-flight reaction, and encourages a state of calm and relaxation by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is in charge of rest and relaxation.

Enhances self-awareness: Yoga Nidra fosters self-awareness by training you to observe and experience your thoughts, feelings, and sensations objectively. You can acquire insight into your stress and anxiety patterns and triggers by cultivating this non-reactive awareness, enabling you to behave more skilfully in daily life.

Restores energy and rejuvenates the body: You can achieve an in-depth state of rest and renewal via the practice of Yoga Nidra. It aids in releasing built-up stress and exhaustion, enabling your body and mind to recover and rejuvenate. You may be able to handle anxiety and stress better because of this restored vitality.

Enhances overall well-being: Your entire wellness may benefit from regular Yoga Nidra practice in a lasting way. It can promote a positive outlook, strengthen attention and concentration, raise stress resistance, and improve sleep quality. In addition, you can nurture more tranquillity, equilibrium, and harmony by including Yoga Nidra in your practice.

Yoga Nidra is taught and practiced by many instructors and institutions today, providing many people seeking peace and balance with relaxation, self-discovery, and inner transformation.

Among other sensory inputs like touch, taste, and smell, the sound is the subtlest. Yoga Nidra teachers instruct verbally to guide their pupils into both the practice and the depths of experience that Yoga Nidra offers. The practice starts with instructions that aid in body relaxation, and from there, it takes the students to the body’s various energy centres. Then, by using the breath as a tool, these energy centres are worked on to gain a deeper understanding of us, particularly the physiological aspects, our tendencies, and more.

Finally, instructions that are visually presented elicit a range of feelings, thoughts, etc., and aid in our understanding and resolution of a number of problems that are buried deep inside our being.

The greatest way to get the rewards of Yoga Nidra is through regular practice. To receive the right instruction and support throughout the practice, it is advised to either use guided recordings created especially for Yoga Nidra or to learn from a certified instructor.

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