Guided Rest Improves Sleep, Reduces Pain & PTSD and Decreases Stress & Anxiety
As we watch in horror about a recent news event and global human suffering manifesting in various forms it seems to continually bombard us and we can feel the effects. In fact, we are exhausted, perhaps more anxious than usual, and our emotions are more intense and closer to the surface. This is what a human’s functioning nervous system does with psychological and emotional energy expended over a extended period of time.
As part of my own self-care routine, I practice a technique that has been extremely restorative to all aspects of my health, as well as deeply relaxing and restful. It is the practice of Guided Rest, otherwise known as Yoga Nidra. I am appreciative of this ancient technique and how it works in my life as it helps me to alleviate the stress I feel, reduce my chronic pain and provide the rest I need so I can not only do the work I am passionate about but also participate in my daily life.
These are just a few of the benefits that I have found.
- Ease insomnia
- Decrease anxiety
- Alleviate stress
- Reduce PTSD, chronic pain and chemical dependency
- Heighten awareness and focus
- Transform negative habits, behaviors and ways of thinking
- Foster feelings of peace, calm, and clarity
Guided Rest, known as Yoga Nidra, induces full-body relaxation and a deep meditative state of consciousness. It is practiced lying down, with the aid of blankets and props to comfort and support your body. Although, you may sit if that is more comfortable for you. It is an ancient but lesser known yogic technique described as “the sleep that awakens pure being.” This practice that is intended to induce total physical, mental, and emotional relaxation as it works with the autonomic nervous system.
The rest achieved in the practice of Yoga Nidra can be far more effective than the rest achieved in conventional sleep. It is said that its restorative nature for just one hour is the same as four hours of regular sleep and is profoundly rejuvenating for the body and nervous system.
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The practice is found in the place between sleep and waking. This is the place of clarity where wisdom is uncovered, a place we can learn to be present. Fear arises when we live in the future. The future is only a figment of our imagination. We really don’t know what will happen next. Regret and reactiveness arrive from living in the past. The past is now a memory. We can’t go back. We can only live in the present. Many of us are stuck in the past or constantly worried about the future. Yoga Nidra helps us access the clarity and wisdom that can help us to stay in the present.
It is common to notice physical shifts or jumps in the body during the practice. This means negative patterns are being released as we tap into our natural, restful wisdom.
Systematic practice of Yoga Nidra may improve the health of the nervous system. The more frequently you use this practice, the more quickly you will notice its effects. A daily practice is highly recommended. The time of day that you use this practice is completely up to you. Some people report better results in the morning and some people report better results in the evening when they cannot sleep.
Yoga Nidra has been used for a multitude of imbalances, ranging from simple relaxation to insomnia, trauma, anxiety, fear, and depression. In order to harmonize our own body and mind, we need to find peace from within. Yoga Nidra is a major key to finding this peace. The modern world is full of overstimulation and we are rewarded for multi-tasking. This ancient practice can be of huge benefit in a modern world.
*Some passages above are excerpts from the Veteran’s Yoga Project Training Manual
Guided Rest can also be used with Restorative Yoga. which is a nurturing practice to release tension and stress with intentional stillness, typically lying down with relaxed poses.
I have achieved various certifications in Yoga Nidra and its other names such as Guided Rest as the Veteran Yoga’s Project prefers to term it. Another name is iRest®, which was taken from the ancient practice of Yoga Nidra and updated by Richard Miller to work with those with PTSD, particularly with military veterans. Everyone and anyone can benefit from this deeply nourishing practice.
I offer this practice of Yoga Nidra or Guided Rest in group classes from time to time so stay tuned to my social media and the weekly newsletter for when it will be offered next.
Additionally, you can find many recorded sessions in the On-Demand Library that you can use as often as you like. More are added as I present them.
If you would like a more personal approach, I offer private sessions to lead you into a Guided Rest practice and can be combined with Singing Bowls and/or Restorative Yoga. Contact me for details.