One of the many benefits of Yoga is reduced stress and a relaxed and clear mind.  Read on as I highlight unique ways to use Yoga for stress relief and relaxation!  “The antidote to stress is relaxation.  To relax is to rest deeply.  This rest is different from sleep.  Common to all stress reduction techniques is putting the body in a comfortable position, with gentle attention directed toward the breath.” Relax and Renew, Judith Lasater, PhD, PT http://www.rodmellpress.com/relax.html.  This is a wonderful book on restorative yoga.  Let’s take that a little deeper.

In both of my last two intensive four-day trainings with YogaFit® on Restorative Yoga and Yoga Therapy, Yoga Nidra was discussed and we were able to experience a couple of Yoga Nidra sessions.  Richard Miller, PhD, aptly explains that reading about Yoga Nidra is “a bit like reading a description of sugar before you’ve ever tasted such a treat.” ~ Yoga Nidra, The Meditative Heart of Yoga, by Richard Miller, PhD.  So if you like what you’re reading here, you’re going to love actually experiencing a Yoga Nidra!

Dr. Miller equates Yoga Nidra to that timeframe between sleep and awake where we wake up naturally in a state of profound relaxation. We can all access this deep state any time of day by taking the time for Yoga Nidra.  It induces a profound relaxation in the body and mind, eliminates stress, overcomes insomnia, solves personal and interpersonal problems, resolves trauma and neutralizes and overcomes anxiety, fear, anger, and depression.

Yoga Nidra helps burn away negative patterns of conditioning.  While experiencing a Yoga Nidra session, we are unaware of the stress, tension, and conflict that we experience during our waking state.  We experience a profound sense of contentment and equanimity.  “The practice of Yoga Nidra teaches you how to consciously live in and as this Natural State of equanimity even as you go about daily life.” –Yoga Nidra, The Meditative Heart of Yoga, by Richard Miller.  I want some of that…don’t you?!

While this is not hypnosis, it has similarities in that while you are in a profound state of receptive relaxation, you remain totally aware and alert throughout the process.

To experience a taste of Yoga Nidra, here’s a couple of links:
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The actual length of a Yoga Nidra can be longer than this one—the ones I experienced were 30-40 minutes of glorious relaxation. Yoga Nidra can be performed in a matter of seconds, a few minutes, or it can be an in-depth practice lasting an hour or more.

Richard Miller is known as the “granddaddy” of Yoga Nidra and his wonderful Web-site is:  http://www.irest.us/. To listen to a short excerpt from Richard Miller, here’s a link:

http://www.soundstrue.com/shop/Yoga-Nidra/2730.productdetails?gclid=CLeto8Wb-K4CFUZgTAodmUVFzA

Julie Lusk also has a wonderful newsletter with excellent ways to relax during your day as well as has her own Yoga Nidra CD, Real Relaxation, which I highlight in this newsletter’s featured CD:  http://www.wholesomeresources.com/buy_shop_books_CD.htm.

I learned in both YogaFit® trainings that it takes the body a full eight minutes to even be ready to relax.  Did you get that?  Eight minutes for the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in and start to do its healing work on the body. That was one of the key points in the Yoga Nidra training.  How many of us take eight minutes to prepare to relax, let alone take eight minutes to relax?  Even a typical “final relaxation” at the end of a Yoga class isn’t that long.  (See the Yoga Pose featured this month for more on “final relaxation”.)

Restorative Yoga, Yoga Nidra, and Hyp-Yoga during final relaxation (see the pose featured this month) provide wonderful ways to use the power of Yoga to enhance your well-being and promote relaxation and stress-relief.  I plan to incorporate more of these practices into my yoga classes and offerings!

If you found the above interesting, please consider taking my meditation “how to” classes.  Visit my Web-site, www.betterdayyoga.com, for details.