yoga nidra for sleep disordersBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

How does Yoga Nidra work for sleep disorders? Many people, in our contemporary society, experience difficulty sleeping well on a consistent basis. In fact, it is estimated that fifty percent of adults, in the United States, struggle with insomnia. The types of insomnia range from difficulty falling asleep, to waking frequently during the night, and waking up too early. There are many different factors that can precipitate insomnia. An individual may experience insomnia because of a medical condition, such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or periodic limb movement. Insomnia can also be caused by an inability to relax due to stress, anxiety, an overactive nervous system, and depression.

The practice of nidra is an ancient Yoga training technique that can help to address many of the underlying causes of sleep disorders. Practicing nidra exercises will help to re-balance an overactive nervous system and soothe emotional anxiety. However, the practice of Yoga Nidra will not address all of the physical or medical causes of insomnia. If you think that your insomnia may be caused by a medical condition, it is recommended that you visit your doctor to pinpoint the exact cause and treatment of your sleeping problem. For example, if you are suffering from sleep apnea, you may need the support of a breathing apparatus at night.

Yoga Nidra techniques help to facilitate healing, by promoting a deep feeling of relaxation and well-being, which will help to restore emotional, mental, and physical health. The practice of Yoga Nidra techniques help to balance the two hemispheres of the brain, as well as the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. Unresolved emotional issues are also addressed during a nidra session, by bringing up images and feelings that are causing pain, confusion, and anxiety, while letting these feelings, images, and experiences go.

A nervous system, that is too keyed up, and the existence of unresolved emotional issues, are big contributors to insomnia. Yoga Nidra techniques will address these issues, and re-balance both the brain and the nervous system, through a series of exercises. A typical session usually begins with some gentle asanas and the setting of a sankalpa, or intention. This ancient set of techniques then leads the practitioner through a rotation of awareness of all areas of the body, progressive relaxation, an awareness of the breath, emotional integration, meditation, or dharana, with a re-statement of the original sankalpa. A great nidra session will lead a Yoga practitioner toward a deep state of integration, relaxation, and improved management of sleep disorders.

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