Transport yourself to the 4th dimension!
“Entering into a near-hypnotic state, we ‘hold’ our problem in one hand and ‘visualise’ the solution in the other……as our hands meet, we find the problem is solved……”
If you cast your mind back to IW’s 10-year anniversary message, last April, you may recall how we spoke of the power of ‘tantra’ being at the core of our success. Indeed, feel free to read it again as the tantric practice of visualising intentions, is a key part of IW’s coaching.
Yoga-nidra, with its roots in ancient tantric texts, was brought to the masses over 60 years ago. The practice helps you reach that, all-illusive, border between your waking and sleeping states. Sometimes described as ‘dynamic sleep’, it allows the body to enter a deep state of relaxation, while keeping the mind alert. It does not involve holding poses or moving through sequences but, rather, by lying still, you are guided through a set of relaxation techniques to put you in a meditative state.
There are various off-shoots to this, like ‘divine sleep’ which takes you out of fight or flight mode, calming you sufficiently to find your relaxation response. By lying on your back, with your arms at your sides, palms up, eyes closed, usually covered with a blanket to ensure you remain warm and comfortable, you are asked to set an intention for the session, as you complete your body scan. You are encouraged to focus on your breath, while being guided through visualisations and affirmations, before returning to being fully awake. Throughout the process, you become steadily less aware of the world around you, as you, instead, draw your attention inwards. It may prove difficult not to fall asleep, but you emerge from this experience feeling totally relaxed.
After a 30-minute session, you are likely to feel as though you’ve had the equivalent of two hours’ sleep: refreshed, centred and calm. The practice of yoga-nidra has been used to regulate hormones, stabilise glucose levels, ease depression and anxiety, and has even helped to subside the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), because of the deep relaxation states achieved within the nervous system.
Normally, when you fall asleep, your brainwaves move from active beta waves into the thoughtless or daydream state of alpha waves, before they pass into the slowest frequency of deep sleep, called delta waves. Yoga-nidra puts you into, what we call, a ‘hypnagogic’ state, which has you at the threshold between alpha and theta (the healing) state. This ‘moment’, when your body is sleeping, but your mind is lucid, has the potential to deliver some really powerful stuff!
Tests have shown that by entering this fourth dimension, somewhere between awake and asleep, there is a reduction in people’s rage and anxiety, with a genuine increase in their wellbeing, overall health and vitality. With 90 minutes’ practice a week, for eight weeks, there was found to be a significant drop in the experience of people’s perceived stress, worry and depression.
Call it hocus-pocus, psycho-babble, or whatever you like – if it works, then surely that’s all that matters?