Yoga Nidra: My journey finding peace from pain & navigating perimenopause (+ 5 favourite benefits)

5th December 2023

I discovered Yoga Nidra over a decade ago upon moving to Brighton and launching my career as a Yoga Teacher. As a new teacher without any other income, life was quite up and down back then. I knew I had to keep the faith and determination in what I was doing, but naturally it was a bit scary. I found Yoga Nidra would help me switch off, let go of any concerns, and find some peace.

Finding peace from pain & navigating perimenopause

Over 20 years ago, I suffered a back injury that persisted for years afterwards (and sometimes even now), my back would “go” and I would be in spasm and pain for a while. Yoga Nidra emerged as my go-to remedy, helping all of me relax; my mind, nervous system, and then my back. Whenever I felt a twinge, I would lay in constructive rest position and immerse myself in a Yoga Nidra session.

Entering the phase of perimenopause over the past few years, brought challenges like lower energy levels and more intense periods. I also experience anxiety and disturbed sleep. Yoga Nidra is my essential medicine for all of this.

Now, I indulge in a Yoga Nidra session or a 20-minute Savasana most afternoons. I acknowledge that I am lucky to be able to do this. It helps give me the energy I need for teaching in the evenings. When I wake in the night, I am familiar enough now with the stages that I can take myself through a Yoga Nidra and generally am asleep before I have finished.

As my practice of Yoga Nidra and other meditations deepened, I developed a close relationship with ‘presence,’ which I might call my true nature. This is the place within (me, and you), that is always peaceful, content and always here now. Yoga Nidra is the pathway to this serene space inside. The more I experience it, the more I remember who I really am – and can connect to it at any time. It’s always there in the background.

Diving Deeper: continuous learning and teaching

Driven by a desire to understand more about this transformative practice, I have taken numerous CPD courses. I have studied with Melanie Cooper, Jennie Wadsten, Rod Stryker, and the Yoga Nidra Network, and have read numerous books.

Today, I share Yoga Nidras in Yin classes, workshops, and retreats. My class, Yoga for A Peaceful Mind, integrates a 30-minute Nidra practice. My monthly Deep Rest class starts with breath and Yoga Nidra, then flows into a sound bath, the combination works really well together.

Through my own teaching experience, I have also incorporated one or two of the earlier stages at the end of class to induce deep relaxation, or at the beginning of a class to help individuals relax and settle. The adaptability of the practice makes it accessible to everyone.

My 5 favorites benefits of Yoga Nidra:

Reflecting on the multitude of benefits of this practice, included here are some of my favourites:

1. Slowing down the brainwaves from busy Beta to the alpha / theta border to induce a state of calm, peace and switch off – almost like a hypnotic state.

2. Activating the parasympathetic nervous system – the only branch where true, deep healing can take place.

3. Accessing the right hemisphere of the brain by surfing the alpha theta border – the door to the subconscious mind. Likened to REM sleep, which plays an important role in dreaming, memory, emotional processing and healthy brain development. Becoming conscious of the subconscious is the root to all true awakening! I have become far more visual during meditations / nidra practices and I rarely fall asleep.

4. Increasing important hormones for physical and mental health and wellbeing. This includes melatonin, serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins and GABA. Additionally, there is a reduction in cortisol levels (potentially contributing to alleviating inflammation).

5. Personally, it has helped me in rebalancing after experiencing adrenal fatigue, promoting hormonal balance, compensating for insufficient sleep at night and aiding the process of falling back asleep after waking.

Gifts for the season and training opportunities

As the year draws to a close, I offer you my recent 70 minute class recording, Sleep Well – a bedtime Yin and Yoga Nidra practice as an early Christmas gift. And, when time is limited, you can engage in this Fingertip Meditation Practice – a mere 5 minutes can be a game-changer, especially when time is scarce.

Want a sneaky peak as to what you can expect to cover in our in-depth Yoga Nidra teacher training? Download a snippet of the course manual here. Please note this course is open to all yoga teachers as well as therapists, counsellors or other teachers with suitable qualifications. Please check with your insurance providers that you will be covered to teach with your current credentials. The early-bird discount on this course ends very soon on 22nd December!

Or, if you are interested in adding Yin Yoga or Meditation and Pranayama to your current offerings, course dates in 2024 are available to book now. Early-bird discounts are currently on offer and for all in person CPD courses, monthly payment plans are available to help you spread the cost. Don’t forget, all of these courses can be for self-development as well as for teachers.

You can also access the online Chakras & Elements Course at any time, so if you have space over the holiday period, this course is ideal as you can start when you’re ready, go at your own pace. We also have some nice gift options available.

At the very least, amidst stressful moments, remember to pause, inhale joy, exhale peace, and return to the wondrous present moment – the only moment we truly have!

In the worlds of Yoga Nidra
At the threshold to the dream
There are people settling
Their tired bones upon the eart

In the worlds of Yoga Nidra
As the thoughts and feelings ebb
There are bodies breathing
Into spaces of deep quiet

In the worlds of Yoga Nidra –
As the sounds are welcomed now
There are conscious sleepers
Taking refuge in this rest.”

– Shared from Yoga Nidra Made Easy
by Uma Dinsmore Tuli and Nirlipta Tuli

Article by: Louise Windsor

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