Therapeutic Applications of Yoga Nidra
23 May 2022 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
Yoga nidra has several application in the management of diseases of all kinds, and promises to play a far greater role in the future as its potential becomes fully recognized by doctors, psychologists and healers. Its value as both a curative and a palliative has been investigated in recent years in many research centers around the world, with extremely favorable results. As Yoga Nidra has been found beneficial in both acute and chronic conditions, especially in degenerative and stress-related conditions such as hypertension, coronary disease and arthritis. Many high psychosomatic component Diseases such as asthma, peptic ulcer and migraine headache respond favorably to yoga nidra therapy.
Yoga nindra also plays an important role in the fields of rehabilitation and geriatrics, where intractable pain, loss of motivation, and psychological depression pose major barriers in conventional treatment. In addition, yoga nidra has its most widespread application as a preventive measure, to be practiced by healthy, active people as a means of relieving accumulated tensions, increasing stress resistance and overall efficiency, and preventing the development of psychosomatic diseases.
Yoga nidra is an effective adjunct to traditional forms of psychiatric treatment, especially in cases which are unresponsive to routine psychotherapy. Those who practices yoga nidra becomes his own psychotherapist, recognizing and systematically alleviating his own personal problems and interpersonal difficulties.
In yoga nidra the subconscious mind is tapped, much as crude oil is brought to the surface of an oil well. Previously suppressed material, which is the source of psychic pain and aberrant behavior, is permitted to rise spontaneously into awareness, where it can be relieved and reintegrated into the conscious personality. The process is facilitated by the use of specific images and archetypes designed to liberate this subconscious material. Self-recognition and desensitization to painful memories follow spontaneously.
Yoga nidra is a successful therapy for both recent and long standing psychological disturbances of all kinds, especially high anxiety levels and neurotic behaviour patterns. Anxiety is an unpleasant emotional state or condition characterized by subjective feelings of tension, apprehensive and worry, and also by activation of the autonomic nervous system. The practice of yogic relaxation has been found to effectively reduce tension and improve the psychological wellbeing of suffers from anxiety. The autonomic symptoms of high anxiety, such as headache, giddiness, psychosomatic chest pair, palpitations, sweating, abdominal pain and nervous diarrhoea, respond exceptionally well. Even severely disturbed people can be taught to practice on their own, and to relieve mounting fear or anxiety in any setting, not only during regularly scheduled therapy sessions.
Yoga nidra relaxation and visualization are also excellent therapeutic techniques for children with behavioral problems and maladaptive social and environmental responses. Pediatricians, child psychologists and remedial educators are now investing it as an exciting new adjunct or alternative to more traditional modes of treatment using drugs and psychotherapy. For example, in studies conducted in the USA and Europe, hyperactive children who were taught yoga nidra displayed significantly decreased hyperactivity levels, improved attention span, decreased fidgeting, fewer random movements, noises and actions, and reduced level of skeletal muscle tension. The technique has been adapted in other spheres of child psychology, including emotional deprivation and handicap, and behavioral disturbances, with highly favorable preliminary results. Yoga nidra is also being used in psychiatric admission units enabling patients to reduce dependency on tranquilizing and hypnotic drugs and to increase their self-reliance, thereby reducing the duration of their hospital stay. Yoga nidra is taught to highly disturbed and depressed patients for suicide preventive measures.
Yoga nidra is successful treatment for insomnia, producing definite decreases in time required to fall asleep. Former suffers from insomnia who practise yoga nidra at some stage during practice. For insomnia, yoga nindra should be adopted in conjuction with a busy daily program which included asanas and other physical activities and which excludes daytime sleeping. As competence in yoga nidra is attained, dependency on sedative-hypnotic or barbiturate preparations diminishes, thus avoiding the dangers of long term side effects, which include nightmares, disruption in brainwave patterns and sleep rhythms, and other nervous disturbances.
Drug addiction and alcoholism
As our today’s modern life has been filled with stresses and headaches, addiction to tobacco, alcohol and other stimulants and depressants has become a big problem. As many people tend to believe that smoking or drinking helps them to relax. However, these methods can be never satisfactory, because they fail to provide the means to relax totally and enjoy life more fully, without the side effects of drug and alcohol abuse. By reducing deep seated conflicts and tensions, Yoga Nidra promotes a general feeling of wellbeing which helps to curb excessive consumption of coffee, cigarettes and alcohol and also management of drug abuse and addiction.
The influence of yoga nidra on chronic degenerative diseases has been investigated in several countries. In one study conducted with patients suffering form major long term disabilities, at the University of California Medical Centre at Davis ( USA), researchers concluded that yoga nidra is applicable for bedridden, incapacitated and chronically afflicted patients of all degrees. They report that yoga nidra can improve the lives of these patients in several distinct ways by:
- Relieving insomnia and sleep disturbances.
- Maintaining moderate pain outside the field of conscious awareness.
- Partially relieving feelings of despair and depression which so often complicate the outlook in chronic disease.
- Decreasing the requirements for analgesic, hypnotic and sedative drugs.
Yoga Nidra relieves pain
Yoga nidra always relieves pain by stimulating the pituitary gland as it helps to release its own potent pain- suppressing compounds. Research studies have uncovered the existence of endogenous morphine like brain hormones, termed endorphins and encephalins. These natural substance appear to be produced by the pituitary gland under conditions of extreme stress and prolonged, intractable pain, and are secreted into the cerebrospinal fluid which surrounds and supports the entire central nervous system.
The isolation of these natural analgesics, whose potency far exceeds that of any synthetically produced drug, is positive proof of the concentration of the ancient yogis that the body is capable of producing its own medicine. Researchers have proposed that these substances act centrally within the brain to transform the perception of painful stimuli which reach consciousness after being relayed from some peripheral focus of diseases in the body. Yoga nidra, by creating the sensations of pleasure/pain, heat/cold, etc, and the visualizations of specific yantras and psychic symbols, may well be the key which unlocks these magical secretions from the pituitary.
The ability of yoga nindra to control pain was investigated in a study at the Presbyterian University College Hospital, Pitsburgh ( USA) , in which the need for analgesic medications was eliminated, or markedly reduced, among the 54 patients participating in the stydy. Two thirds of them suffered from headaches of either migrainous, muscular or tension types. The remainder suffered from a variety of conditions characterized by long term or intermittent pain, including gastro- intestinal pain( peptic ulver syndrome ) , shoulder and neck pain( spondylitis syndrome) and lower back pain ( slipped disc syndrome). At follow up after six weeks of yoga nidra therapy, patients reported an average of 81% effective pain relief.
Pregnancy , childbirth and menstrual disorders :
The practice of yoga nidra throughout pregnancy helps to create the most favourable conditions for intra-uterine growth and development. It is now well recognized that stress liberates hormones into the mother`s blood which profoundly alters the wellbeing of the infant. Stress hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline cross the placental barrier and enter the foetal circulations. There they act as toxins and poisons, disturbing the ongoing mental and physiological development of the foetus. Highly stressed mothers, who do not yet know the art of relaxation, are thus more likely to produce children who develops maladptive behaviour , hormonal imbalance and endocrine disturbances in their own teenage and adult lives.
Yoga nidra also has an important role in the techniques of natural childbirth, such as the Leboyer technique in which deep physical relaxation and spontaneous breath awareness form the basis for drug-free labour and delivery. In maternity hospitals where training in yogic relaxation practices is included in prepartum medical management, expectant mothers routinely experience less anxiety before the onset of labour and less pain during labour and delivery. The result is a confident devoid of undesirable complications and a healthy baby who emerges into the external world relaxed and unscathed.
Yoga nidra has also been prescribed for the relief of pain associated with dysmenorrhoea ( disturbance of the menstrual cycle) and excessive levels of pre- menstrual tension. In a study conducted at East Texas University ( USA) , researchers concluded that yois relaxation training should be prescribed more frequently as an adjunct or alternative to conventional drug therapy for menstrual dysfunction and pain.
Geriatric medicine :
Yogic relaxation helps elderly people overcome many of the specific psychological difficulties related to old age, according to a study conducted in a French geriatrics hospital. Elderly people may confront a variety of difficulties, including loss of confidence, lowered self esteem, depression, unmet dependency needs, loneliness, boredom and fear of the future. The French researchers concluded that yoga nidra is especially helpful for those elderly patients who habitually transfer their psychological difficulties into physical symptom and complaints associated with their advancing age. These patients unconsciously will themselves into a state of rapid physical and mental deterioration unless their self- destructive copying mechanism is modified.
The elderly patients who learned and practiced yoga nidra on a daily basis were more capable of recognizing and managing their problems, maintain good health, a confident, active and independent lifestyle, and a bright outlook towards the future. In addition , physicians participating in the study reported that yoga nidra improved their patients ability to communicate scout their personal and situational difficulties , thus enabling a more fruitful therapeutic relationships to develop.
Here in Himalayan Yoga Academy, we normally teach our every students the technique of doing yoga Nidra so they can apply as well as teach many people on their journey of life. Also various guests who come in our school during their yoga retreat.if there are people suffering from different mental anxiety and disorders, we also teach them yoga nidra during their yoga and meditation sessions so that totally relax during their time of retreat.