There are lots of different diet plans and weight loss programs out there, but could you really just stay in bed and lose weight while you sleep? If you use the ancient tantric technique called Yoga Nidra you could.
What is is?
Yoga Nidra is an ancient technique developed in India thousands of years ago. “Nidra” means ‘sleep’, so yoga nidra is a yogic sleep, or ‘conscious sleep’ practice. Those who engage in yoga nidra meditative techniques learn how to navigate deeper states of consciousness such as dream and deep sleep states, while remaining conscious. The practice trains the mind to transition states, or brain wave patterns, without falling asleep.
Yoga nidra has been scientifically studied and proven to light up large portions of the brain and alter brain wave patterns, bringing them into alpha, theta and delta states and allowing the practitioner to remain alert while doing so. The ultimate goal of the practice is to become aware of all the states of consciousness at once – the conscious mind, sub-conscious mind and unconscious mind – when this is achieved it is called Turiya, in the Sanskrit mother-tongue, or ‘super-consciousness’ where one becomes more masterful over his/her reality.
What are the benefits of this practice?
There are many benefits of practicing yoga nidra including reduced stress and anxiety, releasing deep-seated emotional patterns and subconscious impressions, awakening deeper awareness, learning to lucid dream, removing the cause of ailments and yes, possible weight loss. How?
There are eight stages to the practice of yoga nidra. Each stage is developed to take one deeper into the sub and unconscious mind. At stage 2, the practitioner states what is called a San Kalpa, or resolve, 3 times, to oneself. This San Kalpa can be any issue that you wish to be remedied in your life, including losing weight. You say this resolve to yourself in the affirmative, as if it is already true for you, for example “I weigh _____ pounds, my perfect weight”. Or however you would like to state it that feels good to you. This statement is repeated two more times and again at stage 7 of the practice, when you have reached the deepest state of the technique. In this way, the suggestion is placed deep in the recesses of the subconscious and unconscious mind.
It is believed that all of our ailments, negative patterns, beliefs and actions result from an unconscious belief that we are unable to access. So, when we try to change some behavior, or ailment in our life, we rarely have success, because we have not changed the root attitude or belief. During the practice of yoga nidra one gets to the place from which the belief about being over weight originates, we call this ‘the origination point’. When we can repeatedly target the origination point of any belief or illness, we can redirect it, and create a new point of origin.
Another added benefit – practicing just 15 minutes of yoga nidra is equal to 1 hour of deep sleep.
How Do I practice? and How often?
The Yoga nidra method should be repeated daily for ultimate benefits. It is easy to practice, simply get onto amazon.com and find a Yoga Nidra CD (or several different ones for variety) and start practicing. Once you have the guided meditation, you pop in your CD, lie down on your back, as if you were going to sleep, and begin the practice. The entire meditation is done lying down, in a reclined position, making sure you are comfortable and relaxed. The practice can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the level of practice you are using. There are beginner practices all the way up to longer advanced sessions, becoming more detailed and taking you deeper.
Practice daily, even twice daily, until you find yourself at the ideal weight. What normally happens, is you begin to notice yourself starting to behave differently, variations in old habits, as you have changed the core belief surrounding your weight. You may notice yourself eating differently, different self-talk and choosing exercises you previously did not. Most importantly, this process seems effortless, because the root cause of your suffering is being altered. When we try to change things consciously, we seem to fail, because we are battling a core belief with a surface wish. In Yoga Nidra you are changing your core belief to reflect the body and health you want, the rest comes naturally.
What does the practice entail?
As I mentioned, there are 8 stages to the practice, all done lying down. The stages are as followed:
1 – Introduction, allowing the body to relax and become present – awareness of senses
2- San Kalpa, repeated 3 times
3- Rotation of Body consciousness
4- Breath observation
5- Opposite feelings
7- Repeat of San Kalpa
8- Closing the practice – awareness of senses repeated
Yoga Nidra is a simple method of targeting challenging issues such as weight loss and can be practiced by anyone young or old. It is easy to get started and can be practiced any time of the day or night. If you are having trouble falling asleep, it is a great tool to use to help you drift off effortlessly.
Instead of all those diet-fads, try something different this time and lose weight while you relax your body and mind in bed. Relaxation is highly underrated in this society and is the main cause behind many of our most threatening illnesses, including obesity. You can find guided meditations for Yoga Nidra on-line, or check out your local yoga studios to see if they offer yoga nidra classes. Here’s to your idea weight and a great night of sleep!
Written by: Stasia Bliss