What Is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra, a form of guided meditation, has its roots in the meditative tradition of Yoga. It is accessible to anyone as it does not involve movement and the body rests in the most comfortable position that can be attained. The practice of Yoga Nidra induces a deeply relaxed, yet alert, meditative state and and bring awareness to our inner space of bodily sensations, emotions and thoughts. This process of discovering and welcoming what is already within us and getting in touch with our true nature which is whole, wise and powerful is profoundly transformative and healing.
My teacher, Richard Miller, PhD, a yoga scholar and teacher with an active psychotherapy practice, has created an adaptation called iRest Yoga Nidra to make it more accessible to modern/western practitioners and to enhance its therapeutic value.
Richard and many of the teachers trained by him have used iRest Yoga Nidra with a broad spectrum of people, including terminally ill patients in hospices, people in homeless and women's shelters.
Walter Reed Army Medical Center commissioned a study using iRest Yoga Nidra with soldiers returning from Iraq suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants reported reduced stress, better sleep, and better ability to interact with other people. These improvements were also confirmed by their families. As a result of these findings, Walter Reed Health Deployment Clinical Center has integrated Yoga Nidra protocol into its treatment program for soldiers as have other VA hospitals in the US.
Richard Miller's book Yoga Nidra: A Meditative Practice for Deep Relaxation and Healing is an excellent reference as it describes the practice in detail and has a CD that can be used for personal practice.