This is an ancient Indian practice to help relax and calm the mind. Yoga Nidra is referred to as awareness sleep. It takes you to the first level of sleep and has many health benefits. As well as group sessions, one to one treatments are offered.
The benefits of Yoga Nidra:
It helps in relieving muscular, emotional and mental tension.
Reduces stress and anxiety.
Treats insomnia, psychological disorders and psychosomatic diseases.
Trains the mind, enhances memory and increases learning capacity.
Increases energy levels
Heals endocrine imbalances, ensuring optimal functioning of the endocrine system.
Improves creativity levels.
Leads to improved senses and more cultivated body awareness.
Yoga Nidra restores the mind and body, leading to a restructure of the whole personality within.
Let me explain a bit more about 'Yoga Nidra'. It is commonly referred to as awareness sleep. Historically, the practice dates back from 300 BC when it was first created in India as a form of deep meditation. It also has connections to Hatha Yoga and was mentioned in scripts from 1450 and in more modern times it re-emerged in 1891 and was re-introduced by westerners and was referred to it as 'breath based relaxation', 'Brain Control', 'Concious Auto-Suggestion', 'Autogentic Training' and has been used in many countries including USA, Switzerland, France and Germany and is now rapidly growing and being recognized in the UK especially by those working within the financial sector as it has been described by many as "the only way they can relax and switch off from work" due to the powerful technique in which one can learn to relax consciously in a state of dynamic sleep.
Yoga Nidra is a systematic method of inducing complete, physical, mental and emotional relaxation. 'Yoga' means union and 'Nidra' means sleep. During the practice one appears to be asleep but the consciousness is still functioning at a deeper level of awareness. In this state of mediation between sleep and wakefulness, contact with the subconscious and unconscious dimensions occurs spontaneously.
The state of relaxation in Yoga Nidra is reached by turning inwards, away from outer experiences. If the consciousness is separated from external awareness and from sleep, the mind state becomes very powerful and can be applied in many ways. For example, the memory can be developed to increase knowledge and creativity.
On a wider scale, this form of meditation has been used by many people of all diversities and ages. In particular, it has been practised in prisons as it helps calm the mind and improve positivity, it has been used in care homes to help the elderly increase their imagination and can give them comfort by taking them through their imagination to a restful place as they near the end of their life cycle, schools have used it for children who are hyperactive and Hospice have used it for those suffering with cancer and who have incurable illnesses as they find it very uplifting and gives them comfort and reassurance as it can take them away from the present but can also prepare them to death. It has many benefits for all.
There are many methods used by the practitioner regarding mind and body awareness. Numbers can be used, opposites are used using the left and right areas of the brain by focusing on the left and right body areas. Yoga Nidra requires a highly skilled practitioner to perform this type of meditation practice which is deeper than the average meditation session and as such the practitioner needs to be highly trained to bring the client back to a state of conscious awareness and needs to be sympathetic is using acceptable visualizations which are suitable and do not provoke unnecessary anxiety, etc. (For example: going into a dark cave, mentioning spiders, etc.).