(yoga nidra and the relaxation response)
While the stress response is automatic, the relaxation response is not. Two strategies for how you can induce a more relaxed state and deal with the effects of stress include participating in deep relaxation sessions (yoga nidra) and learning the relaxation response. For individuals or groups, as a stand-alone offering, or included in workshops/presentations. For general wellbeing, stress-reduction and healing.
Yoga nidra (YN) is a practice of guided relaxation. This ancient yogic practice induces a state of deep relaxation and is regarded as ‘sleep with awareness’: the body sleeps but the mind stays aware.
Alpha brain wave activity, in particular, is increased, and overall brain wave patterns achieve a state of balance. In this deeply relaxed state the natural healing powers of body and mind are accessed, releasing physical, emotional and mental tensions while rejuvenating the whole system.
It is said that an hour of YN is equivalent to four hours of sleep. Yoga nidra can also be used to bring about personal change and manifest new directions in one’s life. This is achieved through reinforcing a personal resolve or intention (called a sankalpa) during the practice.
Beneficial from the first session, but the effects are cumulative. Many people experience:
relief from stress and anxiety
a general sense of wellbeing and vitality
Process: Participants lie comfortably, but completely, still. The facilitator verbally guides them through a series of mental steps. Lying on the back is preferred, but a seated or lying-on-the-side position can be used if lying supine is not possible, uncomfortable, or for pregnant women.
Group: one hour. The session begins with 15 minutes of gentle yoga postures and/or breathing techniques, followed by the YN session for 40 minutes. Participants bring their own mats, blankets and cushions.
Individual: one hour YN only, or 30 minutes add-on after individual Supervision or logotherapy session (no pre-relaxation postures)
Group sessions: $ 20 per person
Individual sessions: $ 75 for one hour YN, $ 25 for 30 min add-on session after Supervision or Logotherapy
Dr Herbert Benson, M.D., and colleagues, described the ‘relaxation response’ (1974). It is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response. When the body is relaxed it is in a state of rest and recovery.
Benefits of the relaxation response include:
Muscle relaxation and a quieter mind
Increase in positive emotions (and negative emotions decrease)
Promotes lateral thinking and creativity
Supports state-dependent learning
The only two requirements to eliciting the relaxation response are focus on a repetitive mental or physical activity coupled with a passive disregard for unwanted thoughts and return to focus on the repetitive activity.
The practice can be used in the extended form (10-20 minutes once or twice daily), or as ‘mini’ sessions when needed (from one to a few minutes) throughout the day.
One hour: covers the theory and teaches the practice of the relaxation response to individuals or groups. Both extended and ‘mini’ forms are taught.
Clinical Training in Mind/Body Medicine, Harvard Medical School Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, USA
"My first session was mind-blowing, in fact, all sessions since I started have been mind-blowing! It was exactly what my mind, body and soul needed at the time so I could begin the process of recovering from a few years of intense and challenging experiences."
Individual clinical Supervision for health care professionals, with a meaning-orientation
Short-term individual intervention with a meaning-orientation. Particularly useful for patients, their relatives, or anyone experiencing a sense of despair
Facilitation of reflection groups, with a gratitude focus. For patients and health care professionals, or for any group with a common interest.
Can be used for Supervision.