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wellness / mental health

Healing Meditation for Trauma With Yoga Nidra

by BetterSleep
Dec 15 • 3 min read

Trauma is an animal response to a frightening situation that manifests as an extreme form of stress. Trauma Triggers fearful memories, nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, and many physical symptoms. Yoga Nidra, a type of relaxation meditation, can be a powerful tool for healing from trauma while also helping you sleep better.

About Trauma

Not everyone reacts the same way to scary experiences. Some people develop trauma disorders after experiencing violence, going through a natural disaster, being in combat, and from other life-threatening circumstances.

Trauma disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), require professional mental health support, with relaxation practices like meditation acting as important aids for managing symptoms.

About Yoga Nidra Meditation

Yoga Nidra is an ancient type of meditation that induces a sleep-like state of relaxation. The goal is to achieve a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping. Many yoga classes end with a brief, guided yoga Nidra session to relax the mind and body after an invigorating workout.

The practice of Yoga Nidra meditation involves focusing on breathing and body sensations while relaxing the mind into another state of consciousness. The state is different from sleeping, but it is very restful. Some practitioners claim it provides better rest than a few hours of sleep.

Yoga Nidra Aids Healing From Trauma

Trauma has a big impact on mental health, sleep, and physical health. While trauma disorders require professional treatment, yoga Nidra is a useful supplement. It can help you relax, heal, and get a better night’s sleep with fewer nightmares.

One of the most important studies to prove that yoga Nidra helps manage trauma involved combat veterans with PTSD. The Department of Defense worked with the Integrative Restoration Institute to develop a yoga Nidra protocol known as iRest for traumatized veterans. The practice involved recognizing negative feelings and sensations and then imagining their opposites.

The study found that eight weeks of practice with the protocol reduced anxiety, anger, and emotional outbursts. Conversely, the practice increased self-awareness, a sense of peace, and relaxation. Similar studies have found that Yoga Nidra is beneficial for managing depression, anxiety, substance abuse, grief, and insomnia.

How To Use Yoga Nidra To Improve Sleep and Manage Trauma

The best way to begin using Yoga Nidra to manage trauma is to try guided sessions, such as those offered on BetterSleep. A session of Yoga Nidra typically includes five components to control negative emotions and induce relaxation:

  • A scan of the body to become aware of sensations
  • A focus on breathing
  • Balancing of emotions
  • Visualizing the opposite of negative emotions and sensations
  • A focus on self-healing

If you or someone you care about struggles with past trauma, it is essential to realize that Yoga Nidra is not a substitute for treatment. Use it only as a supplement to professional mental health care.

The research on the use of Yoga Nidra practices for people with trauma disorders is promising. It provides evidence that this ancient technique promotes relaxation and sleep and aids psychological healing.

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