Yoga Nidra Practice Shown to Enhance Relaxation and Awareness, Finds Study
Yoga Nidra Practice Shown to Enhance Relaxation and Awareness, Finds Study

New Delhi: Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and Mahajan Imaging have found that Yoga Nidra has a direct impact on deep relaxation and increased awareness, according to a news release by IIT-Delhi on Thursday.

Yoga Nidra, often called 'yogic sleep' or 'non-sleep deep rest', aims to induce a state of profound relaxation while maintaining heightened consciousness. This study, titled "Functional connectivity changes in meditators and novices during Yoga Nidra practice," explored the neural mechanisms underlying Yoga Nidra and its effects on brain function.

Conducted at IIT’s National Resource Centre for Value Education in Engineering, the study was supported by the Department of Science and Technology under the Science and Technology for Yoga and Meditation programme.

The research involved two groups: 30 experienced meditators (individuals with an average of 3,000 hours of meditation and/or yogic practice) and 31 novices with no such experience. The study utilized functional MRI to examine brain connectivity during Yoga Nidra practice.

The findings revealed that the Default Mode Network (DMN), a brain network associated with internal mental activity, showed less connectivity in experienced meditators compared to novices. This difference in brain communication patterns sheds light on how Yoga Nidra modulates brain functions to induce deep relaxation while maintaining awareness.

"The more hours participants spent practicing meditation and yoga, the more pronounced the changes in their brain activity during Yoga Nidra," the statement highlighted.

Professor Rahul Garg from IIT-Delhi emphasized, "According to Yogic texts, Yoga Nidra helps bring the ‘samskaras’ buried in deep subconscious minds to the surface and eventually helps release them, thereby promoting health. The activation of brain areas involved in processing emotions is a very interesting finding in this context. This may explain why it has been found effective in anxiety in certain studies."

This study is the first functional MRI study exploring the neural mechanisms underlying Yoga Nidra, providing valuable insights into its impact on relaxation and awareness.

On International Yoga Day, celebrated on June 21st every year, the findings of the recent study on Yoga Nidra's impact on relaxation and awareness resonate deeply. The study, conducted by researchers from Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and Mahajan Imaging, highlights the profound benefits of Yoga Nidra, also known as 'yogic sleep'. It reveals how this practice induces deep relaxation while maintaining heightened awareness, contributing to both mental and physical well-being.

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