Meditation… What is it? How does one ‘do it?’
Well, for those of us who are pretty sure they’re the one person that just can’t meditate, there may be a very relaxing solution. Yoga Nidra is a practice of yoga that focuses specifically on putting you in a state where you are better able to clear your mind of the clutter, solve problems and create intentions for your life.
Also known as yogic sleep or sleep with awareness. Yoga Nidra is an ancient practice that is rapidly gaining popularity. Studies have shown that Yoga Nidra may help with insomnia, anxiety, depression, addiction and chronic pain. In 2006, the Department of Defense conducted research at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on the effectiveness of Yoga Nidra on soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder. This led to the integration of Yoga Nidra into weekly treatment programs for soldiers in several VA facilities across the country. The neat thing is, you don’t have to meditate or be a ‘yogi’ to do Yoga Nidra.
How does this all work?
During a typical Yoga Nidra class, the instructor will have you lying in a comfortable position. That’s right, there’s no downward dog or planks in this yoga experience. Yoga Nidra usually lasts 20-45 minutes, allowing for the body and mind to really sink into the practice. The teacher will then guide you through certain stages. You start by developing an intention for your life and for the practice. Then you learn to focus your awareness on your breath, bodily sensations, emotions and thoughts. Throughout, you are encouraged to tap into an underlying sense of peace that is always present and to cultivate an ability to observe and welcome whatever is present without becoming involved.
Unlike other forms of meditation, in which you focus on a mantra or on your breath, Yoga Nidra asks you simply to let go. If you find most forms of meditation are intimidating and you’re just sitting there, wondering if you’re ‘doing it right,’ while still overwhelmed with all the thoughts racing in your head,Yoga Nidra might be just the trick for you.
One of the places to possibly experience Yoga Nidra is in the wellness workshops offered through PEAK. Take a look at the next available class here.
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THE REAL RISKS OF ZIKA VIRUS
Tiny mosquitoes are causing big problems — and making big headlines — in South America, Central America and the Caribbean. The Zika virus is causing panic due to a possible link to birth defects in the babies of mothers who contracted the illness during pregnancy. However, very little is yet known about it.
“It is important to realize that we are in the early stages of understanding this outbreak,” says Andrew Pavia, M.D., the Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases for University of Utah Health Care. “It is not yet completely proven that Zika is the cause of these birth defects, like microcephaly.”
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For more expert health news and information, visit healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed.