Can I ask you, do you ever get anxiety?
I used to before I started meditating.
It might sound weird that I’m saying this, but my journey of anxiety turned out to be one of my blessings in my life. I had to go through it to be where I am now, talking to you about health & yoga nidra.
I have a very sensitive nervous system where it attacks my digestive system in so many ways when in action, either high or low depending on the day. It kind of runs in my family. I thought I was going to be stuck with this forever.
And then by spontaneous choice over ten years ago , I randomly booked a silent retreat at the Dhamma Aloka Vipassana Meditation Centre. “ http://www.aloka.dhamma.org/”
This experience changed the course of the rest of my life.
I had no idea that based upon how I chose to nourish my mind and body by filling in nutrition & mental deficiencies that I could mitigate my anxiety 10-fold so that it was relatively non-existent. Amazing.
It was so amazing that I continued my education and practice in the realm of yoga, meditation, nutrition, exercise ,hypnotherapy and instead of choosing to escape to Byron Bay (like some do) and work in hospitality. This was my bliss and my personal path, and a wonderful way to contribute to the community by helping others find calm and peace within themselves first. The feeling of calm and peace, creates a beautiful ripple effect that impacts others around you in a positive way. That was in 2006, and I have never looked back.
If you have struggled with anxiety, then my yoga nidra practice is for you. I could not be happier to share with you this wonderful ancient practice. A solution to anxiety naturally. In my private sessions I go into diet & lifestyle and I talk about the role of sugar and caffeine in anxiety.
Emotional barriers like fears, phobia and depression can lead to binge eating (stress). By practicing yoga nidra (meditation) you are feeding your brain with stilling the waves of the mind through conscious entry into the sleep state. You want to feel 100% all the time right? It is more than willpower!
How are Yoga Nidra (meditation) and your brain waves connected?
You start with sensing the body and breathing in specific ways in order to trigger the relaxation response. The relaxation response balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and balances the left and right brain.In this process your brain shifts from beta, an awakened state with lots of brain activity, to alpha, a more relaxed state. In alpha, the mood trigger hormone serotonin gets released, and this calms you down. People who spend little time in an alpha brain-wave state have more anxiety than those who spend more time in alpha.
Think of a car: if you want to stop and turn off the engine, you first need to downshift. Shifting your brain into an alpha state starts its process of “powering down,” or coming into a rest state with slower, restorative brain-wave activity.
When you are in alpha state, you then you go into a deep alpha and high theta brain-wave state, the dream state, REM sleep. In theta, your thoughts slow down to 4 to 8 thoughts per second. This is where super learning happens. Kids and artists experience a lot more theta activity in their brains. Emotional integration and release also happen here, and structures in the brain change. It’s here that some people sometimes have random thoughts or see images. A person in theta may see colors or visions or hear the voice of a person talking yet at the same time not hear this voice. It’s where you enter the gap of nothingness.
After theta, you are guided to delta, where your thoughts are only 1 to 3.9 thoughts per second. This is the where you experience the most restoration, in which your organs regenerate and the stress hormone cortisol is removed from your system.
The Power of reducing stress-The Fourth State of Consciousness
From delta, the guided yoga nidra experience takes you down into an even deeper brain-wave state—one that can’t be reached through conventional sleep. In this fourth state of consciousness, below delta, your brain is thoughtless. This state is sort of like a complete loss of consciousness, but you are awake. This state is one of such a deep surrender, where your consciousness is so far away from the physical body, that living here every day would be difficult. Not everyone who practices yoga nidra touches this state, but the more you practice, the more you’ll receive glimpses of it.
Once you have experienced the fourth state of consciousness, you are guided back to a waking state. Again, you couldn’t live in this fourth state, but as a result of touching into it, you bring a little of its peace back with you to your waking, everyday brain state. You also are able to rewire your thoughts and emotions because your subconscious mind in this fourth state is fertile, more open to intentions and affirmations, than it is when you are in your waking state. As a consequence, in your everyday life, you begin to rest more and more in the space between emotions and thoughts, and this resting in this space gives rise to a sense of freedom, where you are not triggered so much by the stuff in your life.
Plus, in yoga nidra meditation, you are often asked to bring your attention to the space between your eyebrows—a spot known as the third eye. Behind this spot lies the pineal gland, and this gland is stimulated when you bring your attention there. Studies confirm that the pineal-gland hormone, melatonin, is a powerful agent for reducing stress inducing more restful sleep, and boosting the immune system, which helps prevent illness, promote healing, and slow premature ageing.
The Benefits of Yoga Nidra & anxiety
- 45 mins of yoga nidra that is widely touted to 45 minutes of yogic sleep feels like 3 hours of regular sleep.
- Yoga nidra improves overall health, anxiety, depression, and overall well-being for women experiencing menstrual imbalances and emotional problems.
- it is also known to improve low blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose fluctuations and symptoms connected with diabetes.
- Yoga Nidra is a sleep based meditation practice that helps activate the relaxation system, which managers your hormones. In sync with eachother yoga nidra and meditation help cells restore and repair, and together help decrease anxiety and improve your mood.
- Women have given me feedback after sessions advising how relaxed they feel and how positive they are in life and with their families.
How do inflammatory foods affect anxiety?
Inflammatory foods in our diet activate anxiety by causing brain inflammation. When we are eating these foods like (processed sugar), it raises glutamate (a neurotransmitter in our brain), which can cause swelling in the brain, resulting in hyperactivity, ADHD, and anxiety. L-thenannine is a wonderful and safe amino acid to help with reducing swelling of the brain. See your healthcare practitioner.
How can caffeine affect your anxiety?
You can eat foods that heal or food that can be a slow form of poison. The same foods play a role in affecting our mental health. Have you thought about your daily coffee and how it may affect your anxiety? Or you may think that you are self-medicating with it! I know I was one of these people until I went onto organic coffee, where I drink it in my own cup (not plastic). What I learnt is that processed coffee like instant (moccona) is rubbish. I recommend never having coffee alone! Always have your coffee with protein and fat. For example eggs with spinach cooked in ghee or grass fed butter. I opt for a bullet proof coffee with grass fed butter or organic full fat cream. https://www.bulletproof.com/
Hope this helps you incorporate yoga nidra and food as medicine into your life for a more peaceful life.