How Yoga Nidra helps with Sleep, Diabetes, PTSD, and more

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The following message was written for BYC by one of our readers, an all-star yoga teacher and mother of two, Jennifer Lewis. We are posting this article for you because we believe it will be of value or interest to many members of our community. The message was written by Jennifer Lewis and does not necessarily reflect the views of Burlington Yoga Conference. You can email Jennifer (at) jennifer.lewis@acrotray.net. Thanks Jennifer! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- According to a recent survey put together by the National Sleep foundation nearly half of all Americans struggle with some form of insomnia at least for a few nights every month. In extreme cases, these bouts of insomnia can become chronic. When that happens the entire body can begin to break down. The sufferer finds their days dragging on in an endless fog of exhaustion. They can't focus, they're irritable and they're simple no fun to be around. The lack of sleep has been tied to such series health issues as heart disease, hypertension and breast cancer. Most medical professionals will tell you the the ideal amount of sleep is anywhere between seven to nine hours. When was the last time you slept that long? All of these sleepless nights have created a booming industry in over the counter and prescription sleep aids. Although these might be effective in some cases the result is often that sluggishness the morning after which makes starting the day extremely challenging. Is there a drug free healthy alternative? The answer is yes and that can be found through the practice of yoga nidra. This is also referred as yogic sleep. It doesn't mean you'll be dozing off while standing on your head or doing "downward dog." Yoga nidra is a meditative practice which can help calm the body down, shut down the stresses in the brain and result in a deep sleep. How can you benefit from yoga nidra? Surprisingly, there are a lot of ailments which have been demised thanks to this unique form of yoga. Help With Managing Diabetes Diabetes is a medical condition that has reached epidemic like numbers. It occurs when glucose levels in the blood stream are out of sync. The causes can be attributed to poor circulation, poor eating choices and poor exercise. The Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology released a study about yoga nidra and its impact on diabetes patients. What they discovered is that yoga nidra might actually help even out blood glucose levels. For the study, researchers on staff at the S.S. Medical College in India gather 41 Type 2 diabetes patients. They were divided into two control groups. One group was only given oral hypoglycemic drugs. The other group was given the same drugs but also entered into a yoga nidra program for 90 days. Those who were using the yoga only delved into the practice for 30 minutes a day. Blood tests were taken every 30 days to track the progress. The results showed that the yoga/drug group had greater improved glucose levels than those who were just taking the medication. Help With Menstrual Problems The Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology performed a 2012 study about how yoga nidra might have contributed to lowering blood pressure and heart rates in women who suffer from extreme complications from menstruation. This study was pretty basic. A group of 150 women who all complained from severe affects of menstruation where split into two groups with one group practicing yoga nidra and the other being left alone. After six months of daily yoga nidra practice, those women were found to have improved blood pressure numbers and strong heart rate variables. Help With PTSD The benefits of yoga nidra haven't just been discovered by Indian researchers. The Walter Reed Medical Center developed their own pilot study involving diagnosed suffered of veterans with PTSD.  These were all soldiers who were coming back from deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan and were having troubles adjusting to civilian life. For this program, the Army doctors monitored 18 sessions of Integrative Restoration or iREST which is a form of yoga nidra. The vets were one this course of treatment for nine weeks. At the end of the study, the researchers saw marked improvement in the participants when it came to feelings of depression and anxiety. They all felt better. Of course, you don't need to be part of a comprehensive control group to examine your own benefits of yoga nidra. Once you have mastered the techniques you can track your own progress with home testing. Just run those tests before you start the yoga and check back in every 30 days. If you find solid improvements we'd love to hear about that.
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