Delve into NSDR meditation
NSDR meditation offers a wide range of psychological and physical health benefits
Many people find it difficult to sit with their thoughts, making meditation a challenge. However, many mindful approaches can provide the same relaxation and serenity that meditation does for many people.
The latest technique that can work wonders for you, as it did for Google CEO Sundar Pichai, is NSDR, or non-sleep deep relaxation.
The Google executive's favourite relaxation podcasts include those based on NSDR, which entails lying in place, immobile, and devoting your attention to the rise and fall of your breath and sensations in various parts of the body. It also frequently includes a guided visualisation component. “While I find it difficult to meditate, I can go to YouTube [and] find an NSDR video,” Pichai is quoted as saying.
“Meditation is a highly effective stress management and personal development practice that anyone may use. Regular meditation allows you to relax and unwind; it improves memory, decision-making, and emotional equilibrium. However, meditation can be difficult for many people who struggle to remain still with their thoughts. As was the case with Sundar Pichai, who recently admitted that while he recognises the advantages of meditation, he struggles with the actual practice,” says Namita Piparaiya, Yoga and Ayurveda Lifestyle Specialist and Founder of Yoganama. And that is completely fine! Because many other mindfulness techniques can help you achieve similar levels of calm and stillness. These preliminary meditative practices are an excellent approach to prepare the body and mind for traditional meditations that need intense attention and concentration. Sunder Pichai was practicing Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR) techniques.
Andrew Huberman, a neurologist and professor at Stanford University, created the term "NSDR." NSDR procedures largely consist of Yoga Nidra and self-hypnosis. Both approaches entail calming the mind and focusing your concentration to something specific through visualisation. These approaches assist people in entering a deep state of rest, reducing stress, getting better sleep, and improving memory and learning.
Let's have a look at several non-sleep deep rest techniques that you can implement into your regular routine.
1. Yoga Nidra.
Yoga Nidra, also known as Yogic Sleep, is a guided meditation practice that takes place in a calm, lying-down position. The instructor's voice guides you through the session while you fall into a deep resting state that is neither fully awake nor sleeping. A comprehensive yoga Nidra session consists of eight steps, including sensory withdrawal, intention setting, rotation of consciousness to different parts of the body, scenic visualisation, and so forth. An interesting phase in Yoga Nidra is to experience the opposites, such as pain/pleasure, heat/cold, etc. These activate many parts of the brain in rapid succession, promoting adaptation and resilience.
People who practice Yoga Nidra frequently struggle to resist falling asleep during the practice. Even though the purpose of Yoga Nidra is to keep your awareness in a condition when you're about to go asleep but aren't sleeping. You have enough awareness to follow the directions, but you are not totally alert. It's known as the wakeful sleep stage or, more technically, the hypnagogic state. The capacity to maintain your consciousness in this state for an extended amount of time aids with stress management, anxiety reduction, cognitive function enhancement, and even improved sleep. Yoga Nidra can also help you open your creativity, generate new ideas, and overcome old difficulties. That is why people like Thomas Edison, John Keats, and Salvador Dali adopted Yoga Nidra to gain creative inspiration.
Practicing Yoga Nidra for about 20 minutes following an intensive period of learning a new skill or subject improves retention and speeds up the learning process.
2. Self-Induced state of calm
These NSDR techniques (also known as self-hypnosis) use your breathing and visualisation to help you create a highly focused state. These approaches can help you sleep better, lose weight, reduce stress and worry, boost your confidence, quit smoking, and manage pain. To practise, simply choose a goal or target for your session and start by choosing a comfortable position. The stages of practice include relaxing through mindful breathing, followed by visualisation practice, affirmations, and finally a return to neutral.
For example, your goal could be improved sleep, reduced stress, increased discipline, injury rehabilitation, habit breaking, and so on. Let us imagine the goal is to heal from a knee injury. Begin by closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing. Breathing is a strong meditation and relaxation method that can help you achieve a feeling of serenity. Simply slowing your breath and extending your exhalation will relax your nervous system. Once you're calm and comfortable, start visualising - perhaps you enjoy wandering in the park, Imagine yourself walking pain-free in the yard, telling yourself that you're enjoying the moment and that everything is OK. Add as much detail as possible to your visualisation to make it vibrant, realistic, and intuitive. After 5 minutes or longer, gently return to the present moment by focusing your attention on the breath. These approaches are useful for changing habits and breaking bad thought patterns. You can practise these on your own or with guided meditations available online.
3. Other techniques like NDSR
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is another effective stress-management strategy. In this technique, you gradually relax each muscle in your body one by one. The technique is tightening and tensing a group of muscles while inhaling, then immediately relaxing them as you exhale. Muscle tension is kept for 5 to 10 seconds before being promptly relaxed. Following 15-20 seconds of rest, the following set of muscles is stiff and released. Tensing the muscles includes clenching the hands, shrugging the shoulders, wrinkling the forehead, pressing the back of the head against the mat, arching the back, and sucking in the stomach.
The operation is repeated until the entire body is coated.
The procedure is repeated until the entire body has been coated. This practice is founded on the idea that if the body is tranquil, so will the mind.
While not included in Dr Huberman's NSDR portfolio, this is a highly effective technique for tension headaches, intestinal difficulties, sleeplessness, and high blood pressure.
Other ways for changing our mental state include Body Scan, 61 Points Meditation, Guided affirmations, and Counted Breathing Practices.
NSDR can help people relax, fall asleep more quickly, reduce tension and anxiety, relieve pain, and even speed up learning.
The former is lying flat on your back on the ground, usually with your eyes closed, and following instructions from an instructor, either online or in person, as they lead you through a series of tasks.