Yoga Nidra for Depression

Yoga Nidra As A Complementary Treatment Of Anxiety And Depression

The practice of Yoga Nidra may be shown as a complementary treatment to the traditional medicines and therapy of anxiety and depression. Unearth the potential of an ancient practice that might just be the balm your soul seeks.

How does that resonate with you? 🍃🧘‍♂️

Yoga Nidra for Depression

Yoga Nidra And how it works for depression

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), commonly referred to as clinical depression, is a profound mental ailment marked by persistent feelings of despondency, diminished self-worth, and a lack of enthusiasm in activities once found pleasurable. Statistically speaking, MDD impacts an estimated 17.3 million American adults, translating to roughly 7.1% of the U.S. population aged 18 and above in any given year. The causes of depression are multifaceted, and the strategies to mitigate its symptoms are equally diverse. This article delves into the potential of Yoga Nidra to improve depression, with cases Studies with our clients at Sleep Dragon. We provide some easy practices you can start incorporating today.

Yoga Nidra help release seratonin

Yoga Nidra and breathwork provide a holistic approach to managing MDD symptoms. These practices, emphasizing deep relaxation and controlled breathing, complement traditional treatments, enhancing mental clarity and emotional stability. Studies show Yoga Nidra can lessen depression ( we have covered this in depth), with many feeling better and stronger after regular sessions. I have a personal story as well on how it helped me overcome my anxiety after surgery. I wish I had documented this better , but I have shared things that work and have worked for me personally.

Can yoga nidra help with depression?

While Yoga and breathwork is not a substitute for medicine but complimentary. It can be a fantastic adjunct therapy. According to research, ‘nearly 21% of adults in the United States will go on to develop Major Depressive Disorder at some point in their lives.’ While these statistics can feel intimidating, and can be a result of environmental factors, past trauma.

Toolkit for depression with Yoga and Breathwork

 We can consciously train our brain to increase endorphins, and oxytocin (the happiness hormone), create more inner resilience and protect ourselves to tide over challenging times. There are proven techniques that we will share. NSDR and Yoga Nidra are these practices. 

1. Train the Mind

Train your brain to understand whenever things are going “down” and seek help. Create a toolkit for yourself that you can access. Breathwork techniques, walks, workouts, meditation,and more can all be a part of how you rewire your brain to access peace and calm within. A good rule of thumb is whenever you feel stuck, just “get moving”. Automatically, you will start feeling better. Think of it like building a flowchart for responding to depression. Moving and Meditation have found to have exponential benefits. Moreover it helps with Neuroplasticity. ‘Neuroplasticity’ is the natural capacity of the brain to evolve and create new neural connections that can promote health and longevity.

Training the mind with Yoga Nidra

2.Sowing the Seed of Sankalpa with Yoga Nidra- Channel your Sub-conscious

  • A Sankalpa is a deeply rooted intention or resolution you set for yourself during Yoga Nidra.
  • It’s like planting a seed in the fertile soil of your subconscious, allowing it to grow and flourish with each session.
  • By consistently revisiting and nurturing this intention, you can manifest profound changes in your life.
Sowing seeds of Sankalpa with Yoga Nidra

3. Relaxation in the Brain with Yoga Nidra

  • Yoga Nidra takes you to a state where the brain oscillates between wakefulness and sleep, promoting deep relaxation.
  • This state, often compared to the REM phase of sleep, allows the brain to rejuvenate and heal.
  • Over time, this relaxation can lead to improved mental clarity and reduced stress levels.

4. Clears up the Unconscious with Yoga Nidra and NSDR

  • The practice of Yoga Nidra delves deep into the layers of the unconscious, bringing to light suppressed emotions and memories.
  • By confronting and processing these hidden aspects, one can achieve a sense of liberation and emotional balance.
  • It’s like spring cleaning for the mind, making space for positive thoughts and feelings.

5. Break the Cycle with Meditation or Yoga nidra

  • Repetitive negative patterns and habits can be deeply ingrained in our psyche.
  • Yoga Nidra offers a chance to break these cycles by fostering awareness and cultivating mindfulness.
  • Over time, this can lead to the dissolution of harmful patterns, paving the way for healthier habits and behaviors.

YOGIC PRACTICES for helping with  Yoga Nidra and Deep Sleep 

You can do some simple yogic asanas and follow some basic principles to get good rest and sleep.  Practice the Yogendra Pranayama or the walking meditation done by Budhist monks. It’s about moving mindfully.

Walking meditation by Budhist Monks 

Walking meditation, as practiced by Buddhist monks, is a mindful journey that grounds the practitioner in the present moment. By synchronizing each step with the breath and cultivating awareness, this meditative practice can alleviate feelings of depression, offering a path to inner peace and emotional balance.

 Yogendra Pranayama to combat depression

These are something based in science and I have been practicing for over 10 years to achieve better sleep. Not to say that I don’t have an occasional red wine now and then. But here is a checklist. Most of them are easy to incorporate in your daily routine. 

  • Before sleeping, ensure a light dinner and wait for 2 hours.
  • Create a calm environment: turn off phones, dim lights, and wear comfortable clothing.- This is the most difficult one and I have been guilty of binge watching Netflix. It all comes down to priority. 
  • Lie down on your back, pull knees close to hips, and keep feet one foot apart. This helps your brain relax faster. 
  • Place one hand on the abdomen (navel region) and the other hand straight on the floor, palm facing upwards.
  • Inhale gently, raising the belly slightly, then exhale, letting the abdomen sink down. Maintain a consistent inhalation and exhalation ratio.
  • There’s no breath retention in this pranayama. Ensure minimal thoracic movement and keep breathing smooth and slow.
  • Keep facial muscles relaxed during the practice.

Benefits of Yoga Nidra on Depression- Isn’t this what we are after: 

  • This pranayama relaxes the nervous system and reduces stress.
  • It increases oxygen and nutrient supply to cells.
  • Helps in relaxing muscle spasms and releasing tension.- This definitely helped me after surgery. 
  • Reduces the harmful effects of the stress hormone, cortisol.
  • Practicing this pranayama can lead to a deep sleep, resulting in waking up refreshed and alert.

Science behind treating Depression with Yoga Nidra: How It Works

Yoga Nidra, or ‘yogic sleep’, taps into deep relaxation, boosting mood-enhancing serotonin.

 It helps process suppressed emotions, lying at depression’s root. Setting a positive intention, or Sankalpa, during sessions reshapes negative thought patterns. This practice also promotes healthier brain connections and reduces stress-inducing cortisol levels. In essence, Yoga Nidra blends ancient wisdom with modern science to combat depression.

According to an Icelandic national survey from 2015 on the use of complementary and alternative therapies, 19.3% of participants had used yoga and meditation therapy in the previous 12 months. ttps://

There was also a research study done which observed the impact of Yoga nidra on well being. You can read this study here. I have summarized below. 

Research on Yoga Nidra and Well being

  • The research evaluated the impact of practicing Yoga Nidra on student wellbeing over three months. Outcomes between the Yoga Nidra group and a control group were compared using the Beck Depression Scale.
  • Implementation: Participants attended a 14-week course to learn and practice Yoga Nidra for 20-25 minutes with a yoga teacher’s guidance.
  • Baseline Differences: Initially, there were no statistically significant differences between the Yoga Nidra group and the control group in terms of depression scale scores.
  • Key Findings: 
  • Significant improvements were observed in various measures for the Yoga Nidra group, including mood, self-dissatisfaction, guilt, punishment feelings, body image, work difficulties, and fatigue.
  • Positive Long-Term Impact: Students practicing Yoga Nidra felt less tired, experienced fewer punishment feelings, and derived more pleasure from activities they previously enjoyed.
  • Improved Workload and Reduced Guilt: Students practicing Yoga Nidra reported improvements in handling workloads and experienced reduced feelings of guilt.
  • Encouragement to Continue: The positive changes experienced from Yoga Nidra encouraged participants to continue practicing this relaxation method throughout their lives.

Does yoga nidra increase serotonin?

Yoga Nidra, while renowned for inducing deep relaxation, doesn’t directly increase serotonin. However, its calming effects can create an environment conducive to the natural production and balance of neurotransmitters. It’s the overall reduction in stress and promotion of well-being through Yoga Nidra that might indirectly support serotonin levels, rather than a direct stimulation.

Watch this Yoga Nidra from Sleep Dragon for Depression and we hope it uplifts mood. We are also available for consultation. 
Yoga Nidra for Depression

Any questions feel free to write to us here.

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