Is yoga nidra the secret solution to burnout?

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Are you finding it hard to focus, or even to string a coherent sentence together? When burnout hits, the secret to de-stress could be found in this ancient yoga practice

Is yoga nidra the secret solution to burnout?

Is your brain feeling fried? Have your thoughts checked out – or worse still, are they spinning endlessly, and you can’t turn them off? Maybe you can’t get to sleep, or you’re nodding off in meetings, or waking up in the middle of the night totally wired? If you know, you know; all these unpleasant experiences are signs of burnout, and it can feel like a desperate situation – maybe on a bad day you can even smell the smoke from your over-fired nervous system?

Thankfully there’s a balm that offers the perfect solution to quieten your burnt-out brain: the yoga of sleep. Yes, yoga nidra literally means the ‘sleep of the yogis’. And it’s probably not what you’re expecting…

What is yoga nidra?

When you think of yoga, you might conjure up images of sweaty contortions to improve flexibility – but yoga has so many other important elements and benefits. Yoga nidra is an ancient form of yoga that helps you relax and hover on the threshold of sleep – effectively it’s a meditation on the moment of falling asleep. And it’s the perfect potent balm for your burnt-out brain. Yoga nidra has the effect of reducing stress so you can sleep better, and it can boost your creativity. It’s so simple that you can easily practise at home.

This restful yoga requires no physical movement whatsoever. Instead, you listen, and are skillfully talked into the fringes of sleep. Hovering there, you often drop off. It’s the perfect antidote for burnout: horizontal yoga under your blanket or duvet.

So how does it work? All you do is rest for around 20 minutes, listening to a yoga nidra recording, as your body and mind naturally restore themselves to balance and quiet. You don’t even need to pay any particular attention, just be there and hear the voice. And rest, very deeply.

Where did yoga nidra originate?

This nurturing and healing practice is the fastest-growing form of yoga in the world, and it originates in ancient India. The special state of yoga nidra – the ‘yogic sleep’ – is described in many ancient South Asian epic poems. Yoga Nidra Shakti herself even shows up as a super-powerful goddess in an ancient hymn to the triumph of the Great Divine Mother – she sends Vishnu, the sustainer of the known universe, into such a deep sleep that no one else can wake him up. Yes, yoga nidra is that powerful.

How does yoga nidra work?

The truly wonderful thing about yoga nidra is that pretty much anyone can do it – it’s completely accessible. Anyone who has ever fallen asleep can practice yoga nidra because it is a conscious meditation upon the very natural process of falling asleep. All you need to do is to lie down and listen; notice what happens and be with just that. The more you practise yoga nidra, the more easily you can cultivate the capacity to drop off anytime you need. And when you wake up – bingo! The burnt-out brain feels restored, even if you have only been resting for 20 minutes.

How does the magic happen? Neurologically speaking, what is actually going on inside your

30 affirmations to create a sense of calm

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Try repeating these affirmations, designed to help you soothe your mind and develop a sense of calm

30 affirmations to create a sense of calm

It can be difficult to find moments of calm and serenity when we’re going about our busy lives. Our heads may be full of mental to-do lists that we must keep ticking off, or the demands that others make of us could weigh heavy on our minds.

Affirmations are short, simple phrases that we repeat to ourselves, to give ourselves a message or to confirm something that, deep down, we know to be true. And when it comes to affirmations for creating calm, repeating your mantras can have a really grounding effect, putting the problems at hand into perspective and reminding you of your values and priorities.

Here, we’re sharing 30 affirmations to help you create a sense of calm.

  1. I let go of stress
  2. I can feel a sense of calm moving through my body
  3. My mind is quiet
  4. Setting boundaries is healthy
  5. I only need to take one step at a time
  6. I deserve to rest
  7. If I reach my capacity, I can stop
  8. I am safe
  9. I breathe out stress and breathe in peace
  10. I speak to myself with kindness
  11. If I need it, I can ask for help
  12. It’s OK to take a break
  13. I deserve to feel at peace
  14. I am not responsible for things I can’t control
  15. I invite joy into my life
  16. I don’t need to prove myself to anyone
  17. I am doing the best I can
  18. It’s OK to say no
  19. I will have a peaceful day
  20. My anxious thoughts don’t rule me
  21. I let go of tension
  22. I trust myself
  23. I am grounded in this moment
  24. I am capable
  25. I let go of intrusive thoughts
  26. I have the tools I need to face challenges that come my way
  27. I am loved
  28. External stress doesn't need to affect me
  29. I deserve self-compassion
  30. I am calm

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