Your textbook “RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR LIFE” covers additional relaxation techniques outside of Pranayama. Two of the major techniques covered are Mantra Meditation and Yoga Nidra. Below is additional information on these topics.
Mantra meditation offers an assortment of benefits for your mind and body. Mantra meditation requires using a sound, word or phrase to clear the thoughts from your mind so that you can focus. Words hold a vibration, and like affirmations, when you choose a positive mantra to repeat, you can create a loving vibration. If you have problems with mental focus during meditation, then choosing a favorite mantra is recommended.
In addition to using a mantra, you can also use other mental focusing tools such as a visual object. Some of the favorite visual objects for meditation practitioners include observing burning candles, beautiful figurines, or a flower in a vase. As discussed in your textbook “RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR LIFE” you can also use visualizations when objects are not available. You can visualize yourself watching the waves of the ocean or that you are out in nature. Or you can visualize a color(s) that feel healing or calming to you.
Mantra Meditation Benefit 1: Overcome Your Fears
With mantra meditation, you can overcome your fears. If you are planning on giving a speech at work or school, then by meditating, you can reduce your anxiety level before standing in front of a crowd.
Mantra Meditation Benefit 2: Improve Your Mindfulness
When you are lost in your negative thoughts constantly, you may not notice everyday things such as a bird chirping outside your window. With mantra meditation, you can turn off the horrible thoughts in order to cultivate more mindfulness about what is going on around you.
Mantra Meditation Benefit 3: Reduce Mild Forms of Depression
If you are struggling with mild forms of depression, then begin meditating with a mantra. Depression can often cause you to think negative thoughts rather than positive thoughts, but with a few minutes of positive meditation, you can lift your mood. Severe forms of depression require professional help.
Mantra Meditation Benefit 4: Becoming Calmer
When you become anxious after a difficult day at school or work, take time for mantra meditation as soon as you get home. You can also begin your mantra meditation in your vehicle in the parking lot, so that you are calmer before you drive home.
Mantra Meditation Benefit 5: Strengthen Your Immune System
If you get sick a lot, then strengthen your immune system with mantra meditation. When you meditate, your body’s glands release helpful hormones that boost your immune system, so that you aren’t sick as often.
Mantra Meditation Benefit 6: Increase Your Concentration
When you can’t concentrate before taking a test, begin silent mantra meditation to increase your thinking skills. With better concentration before you take your exam, you can focus during your test.
Mantra Meditation Benefit 7: Prevent Dementia
If you are concerned about developing dementia as you age, then have a mantra meditation routine as a mental health option. There is new evidence that mantra meditation helps to keep the synapses in your brain healthier.
To finish up this topic, see the below video:
This relaxation technique is a form of Yogic sleep; however, it is a conscious relaxation technique practiced through visualizations. The purpose of Yoga Nidra is to achieve physical, mental, and emotional relaxation. The results are a restful state of mind or a restorative mindset. Due to these results, Yoga Nidra works well as a part of your Restorative Yoga practice. It can be used at the end of your class as a short meditation session (usually about 15mins) or it can be taught as a separate practice or workshop for a longer time, usually about an hour.
While practicing this relaxation technique you will want to set an intention to be aware of your body. You can also use breath awareness to help keep you “in the zone” and mentally alert. You will also want to maintain emotional awareness during the session.
For a basic breakdown of how to practice this technique, refer to chapter 4 in your textbook “RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR LIFE.”