Can practicing Yoga Nidra improve academic performance?
When I was in college way back when, I remember hearing about the research that suggested when students nap during studying, they remember more about what they were studying or in other words, students improved their memory retention. This research flew in the face of what I observed most students doing instead – pulling all-nighters before exams. However, I always thought about it when I found myself napping on the weekends while reading my textbooks or writing papers as it made me feel less guilty about nodding off. Flash forward thirty years and now the research is showing that practicing Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep or sleep of the yogis) can improve academic achievement.
Yoga Nidra has been referred to or described as deep relaxation, sacred rest, nirvana, an altered state of consciousness, psychic sleep, a meditation practice, and/or resting in awareness. No matter how it is referred to, Yoga Nidra is a guided awareness practice that has the effect of supporting the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of our autonomic nervous system responsible for rest and digestion. When practiced, the physical body is positioned in a comfortable, supine position, supported by blankets and pillows to provide comfort and the awareness of the mind is directed away from thoughts and guided to focus on the body, breath, senses, emotions and even imagery.
By supporting the parasympathetic nervous system, balance is invited into the body and mind with the effect of creating greater access to all parts of the brain and, thus, facilitating the digestion of our external experiences, such a learning something new. Although the research findings indicate that practicing Yoga Nidra reduces stress levels and improves academic achievement, it is not clear if these findings are a result of increasing cognitive functioning, including attention, learning and memory, or as a result of increasing emotional regulation, or a combination of both. Regardless of the mechanism, this research offers a powerful tool to not only students, but to teachers, the educational system and its entire support structures.
For more information on the beneficial impacts of Yoga Nidra on academic performance, click on the links below:
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