The college years are stressful for lots of students—what with academic challenges, making new friends, and working long hours. And, says Richard Miller, a clinical psychologist, yogi, and founder of the Center of Timeless Being in Larkspur, California, this is prime time for grappling with questiions like "What is my place in the world?"
To help students cope, Miller offers an ancient tool: the meditative practice known as Yoga Nidra. Typically done while lying still on the floor in Savasana (Corpse Pose), it takes the practitioner through a guided journey of the body, breath, mind, intuition, and spirit. Starting by scanning the body, the participant then travels through each aspect, exploring sensations and feelings that arise. The practice teaches people to observe whatever occurs, without trying to hold onto it or push it away.
Miller is researching the effects of Yoga Nidra on students at Evergreen State College in Washington state. Results of the first study, focusing on 50 students, were inconclusive, but Miller is encouraged by students' comments, which have been strongly positive. "Many report feeling less anxious, sleeping better, feeling more alive and joyful," he says. A second study will take place next year.
Christian Bates, a 22-year-old senior, says he often relies on the insights he gains from the practice. "In times of challenge, I'll go into my Yoga Nidra mode," he says. "It helps me relax and step into a sort of neutral optimism, where I know I can be happy with whatever arises."
To learn more, see nondual.com