What is Yoga Nidra
In Sanskrit “Nidra” means sleep. You may have heard that 20-45 minutes of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to 4-6 hours of sleep, but what is Yoga Nidra and how does it work?
Yoga Nidra is a meditation practiced lying down in Savasana. It is often referred to as “sleepless sleep” because Yoga Nidra induces a powerful state between being fully awake and being asleep – that same dream-like state you may often hover in during Savasana after your physical yoga practice. This state is called the Hypnagogic state which allows the body to enter a deep relaxation and can release memories locked in the subconscious and unconscious and help create an expanded state of consciousness. Yoga Nidra can be practiced any where from 5-45 minutes. It is best to be guided or by listening to an audio recording, however once you become more familiar and understand the practice you can use it on yourself.
It can be practiced on it’s own as a separate practice or added in before Savasana after your regular yoga classes.
It can also be practiced in bed as part of a nightly ritual to help you fall asleep.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra
- Promotes deep relaxation of the physical, mental and emotional body.
- Helps to open up deeper phases of the mind.
- Can help reduce insomnia.
- Helps build focus, concentration and memory.
- The visualization used during the practice helps induce creativity.
- Can help relieve chronic pain.
- Can help reduce stress and anxiety disorders.
- Can be therapeutic for Depression and PTSD.
Tips for Practicing Yoga Nidra
- Practice in semi-darkness.
- Make sure you are 100% completely comfortable and warm.
- Cover your body, including your hands.
- Use an eye pillow to stimulate the third eye.
- If you live in a noisy environment, acknowledge the sounds becoming aware of your surroundings, but not attached. Don’t let them agitate you.
- If you do fall asleep during the practice (and that’s not your goal), it’s OK! It may mean you are tired and are simply in need of a nap.
Like anything, it becomes a practice and eventually you will be able to complete a full Yoga Nidra practice without falling asleep …maybe!
- Try not to analyze your experience or anything that may have come up. While Yoga Nidra is relaxing and can be a totally pleasant experience, sometimes memories that have been buried can resurface. Simply breathe and try to let go. This is one of the reasons it’s nice to practice with a teacher who can help buffer any discomfort.
Carri recently did her Yoga Nidra Teacher Training and is looking forward to incorporating it in to her teachings.
Learn more about this deep relaxation on our 50 & 100 hr. Advanced Modules in Portugal and Napa Valley next year!