Updated: Sep 22, 2021
Do you know how it feels waking up after a solid night’s rest — when you are focused, refreshed, and ready to face whatever the day will bring? Imagine getting the benefits of a deep restorative sleep at almost any time in your day. That’s what you get with Yoga Nidra.
Read on to learn more about this beneficial yoga practice and how you can experience its healing effects any time you need to.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is Sanskrit for the term “yogic sleep”, which is a state of conscious sleep that exists between wakefulness and sleep. It is that space of “nothingness” where you are almost in a deep sleep although you still maintain some awareness. And with no thoughts or worries racing through your mind, you are able to achieve rest at every level.
What are the benefits of Yoga Nidra?
There are many benefits to Yoga Nidra. Studies have shown it can help reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels, and improve sleep and immune function. It has also helped people reduce stress, and works better than meditation for reducing anxiety.
Yoga Nidra has been used successfully to relieve body aches, lethargy, and even chronic pain. It also has additional positive effects, like improving focus and concentration, memory, and learning abilities.
How to do Yoga Nidra?
To correctly perform Yoga Nidra, you need to proceed through eight stages of techniques involving breath awareness, visualization, setting intentions, and more. While you can perform Yoga Nidra on your own, it is easier and often better (especially for beginners) to use a teaching or guiding resource such as a yoga Youtube channel, podcast, or app. These include pre-recorded sessions from a Yoga Nidra teacher, or you can choose to attend an in-person yoga class.
How do I prepare for Yoga Nidra?
However you choose to begin your Yoga Nidra session, always remember not to start right after eating a meal. You need to allow any meal to completely digest (2 or 3 hours) before practicing. This will help prevent you from falling into actual deep sleep during your session.
You should dress comfortably, wearing soft, nonrestrictive attire such as loose shirts and yoga pants. Consider also using a blanket to cover with as well since people tend to feel cold after performing Yoga Nidra.
What happens during Yoga Nidra?
You will start your Yoga Nidra session by lying down in Shavasna, or corpse pose, on a yoga mat. If using a guided resource, an expert will use multiple relaxation techniques to lead you into deep yet conscious sleep. Remember, the goal is for you to achieve full relaxation while still maintaining some level of awareness.
What is the best time to do Yoga Nidra?
As long as you’re not practicing after eating a meal, you can perform Yoga Nidra at just about any time. You can perform a session after your regular yoga practice, or use the technique as a sleep aid before bed. You can even choose to make it part of your morning or pre-lunch ritual, whatever works best for your schedule and lifestyle.
How long should I do yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra can be practiced for as short as 5 minutes or for as long as an hour. This flexibility in the practice length means almost anyone can incorporate Yoga Nidra into their daily wellness routine.
As a rule of thumb though, you should slowly increase your session length, starting with shorter timeframes so you don’t find yourself falling asleep during the practice.
How often should I do Yoga Nidra?
As with just about any health and wellness technique, consistency is key when practicing Yoga Nidra. To really get the most out of the practice, you should aim to do it at least once a