I recently completed a Yoga Nidra training course and wanted to share my learning with you. I’ve also recorded 2 Yoga Nidras, to give you the chance to give it a try – you can sign up for these here.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra translates to “Yogic Sleep’ and is a form of guided meditation or relaxation, usually practiced lying down.
It is a combination of Western psychology, Buddhism and Yoga.
A Nidra can consist of all or some of the following:
- A body scan
- Breath awareness
- The use of images
- The use of opposite sensations (such as hot and cold)
- A sankalpa (or intention/ affirmation)
For some people, a specific image of sensation might be triggering. Usually Nidras with images or anything that might be triggering, will mention this in the description. The Nidra may also use a ‘safe space’ that you can come back to at any point throughout the practice.
How do I practice?
Nidras are usually practiced lying down, however any comfortable position works just fine as well. Eyes are usually shut, however if that’s not comfortable for you, you can just soften the gaze. Make yourself comfortable.
If you’re practicing a Nidra for sleep, you may even like to practice while in bed in case you drift off to sleep.
You might fall asleep during the practice, you might drift in and out of consciousness, you might stay with the practice from start to finish. Whatever happens know there is no wrong way to practice. Whatever happens is what you need in that present moment. You’ll still receive the benefits of the practice – some of which I’ve listed below.
As mentioned above, if you find something triggering during the practice, you can always bring your awareness back to your ‘safe space’ or the room around you. You can also always end the practice at any point by making some small movements.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra
There are loads of benefits to practicing Yoga Nidra. I’ve listed a few of them below.
- Relaxation: You’re giving yourself time to do nothing! Today it’s often difficult to find the time to let your thoughts slow down, relax and just be. During a Nidra we switch from focusing on our thoughts, to just feeling the body. This can relax the body and soothe the nervous system.
- Improves sleep: Nidra can help the body relax so resulting in some people being able to fall asleep and stay asleep. Sleep is an important aspect of our lives – and one that many people struggle with. Sleep can help decrease the risk of anxiety, depression, hypertension, stroke, weight gain, reduce the risk of accidents, and increase memory, concentration and good decision making.
- Creativity: Being in the state in between being asleep and awake can inspire creativity. This is because the mind is able to think without judgement, as the logical part of the brain is switched off. This enables us to ‘think outside the box’.
- Memory Aid: During sleep the brain processes and stores memories – during a Nidra the brain waves experienced are similar to the ones experienced during sleep. Scans of the brain have shown that Nidra can help with processing and storing these memories.
- Increased body awareness: By bringing awareness to your breath and body, you’re improving the neuron pathways within the body. This means your mind becomes more connected to the rest of the body and how it feels and what it needs. This means you’re more likely to identify when you’re becoming ill or before you reach burnout.
- Emotional Regulation: Linked with the previous point – by becoming more body aware we are able to better at observing a situation and choosing how best to respond – not just reacting out of frustration or anger.
Want to try Yoga Nidra?
I’ve recorded 2 Yoga Nidras, which you can download and listen to in your own time – these are completely free – my gifts to you!
- The first Guided Relaxation is a Calming Yoga Nidra.
- The second is a Guided Relaxation for Sleep.
- If you sign up now you’ll also get access to a BONUS Yin Yoga for Better Sleep Class. Beginners Welcome!
To receive your free gifts you just need to >>> Sign up here
Want to find out more?
If you want to read more about Nidras and the importance of sleep – here’s a list of resources you might like to check out.
Yoga Nidra: Awaken to Unqualified Presence Through Traditional Mind-Body Practices by Richard Miller
iRest Program For Healing PTSD: A Proven-Effective Approach to Using Yoga Nidra Meditation and Deep Relaxation Techniques to Overcome Trauma by Richard Miller
The Sleep Council – loads of resources and information on sleep.
Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker
Are we Brain Washed During Sleep? This is an article about a study done on how sleep can help the brain.