what is yoga nidra What is yoga nidra?

What is yoga nidra?

When people think of yoga, they often envision flexible bodies twisting and bending in unimaginable ways. Especially, in the United States, yoga has become a powerful physical exercise intended to burn calories and increase flexibility. But this vision of yoga is only a glimpse of the many traditions and practices that enhance the whole human—body, mind, and spirit.

Many people who dedicate themselves to practicing yoga understand the benefits of meditation and restoration. Yoga Nidra is such a practice intended to rejuvenate and relax the body and mind by slowing down and releasing tension. Yoga Nidra means “yogic sleep” and is a guided practice that leads the practitioner to deep levels of rest, beyond that of a dream state. Through a consistent Yoga Nidra practice, individuals can realize the numerous benefits of yogic sleep.

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What is Yoga Nidra?

Practitioners can participate in yoga nidra, a powerful type of yogic sleep that leaves one feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and restored. Yoga Nidra is a level of sleep that typically cannot be realized. In regular sleep, a person understands that they have slept, but whatever transpires during sleep and dreams occurs unconsciously, which can limit the benefits intended by sleep. Yoga Nidra is a focused practice. It can promote deep healing, prepare you for more intentional sleep, and provide essential rest.

Enter a Deep State of Relaxation

One 30-minute yoga nidra session can equal 2 to 4 hours of regular sleep. You can either find a session near you, or you can practice it in the comfort of your own home with guided sessions. In essence, yoga nidra is a deep state of relaxation that alters brain wave cycles. It is a practice that helps promote sleep but in a way that exposes the participant to single-pointed focus during sleep-like experiences. With continued practice, it is possible to turn these deep healing sessions into meditative methods to help enhance inner awareness. The practitioner can develop mental stability through awareness of the sleep state, but yoga nidra is also a great practice to promote sleepiness in preparation for routine sleep.

Be Intentional About Your Sleep

Yoga asks us to be more intentional about our sleep. Participating in Yoga Nidra taps into the subconscious mind and alpha waves, promoting mindfulness, concentration, and memory integration. During Yoga Nidra, the practitioner experiences brain wave patterns akin to sleep, dream states, and beyond. For many, a one-hour Yoga Nidra session is equivalent to four hours of regular sleep. Each session is unique, and each person will experience Yoga Nidra differently. Observing our deep sleep and dream states can lead to powerful insights about ourselves. In addition to the information above, we can use the power of intention to be more mindful of what thoughts and emotions flood our minds and bodies within the moments before sleep. Avoid negative thinking. Envision what you want to experience in your sleep and dreams. And most importantly, pay attention to your sleep and dream patterns for underlying issues that may need to be addressed.

How Do I Get Started in Yoga Nidra?​

If you want to try out yoga nidra, then a great place to start is trying it with a guided script. The script is meant to help you generate any thoughts or feelings that you might have and guide you through how to make the practice the most effective.

If you have never tried yoga nidra before, then it’s recommended that you use a guided script for your first few sessions. These scripts are meant to help you get used to the process and generate any thoughts and feelings you might have during the session.

Once you are comfortable with the process, you can start doing yoga nidra on your own if you like. It’s a fairly simple process, but it can have immense benefits when done correctly.

How Long Should I Do Yoga Nidra?​

The standard length for a session of Yoga Nidra is about thirty minutes. However, you can also only take fifteen minutes to have a session if you need to. On the other hand, you can spend an hour doing a session if that fits into your schedule.

On average, a session of yoga nidra takes about thirty minutes to complete. This length of time allows the brain to go into a semi-conscious state and stay there for a while. It gives you an adequate amount of time to sit with your mind and body, and lets you get the full benefits of the practice.

But a session of yoga nidra can also last only fifteen minutes, or even as long as an hour. The most important thing is to choose the length of time that fits the best into your schedule.

What Happens in Yoga Nidra?​

The main steps to yoga Nidra include:

  • Connecting with your mind and body
  • Welcoming and witnessing any thoughts you have
  • Reflecting on your practice

The process is slightly more structured than the steps described above. But they are the main components when it comes to what happens in yoga nidra.

The first thing that happens in yoga nidra is that you will be asked to lay down and close your eyes. This allows you to more easily focus on your mind and body and makes it easier for your brain to reach the deepest state of consciousness. This same process is usually the same as yoga chitta critti nidorha, which also involves yoga nidra in the practice.

Spend the first few minutes of your practice connecting with your mind and body. Scan yourself from head to toe and analyze each part of your body. This is mainly to figure out how you are feeling physically, and if any part of your body needs special attention during your practice. It also helps to reduce tension so you can more easily relax.

Connecting with your mind means welcoming and witnessing any thoughts and feelings you have during your practice. This means allowing them to come into your mind and go, without judging them or acknowledging them too much. This step is meant to give you an idea of where you are emotionally and mentally.

After you have been in that state for as long as you want, reflect on your practice. Reflecting on how you felt during your practice allows you to analyze the thoughts and feelings you experienced while in the semi-conscious state. It can help you figure out where these feelings are coming from and how you can work to resolve them. Take as much time as you need coming out of your practice.

Practice Yoga Nidra to Increase Quality of Sleep

Overall, sleep and dreams are essential aspects of everyday health. By living intentionally and using various methods to sleep intentionally, we can increase the quality of sleep we receive, supporting our health physically, mentally, and spiritually.

They have this knowledge for themselves as yoga practitioners, which is helpful, especially if you’ve been through yoga teacher training and intend to teach the forms and instill the lifestyle amongst your students. You may also want to learn more about Yoga Nidra certification online by taking an online yoga teacher training course.