Everything You Need to Know About Yoga Nidra
If you’ve been in the yoga community for any length of time, you might have encountered the term yoga nidra. As one of the lesser-known styles of yoga, yoga nidra is often confused with traditional meditation, or even our beloved end-of-practice savasana. But yoga nidra is actually quite unique in its approach to mindfulness and the benefits of incorporating it into your daily life can be astonishing. Let’s take a look at what makes this practice so distinctly different from other types of yoga so that you can experience the wonders of yoga nidra for yourself.
What Is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga nidra, otherwise known as yogic sleep, is a mindfulness practice intended to induce complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation. Since the purpose of this practice is to allow your mind to fully let go, you should only practice yoga nidra while being guided by an instructor in a class setting or on one of the many yoga apps that are available! Unlike meditation, yoga nidra is always performed while laying down flat on your back and you can use accessories like pillows or blankets to make yourself as comfortable as possible. You will be guided by your instructor to set an intention for your practice as well as draw attention to each part of your body one at a time. This lets your body relax and feel heavy, but you aren’t likely to fall asleep. Yoga nidra guides you into the deep state of consciousness that lies in between wakefulness and sleep. Since this state can cause you to feel confused or drowsy, your instructor will slowly direct you to reconnect with your body at the end of your practice until you return to full alertness.
What Are the Benefits?
Like other mindfulness exercises, yoga nidra provides wonderful benefits for both your mental and physical well-being. These are just a few of the side effects that you can expect after a yoga nidra session.
- Reduced Stress and Anxiety - Recent research has indicated that yoga nidra is even more effective than traditional meditation at combating chronic stress and anxiety.
- Improved Sleep - Yoga nidra is known for its ability to deeply relax the body and can even be used as a treatment for insomnia and other sleep disorders.
- Restoring the Body - Because yoga nidra induces the same deep brain waves associated with restorative sleep, it can also be used to promote healing in the body from chronic pain, PMS symptoms, and more.
- Healing from Past Trauma - Beyond the physical benefits, yoga nidra also allows us to detach from intrusive thoughts and has been said to be a useful tool for healing from past trauma.
- Mental Clarity - The practice of yoga nidra can help clear out negative or unproductive thoughts and emotions, leaving you feeling refreshed and with a clear state of mind.
If you’re ready to fully restore your body and mind, then yoga nidra might just become your new favorite practice.