Once you start to delve into the world of yoga, you might be surprised to find how many different practices and elements there are to explore. Today, we explore “Yoga Nidra” and some of its benefits.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is the state of consciousness between waking and sleeping. It is sometimes known as “yogic sleep” and is best described as the feeling you have when your eyes start to close before going to sleep. A moment of complete peace and relaxation, Yoga Nidra can be a powerful meditation technique.
Why do people practice it?
This is a practice that anyone can complete at any age. It does not involve complicated asana (yoga postures) or any equipment. There also is nothing to fear or get wrong in this meditation. Sometimes, we can associate meditation with sitting uncomfortably and trying frantically to empty our mind whilst simultaneously finding it filling up with thoughts. By contrast, in Yoga Nidra, you lie back in Savasana and allow your mind to freely guide you wherever it might want to go.
How do I practice Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is always a guided meditation. You could go to a class for this or use one of the many apps or meditations available online. The basic principles involve lying down in Savasana, making sure that you are supported and comfortable. You will set a desire and an intention for your practice just as you might before asana. You will then become aware of your breath and use it to calm your body. A good way to do this is to breathe in for a count of three and then breathe out for a count of five. Keeping your exhale even just a few counts longer than your inhale has a positive effect on your nervous system. It calms your “fight or flight” response, leaving you more able to relax.
One of the key elements of Yoga Nidra is the body scan. This involves gradually moving your awareness through your body from your head to your toes. As you scan down, you will become aware of each part of your body and any sensations that are present. These sensations might be of comfort or pain, but in either case, the key is not to judge them. Instead, you will simply become aware of the feelings in your body and allow yourself to move on.
What are the benefits of this meditation?
Yoga Nidra creates deep restfulness and relaxation within both the body and the mind. This can lead to reduced stress, and therefore, better health. You avoid any potential injury or discomfort that might arise in asana but are still able to access the mental benefits of yoga. This is also a form of meditation that allows you to complete an exploration of your innermost emotions whilst avoiding becoming overwhelmed. On a much simpler level, this is a yoga practice that is easy to integrate into your daily life and may help you to achieve a better night’s sleep if practiced before bed.
Have you tried Yoga Nidra? Why not try today?