Personally, I have never ever heard of “Yoga Nidra” until after I became a yoga instructor. Little bits and pieces, sample experiences here and there in certain courses I’ve taken along the way. There was one experience in a class I took as I pursued my 200. However, now as I’m pursuing my 500, I’ve had more opportunities to sample it.
As I pursue instructor training, one of the things I’ve discovered about myself is that the training classes I take do a wonderful job of introducing concepts to me. Then later after the class, sometimes immediately, sometimes way later, the curiosity bug strikes me and I really explore, research, and practice a concept and it is then that I truly seal in the concept.
If you aren’t a yoga instructor, chances are you too don’t know what the heck Yoga Nidra is either. I can relate! I was that person once. So let me introduce (hopefully in a way you’ll understand) it to you and encourage you to give it a try.
WHAT IS IT???
Yoga Nidra is yogic sleep but not sleep as you are accustom to. Quite the opposite. You are actually awake in a sort of sleep with awareness; in a zen zone.
Yoga Nidra is not a new age sort of concept. Actually, it is an ancient practice, but it is catching on here in America little by little often in a therapeutic setting.
The goal of Yoga Nidra is to induce full-body relaxation and a deep meditative state of consciousness. It is done systematically. This sort of practice is a great thing to do because as we all know, today’s world is bombarded with stressors. We don’t have enough hours in the day, our “To Do” list is endless, and we live in an overstimulated world that never shuts off.
If you pursue restorative practices such as Yoga Nidra, meditation, or restorative poses, you’ll change your life for the better! Also, for those of you familiar with the Limbs of Yoga, these practices can be part of the fifth limb, Pratyhara or withdrawal of the senses.
HOW TO DO YOGA NIDRA:
1. Get the mindset of I have to have a sweaty tough workout out of your head.! This is different and relaxation techniques have an equally importance in our lives as does exercise. Vegging out in front of the TV doesn’t count as true relaxation. You have to really disconnect.
2. Go to iTunes or Amazon or some place like that and order or download a “Yoga Nidra” album/audio book. The first one I ordered was from iTunes called “Yoga Nidra: Wakeful Sleep. A Deep Healing Relaxation” by James Jewel and I like it because he has a short and a long practice that you can choose from. As you browse and sample albums, you’ll want to look for one with a voice that is deep, rhythmic, and fairly flat or monotone. Also, there are scripts that people can read outloud; however, I highly recommend downloading and ordering some type of prerecorded Yoga Nidra program as this will take the difficulty out of the process and you don’t need another person.
3. Dress comfortably, maybe what you might wear to yoga class.
4. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to do your Yoga Nidra practice. Longer is better, but 30 will do.
5. Get out your yoga mat, maybe a blanket and/or an eye pillow, and find a nice, dim, and quiet place where you won’t have distractions. No cell phones either, unless it is playing the Yoga Nidra and it is on “airplane” mode.
6. Start the recording and lie in Savasana. Remain still and listen. Allow the recording to guide you systematically through your Yoga Nidra.
That’s it. Now, try to pursue Yoga Nidra and make it a regular practice.
1. Reduced stress. Lower blood pressure. Reduced anxiety. (Proven beneficial to those suffering from P.T.S.D. or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The military and VA are using it now.)
2. Helps reduce insomnia. One hour of Yoga Nidra is essentially equivalent to four hours of actual sleep.
3. Proven effective in pain management.
4. Helps keep you younger looking.
It may be hard to get started, but if you can just mentally prepare and say the following. “I’m going to do this for me and my mental health. My me time is very important! I’m important.”
Here’s to better mental health and a healthier you.