Drop Into Stillness: A Step-by-Step Guide to Yoga Nidra

February 13, 2015

This time of year can bring winter blues and faltering resolutions. Yoga Nidra can help.


What it is: Yoga nidra, or yogic sleep, is an ancient and deeply relaxing practice that can recharge and nourish your body and mind. A 30-minute Yoga Nidra practice may make you feel like you have had three or four hours of sleep.


Who it's for: Yoga Nidra is an all-levels class for anyone who seeks relaxation, increased focus and reduced stress. It’s safe and accessible to those with limited motion for whatever reason. It has been used to treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder, addictions, depression and chronic pain.


What to expect: As with any yoga class, Yoga Nidra has a deliberate sequence. You begin by getting comfortable, like you would for savasana, but with as many props as you need to feel completely relaxed and supported. The teacher may ask you to set an intention, and then you will start to scan and purposefully relax your body, part by part. Finally, your teacher will lead you on a guided meditation to relax your mind. As the class ends, you move back to consciousness slowly and deliberately.


The benefits: benefits from just one session can include reduced stress and anxiety, help with insomnia, improvements to memory and creativity and a feeling of being grounded. You may also find that your regular savasana and meditation practices improve.


What you need: Your most comfortable exercise or lounge clothes will work fine. If you are practicing Yoga Nidra at home, which can be done with a recording, you will want a quiet, warm space with pillows or bolsters to cradle your body. In a class, you will support yourself with bolsters and blankets. Eye cushions are wonderful for this type of class.


You can read more about Yoga Nidra on our earlier blog post. 

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