Yoga Nidra or Yogic sleep is a restorative meditative technique which is carried out lying down in the yoga position Savasana. During the practice, you are guided by the facilitator through a mental landscape which encourages rest and reflection.
It promotes deep rest and relaxation
The guidance is designed to lead you down through layers of consciousness from awake, to daydream, to dream, and possibly even to deep sleep. The frequency of your brain waves may actually lower from alpha waves to delta waves, and finally to theta waves, as your mind relaxes and your body rests and repairs.
It is accessible to people of all ages and abilities
There are no tricky yoga poses or stretches to hold so it is suitable for a wide range of people. All you need is a warm and safe space along with plenty of blankets and cushions to keep you toasty and comfortably propped.
You can do it in your own home
It can be lovely to do it in a group environment but it is equally something that can be done in your own home. Perhaps before bedtime. It can easily be worked into your daily or weekly routine. Guidance tracks can be found online or many teachers will record their own Nidras to distribute to their clients.
It doesn't matter if you fall asleep
In today’s sleep-deprived world many of us have a significant sleep debt. If this is the case it is likely that in your early practice of Yoga Nidra you will fall asleep. Don’t worry if you do. You will wake up refreshed and this is part of the point. It’s taking time for yourself to give your body and mind what you need. As you become more practised at Nidra and less sleep deprived you are more likely to stay awake.
You can use it to help affirm your Sankalpa
Sankalpa is a Sanskrit word for intention, life-purpose or hearts prayer. Some yoga teachers will use the Nidra as a way to encourage you to access deep into your psyche and identify your Sankalpa. They then help to affirm it by guiding you to repeat your intention over and over during the practice. Following Nidra, you may experience renewed motivation or achieve the realisation of the inner goals you have identified for yourself.