Yoga Nidra Explained and Why You Should Try It
For many of us, relaxation means a walk on the beach, a coffee with friends or chilling out on the couch in front of a movie. Whilst these activities certainly offer a pleasurable diversion from everyday tasks and thought patterns, it’s likely that your heart rate is elevated, muscles are firing and the mind is switched ‘on’.
So what Is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is the practice of guided meditation to achieve deep relaxation.
The effect of this deep relaxation achieved in Yoga Nidra, is actually very different to simply ‘relaxing’ when having coffee with friends and watching TV. Yoga Nidra quietens the mind, slows the heart rate, steadies the breath and softens physical and mental tensions.
Yoga Nidra is an efficient and very effective gateway to deep relaxation. Originating from the Indian yoga tradition, Yoga Nidra is designed to infuse the physical, mental and emotional layers of our whole being with a deep sense of ease and relaxation. And perhaps best of all, you can receive these benefits while you just lie down and listen!
Yoga Nidra is sometimes called ‘sleep with awareness’ because the practice takes us to the edge of sleep, we are deeply relaxed, yet awake and aware.
The practice simply requires you to rest comfortably and listen to a specific set of spoken instructions. The instructions invite you to silently rotate awareness around different parts of the physical body, systematically calming the nervous system, soothing muscular aches and engaging the mind, allowing mental tensions to pause.
Why Practice Yoga Nidra?
You can use Yoga Nidra to encourage sleep, set personal goals, ease stress and promote healing. As a bonus, practitioners report that the relaxation achieved in a typical 20-40 minute Yoga Nidra session is as refreshing as 4 hours sleep!
Ready to try Yoga Nidra?
The perfect environment for deep relaxation occurs when potential distractions and temptations to ‘do’ and ‘think’ are minimised. Here’s how to prepare for Yoga Nidra, for an efficient and very effective gateway to deep relaxation:
- Decide on your audio – what will you be listening to and how will you play it?
- Ensure you have something warm handy, such as a blanket, jumper or towel, so that should you get cold, you can put over your body. Also, for a bright room, you may want to have something handy to place over your eyes
- Next, find a quite room
- Close the door
- Switch off your phone
- Prepare a comfy place to lay down on a yoga mat, towel or bed (you may also sit if you prefer – however you feel most comfortable)
- If you’re playing a guided Yoga Nidra, press play and ensure the volume is fairly low
- Lay down and commence Yoga Nidra.
Many yoga classes conclude with Yoga Nidra but you can also use a recorded audio at home and whenever you like. Here is one of my audios for Yoga Nidra – it’s free and perfect for deep, delicious relaxation. Plus, below are a 3 more Yoga Nidra free downloads audios for a greater variety:
- Yoga Nidra – Guided Relaxation Audio via YouTube
- Yoga Nidra – MP3 Download via One Tree Yoga
- Yoga Nidra – For Sleep, Meditation, by Jennifer Piercy
Have you got a question about Yoga Nidra? Or are you already a big fan of deep relaxation and mediation? Share what you love about it and your own tips, in the comments below.
PS. Do you know someone in need of some Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation)? Be a buddy and share this read with them, they might find it pretty helpful!