What is Yoga Nidra ?
What is yoga nidra ?? There are so many different types of yoga and different styles of this ancient practice. What is even more interesting about these types of yoga , is that these different styles can actually be used for different reasons and for different benefits.
This form of yoga is not only one of the most popular in the world, but it is one of the oldest forms of yoga as well. Yoga Nidra has roots back to an ancient philosophy known as Sankhya —which dates back to around 700 B.C. For centuries, people have been practicing these teachings and expanding upon them. This form of yoga is also heavily tied to meditation.
In fact, as you start to think about how to incorporate Yoga Nidra into your regular routine, it is best to think of it as a form of meditation instead of a form of exercise. Trust me, it is as easy as meditating and as beneficial as well.
Of all of the different types of yoga out there, one of the most powerful and most utilized is known as Yoga Nidra. If you have never heard of Yoga Nidra before, you may be surprised to find out that this form of yoga is designed to help people relax, unwind and even get to sleep.
Another common reason for practicing Yoga Nidra is to help control anxiety. This is a common practice used by people who are recovering from addiction, suffer from insomnia and those who deal with stress, depression and anxiety.
Unlike other forms of yoga, Yoga Nidra does not involve as much posing and exercise. Instead, it is more like a form of meditation.
This is a type of mind-body therapy that not only has long-term benefits but can deliver almost immediate benefits as well. This includes reduced stress, feelings of balance, joy and well-being. Many people are also able to get to sleep during or immediately after this practice.
Why You Should Try Yoga Nidra
If you have never tried Yoga Nidra before, you may be surprised to find how easy it is. One of the many reasons that this is one of the most popular forms of yoga, is because it is a practice that virtually anyone can do.
You do not change poses or positions during this practice. Instead, you are lying down on the floor during the entire practice. This means that virtually anyone, no matter what their physical limitations by be, can try this form of yoga.
Another benefit if that there is no way to practice Yoga Nidra incorrectly. It is OK to fall asleep, it is OK to let your mind wander—the main point is that you are taking time for yourself and that you are not allowing yourself to be distracted or stressed out by any other factors around you.
Studies into this form of yoga have found that those who practice it can experience significant stress reduction. People who practice this form of yoga regularly will also tell you that they experience better body awareness, more energy and more joy. With so many benefits—and such a simple practice—there is no reason not to try Yoga Nidra.
How to Practice Yoga Nidra
Now that you have a basic understanding of what Yoga Nidra is, it is time to start putting this exercise into practice. There are different Yoga Nidra classes and even online courses, but this form of yoga is relatively easy to do on your own without an instructor—particularly if you are already familiar with yoga and some of the basics of this practice.
Here are the supplies and accessories you will need:
- Comfortable yoga clothes
- Yoga mat
- Yoga block
- Folded blanket
- Relaxing music (optional)
Set your timer for 30 minutes to begin with and start your practice. You can increase your time later on, but at this time, you should start with 30 minutes.
Steps to Practice Yoga Nidra
As you read through this detailed guide on how to do Yoga Nidra, it may seem almost too simple. If you are unable to initially get the hang of this type of yoga, then you can try a guided yoga meditation to help you understand the scanning and breathing process.
Step 1- Getting Set Up
Before getting started, you will need to set up your mat and put a block on the top end of the mat. Sit on the middle of the mat and slowly lie down with the bolster supporting your frame from the low back to your head.
Place a folded blanket under your head to use it as a pillow. Take a deep breath in and take note of the sounds, smells and light in the room. Then exhale and release the tension from your body to feel a sense of relaxation spreading through your body.
Step 2- Focus Your Mind
Connect your mind to your heart’s deepest desire. Think about something that you want more than anything else in the world. Is it a desire to be healthy? A desire to be more successful?
Feel this heartfelt desire deep in your heart and imagine it filling your entire body. Then imagine you are experiencing what you desire most, as if it were true. You need to be able to visualize having this dream come to fruition.
Step 3- Set An Intention
If you have practiced yoga before, then you know how important setting intentions are. Before you really get into your yoga practice, you need to reflect on your intention for your practice.
Your intention should be clear and in focused. Your intention may be to rest and relax or to feel a particular sensation or emotion. No matter what your intention is, welcome it in your body and mind.
Step 4- Bring Attention Into Your Inner Resource
In order to successfully engage in this type of yoga practice, you need to have an “inner resource.” This is a safe haven inside your body, that helps you feel secure and calm.
Some people image a person, place or experience—which helps you feel secure and at ease. Your inner resource will not only help you during this particular practice, but it will help you in your daily life whenever you feel stressed or overwhelmed.
This resource will bring you peace, and it needs to feel and seem real. Some people find that it is best or easiest to “name” this inner resource to make it feel more real.
Step 5- Perform a Full Body Scan
Gradually move your awareness from one end of your body to the next. You should be sensing everything from your jaw and mouth to your ears, nose and eyes. Move from one end to the other, until you have felt your whole body activated.
Step 6- Start Breathing
As with many yoga practices, you should also use this time to become more aware of your breath. Take a deep breath in and out and observe the natural flow of air in the nostrils and throat and out through your rib cage.
You should feel each breath flowing in and out of your entire body. Pay attention to how your breath moves through the body and how your abdomen rises and falls as you breathe.
Step 7- Be Aware of Your Thoughts and Feelings
As you get into a rhythm with your breathing, start to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. Observe yourself, welcome sensations of joy or well-being, and witness the thoughts, feelings and memories that come into your mind during this time.
It is important that you simply take the time to observe these thoughts and memories, don’t try to change them or judge them, just observe them and let them be.
As you continue this practice of breathing and observing your body and thoughts, let your mind relax. When your timer goes off and you complete your practice, reflect on the experience you had and the journey you just took.
You should feel more present and more relaxed. You should feel more awakened to your body and to the world around you and you should feel as though all of the problems that plagued you down before your practice have slowly melted away.
You should feel more aware and more connected to yourself and to the world around you. Take a moment to pause at the end of this practice and to thank yourself for taking this time for you.
It is as simple as that. This is all that is involved with Yoga Nidra. While it doesn’t require the same type of posing and exercise that other forms of yoga do, it is a valuable way to help bring more awareness and control to your mind and body.