For thousands of years, #yoga nidra has been used for rejuvenation. Also known as “yogic sleep” or “lucid sleeping,” yoga nidra is a #meditation and relaxation technique that uses consciousness to deeply relax the body and mind. While the body does not fall asleep, the mind goes beyond the dream state and enters into the sleeping state. Yoga means union and Nidra means #sleep—so, yoga nidra is a practice that brings your mind and body in union with sleep, maintaining awareness all the while.
Practitioners of yoga nidra often equate twenty to thirty minutes of the practice to three hours of sleep. In other words, it might be the world’s best power nap!
The benefits of yoga nidra include resting the body and mind, helping practitioners visualize and contact their emotions, increase activity in the speech and language brain-centers, relieve stress, and decrease anxiety and depression. It has also been used to treat insomnia and PTSD. Revitalization, regeneration, and healing all occur when the body is at rest. Yoga nidra is a simple and powerful aid to help bring your body into that state. It also can help those with trouble sleeping fall asleep more easily.
Yoga nidra is typically practiced by listening to a guided meditation for anywhere from ten to ninety minutes while lying down on your back with your eyes shut. Once you are familiar with the technique, you can practice yoga nidra without guidance. At the beginning, you may drift off or fall asleep. That’s both common and OK—you’ll get better at remaining awake and aware as you continue.
The meditation takes you through a sensory experience, rotating your awareness from one point in the body to another. The guide will call for you to bring awareness to your right thumb, then right index finger, then right middle finger, moving around the hand, up the arm, down the back, through the leg, and to each toe. Then, the process is repeated on the left side. Most guides will then take you down the front of your body.
Here are some scripts of yoga nidra you can record in your own voice, or maybe you have a friend with a particularly relaxing voice who you’d like to record. There are plenty of resources online, both for sale at iTunes and Amazon, as well as on yoga nidra-specific sites.There are also free recordings on YouTube. If you purchase a Yoga Nidra recording, sample the audio beforehand to ensure you are compatible with the speaking voice.
Here are five free guided yoga nidra practices of varying length to get you started: