What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra or the yogic sleep is a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, like the “going-to-sleep” stage. It is based on the biology of the body: your body knows how to sleep! Progressively we are learning to empty the content of our minds. When you want to sleep, the only thing you must do is to let go of your thoughts. The beauty of it is that it is effortless because your body knows how to do it. When practicing yoga Nidra, you will enter profoundly deep states of consciousness, which are just as deep as experienced meditators encounter. Yoga Nidra is a combination of body, mind and awareness techniques. You will slide into the state of being, becoming pure awareness itself.
This particular state of consciousness differs from meditation, since when you meditate a single focus is required. During yoga Nidra, we withdraw four of our five senses inward (called Pratyahara) – only the hearing sense remains active to listen to the instructions being given. One could say that it is a kind of guided meditation.
With yoga Nidra, you will learn how to remove yourself from the content of your thoughts, feelings, struggles, and reactions so that you can choose whether you want to get involved with them or not. You learn that you can choose when impulses, cravings, or old habits appear in consciousness. You can say: “No, not now. I’m not going to eat ice cream. I would rather have tea” or “I’m not going to shout back at this mean person, I’m going to take a deep breath instead”.
Working with an Intention
In yoga Nidra, you have the chance to set an intention for your practice. This intention is called Sankalpa. As we reach very subtle states of our being, we use this place to make mini shifts in our patterns of thinking. The yogis believe that your body and your surroundings are a mirror of your inner being. If you want to change anything in your life, you need to start within yourself first. This means targeting the cause and not trying to change the symptoms. Science, after all, has found that stress is more mental than physical. Today, there are no more tigers or predators threatening us anymore. We encounter only imaginary tigers. With yoga Nidra, we learn to handle the psychological source of our stress, to restore any excess tension that has been built up inside our body, and rebalance it with the help of this deep and profound relaxation technique.
When to Practise Yoga Nidra and How Often
It is said that 45 minutes of yoga Nidra equals to 3 hours of sleep! The session I provide here for you to download as an audio file is 20 minutes in length, so you can easily integrate it in your daily life.
Try to practice yoga Nidra 3 times per week for 4 weeks to feel all the benefits 😊 I would love to hear about your experience with yoga Nidra, don’t hesitate to send me your thoughts.