What is Yoga Nidra?
The practice of Yoga Nidra, or ‘yoga sleep’ is a meditation that takes place in the liminal space between waking and sleeping. In this hypnogogic state we dip below our waking thought patterns and access our subconscious mind.
Yoga Nidra is a restorative practice. Some people claim that 20 minutes of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to two hours of sleep. I don’t know how true that is, but I always find that Yoga Nidra leaves me feeling nourished and refreshed. If your nervous system is on high alert, you may feel tired initially and then feel the benefits after some rest.
We want to stay awake during Yoga Nidra if we can, but don’t worry if you fall asleep. It may be that by the end of the practice you can’t remember my words, but hopefully you’ll have absorbed the practice on some level.
What do I need to do to practice Yoga Nidra?
It’s worth taking time to get really comfortable. Maybe not on your bed, as that’s where you’re very likely to fall asleep!
- Make sure you’re nice and warm – your body will cool down while you practice, so it’s worth wearing socks or an extra layer to begin with.
- You might like to use an eye pillow (or a folded face flannel) over the eyes to block out any light.
- Lie in Savasana (as we do at the end of a yoga class).
- Add a lift under your head so your chin is tucking slightly in towards your chest. (You could use a folded blanket or a towel.)
- Place a bolster or a couple of cushions under your knees.
- Have your arms by your sides, palms facing up or resting lightly on your belly.
- Cover yourself in a blanket.