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Yoga Nidra—Restorative as Deep Sleep

Did you sleep well last night? If not, you need a yoga nidra meditation!

Are you feeling stressed or anxious? Then, you need a yoga nidra meditation!

Have a lot on your plate? If yes, you also need a yoga nidra meditation!

Many Americans are stressed and anxious, so they aren’t getting good quality sleep. And most of us are way too busy to deal with sleep issues on top of daily stress!

Help is desperately needed. And help is here, in the form of Yoga Nidra meditation. Read on to learn how to use this unique guided meditation for deep rest and relaxation.

Try it for yourself! Scroll down for a 20-minute guided practice.

What is Yoga Nidra meditation?

The ancient practice of yoga nidra, sometimes called ‘yogic sleep,’ is a meditation that guides you into conscious awareness of each part of the body for effortless, deep relaxation.

Yoga nidra is not about falling asleep. Rather, it induces a state of deep rest and inner awareness that is as restorative as deep sleep. Although the goal of yoga nidra isn’t to fall asleep, you may if you are carrying lots of fatigue.

When is the best time to do Yoga Nidra?

If you ask a yoga teacher when you should do yoga nidra, they are likely to say following yoga postures. If you ask a meditation teacher, they’ll probably tell you it’s when you need a power nap. If you ask an insomniac, they might say at night in bed. There is no wrong answer! Whatever works for you is the best time.

How to Prepare for a Yoga Nidra Session

Choose a quiet space where you will be able to relax without disturbance. It is recommended to do some light stretching, exercise, or yoga before you start. Dim the lights and grab a blanket for comfort. Perform this meditation lying flat on a yoga mat or other firm surface on your back in Corpse Pose. Make sure you are comfortable, as you will be in this position for 20 minutes, possibly a little longer if you choose or fall asleep.

How to do Yoga Nidra Step-by-Step

If this is your first time experiencing Yoga Nidra meditation, consider using the guided version in the video below.

  1. Lie in Corpse Pose with your arms by your sides, palms facing the sky, and feet gently splayed outward. Allow your eyes to close as you gently take a few deep breaths in and out. Then, allow yourself to relax and completely let go.
  2. Begin by lightly taking your attention to your right foot. Keep your awareness here for a few seconds as you slowly relax your right foot. Then, move your attention to the right knee, thigh, and hip. Once you complete all parts of the right leg, draw your awareness to the entire right leg and relax it completely. Finally, take a deep breath in, followed by a breath out.
  3. Repeat the process on the left leg.
  4. Guide your awareness up through all parts of the body, sequentially relaxing them: your genitals, abdomen, stomach, chest, back, right arm, and shoulder, followed by left arm and shoulder, neck/throat, face, and head.
  5. Take a deep breath in, become aware of your whole body, observing any sensations that arise. Relax here for a few minutes, letting all stress melt away and evaporate from the body.
  6. After a few minutes of relaxation, slowly bring your awareness back to your surroundings. When you feel ready, gently turn onto your right side, and relax for a few moments.
  7. Taking your time, gently push your way up into a seated position.
  8. Take a few deep breaths in and out, and slowly and gradually open your eyes when you feel complete.

Enjoy deep relaxation with this guided Yoga Nidra Meditation led by Art of Living Founder Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Benefits of Yoga Nidra

With more and more people looking to use yoga nidra, it would be good to know why?! So, here are some of the benefits of the practice.

  • It helps flush toxins out of the body.
  • It offers the opportunity to connect with yourself intimately, inside and out.
  • It aids not only in physical healing but also in emotional healing.
  • It can help reduce tension and manage chronic pain.
  • It can ease symptoms of various psychological conditions, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction.
  • It is an effortless way to reduce stress.
  • It is easy to incorporate into your daily life and takes just minutes to practice.
  • There is no wrong way to practice Yoga Nidra, and anyone can do it!

What is the difference between meditation and yoga nidra?

Although yoga nidra offers a meditative experience, there is so much more meditation practice that incorporates techniques like mantra-based and breath-based meditation. When you practice yoga nidra, you gain all of the above-mentioned benefits, but generally speaking, those benefits will quickly fade if the practice is missed or stopped.

In contrast, most other meditation techniques’ benefits build over time and surpass what is possible through yoga nidra. Here too, missing your meditation practice repeatedly or stopping altogether could cause beneficial gains to diminish.

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