You know that moment just before falling asleep? That feeling of deep relaxation with a slight trace of awareness? That’s what I’m reminded of when I practice Yoga Nidra. Nidra is a Sanskrit term for sleep. Yoga Nidra, or yogic sleep, refers to a restorative state of consciousness residing between wakefulness and sleep.
While there are different ways to access yogic sleep, the most common is through guided relaxation. Imagine a yoga class that heads directly to final rest. And then lingers there. Practice involves lying on the floor, supported by plenty of props (cushy mat, something soft for the head, bolster perhaps tucked beneath knees, blanket for added coziness…), and listening to a guided meditation.
The meditation focuses on gently releasing accumulated layers of physical, mental and emotional tension. This calms the nervous system and facilitates the body’s natural healing capabilities.
I practice Yoga Nidra because of how it makes me feel – more ease in my body, less stress in my mind. I also love that it’s safe and accessible for all ages and mobility levels – I can practice for life. My favorite thing about practicing Yoga Nidra though? The guaranteed benefits – worst-case scenario I get a restful nap.
This article was originally written for Unfold Yoga.