Updated: Oct 30, 2022
Yoga Nidra is suitable for all ages, all abilities and any level of Yoga or Mindfulness enthusiast. If you can lay down quietly and listen, you can develop a beneficial Yoga Nidra practice with both physical and mental benefits.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is the ancient skill of mastering the ability to enter a deep state of sleep where the conscious mind is active.
Also called yogic sleep, typically, you will lay out a yoga mat, perhaps with some bolsters if required. Then, lay yourself, or the teacher guiding the class will invite you to enter into Shavasana, also called corpse pose. The teacher will guide you in a practice that will take you to a state where the conscious and unconscious are connected, in a deep state of conscious relaxation. The teacher will guide you to a state where the breath is quiet, and the body is at peace. The mind is quiet and is a place of awareness, but relaxed and in that moment. There is no sense of space, reason, worry or time as the mind is guided to be in that second, that minute, that hour.
The mind is open and relaxed. It can quickly move and shift from the subconscious to the conscious with little effort. The brain and body are sent into a state of healing, where brain activity is minimal, and the body is able to fall into a state of healing.
What are the Benefits Of Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is a place of peace in a stressful, busy life or for those struggling to quiet a chatty or worried mind. The results for those that struggle to find peace, that are troubled, or that struggle to relax and find a quiet space to recharge when they live a busy and demanding life are immediate. It is, in fact, stated that once mastered, an hour on Yoga Nidra is equivalent to four hours of sleep in terms of physical and mental healing.
However, anyone in any place in life can benefit from this healing and welcoming practice. More commonly, though, this is sought out by people who have suffered trauma, are in burnout, or are struggling to let go of heartbreak or release grief. Not just for those that need peace, it can be used for those that simply want to improve their cognitive ability through resting and enhancing brain activity, connecting with the inner self, and practicing the art of keeping the peace with the conscious and unconscious self.
Not just for healing, Yoga Nidra can be used to enhance intellect, as it can improve memory, brain function and the ability to digest and remember information. For example, the ability to learn a foreign language was said to be 1/5th quicker than the time taken in conventional methods when using the techniques employed in Yoga Nidra. ( Ostrander 1973 )
The ability to train the brain, conscious and unconscious, to focus makes many academic studies easier to understand and retain information, improving student outcomes and making learning and assessments less stressful.
Yoga Nidra is a practice that can take some time to master, as sleeping is not yoga Nidra, Meditation is not Yoga Nidra, and full consciousness is not yoga Nidra. It is the ability to smoothly move from the conscious to the subconscious self with awareness and deliberate action with a focus on the peace of connection with our presented and our authentic selves. Hence, the ability to heal and grow from emotional trauma and heal the body allows for better health and improves our ability to learn to harness peace within ourselves, with immeasurable benefits to personal and business relationships, but most importantly, the relationship with self.