If you ask anyone if they’ve ever been to a Yoga Nidra, they often will sigh, slump down and close their eyes. For those in the room who have never experienced Yoga Nidra, this response can be confusing. There is usually a moment of silence, and then the experienced nidra practitioners ATTEMPT to explain it. 🙂 It often often goes a little like this:
Confused yet? Well, we are here to give you a little background, to something that is quite indescribable.
Yoga Nidra translates: Yoga = Union; Nidra = Sleep. Yoga Nidra is a practice where the practitioner gets comfortable (most often reclined, though whichever position allows you to let go), and releases the hold on the active conscious state. Though the name states sleep, the goal of Yoga Nidra is actually NOT to sleep! Rather the practice guides the practitioner through various stages of consciousness to allow the body this ultimate space for relaxation.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati developed the practice of Yoga Nidra after studying the tantric practice of Nyasa. This practice of repetition of mantra was thought to bring individuals closer to samadhi (the state of bliss prior to the most pure state). This ancient practice was a powerful tool for those able to dedicate their lives to Nyasa. Swami Saraswati developed Yoga Nidra to make elements of this practice accessible and available to everyone!
The program designed, and since studied, rotates through levels of consciousness. In this practice, the brain settles in a state between awake and asleep. This place makes the mind incredibly calm, open and receptive. Additionally it allows the brain and the body an intense sense of calm. In one study a 30 minute Yoga Nidra was equated to 3 hours of restful sleep.
If you haven’t listened to Courtney’s Yoga Nidra, it is divine. Or allow yourselves the opportunity to attend an organized Yoga Nidra (like for our upcoming Deep Sleep Workshop!). There is something about that connection with one another that adds to the energy of the practice.