If you struggle to fall asleep or to sleep soundly, you need to try this. For real.
Yoga Nidra, or yogic sleep, is a fully relaxed meditative state. Your mind remains lightly engaged while your body feels like it’s melting you’re so relaxed. By “lightly engaged” I mean you follow the verbal cues of the instructor (whether in a class or via a recording), you don’t quite fall asleep, but the practice helps to clear you mind of all “clutter.” It’s amazing. I can’t even tell you.
Some definitions that explain this better than I can:
From Yoga Journal: “Also known as yogic sleep or sleep with awareness, Yoga Nidra is an ancient practice that is rapidly gaining popularity in the West. It is intended to induce full-body relaxation and a deep meditative state of consciousness. “We live in a chronically exhausted, overstimulated world,’ says Rod Stryker. ‘Yoga Nidra is a systematic method of complete relaxation, holistically addressing our physiological, neurological, and subconscious needs.’… ‘Yoga Nidra uniquely unwinds the nervous system,’ Stryker says, ‘which is the foundation of the body’s well-being.’ “
From Wikipedia: “The practice of yoga relaxation has been found to reduce tension and anxiety. The autonomic symptoms of high anxiety such as headache, giddiness, chest pain, palpitations, sweating and abdominal pain respond well. It has been used to help soldiers from war cope with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yoga nidra refers to the conscious awareness of the deep sleep state, referred to as prajna in Mandukya Upanishad.“
How many night do you go to bed with your mind whirling and find it hard to settle into sleep? I’m pretty sure most (all) of us experience this. I did a Yoga Nidra guided meditation Sunday and Monday nights before bed and woke up feeling better than I have in ages. Ages! Last night I didn’t and was back to the normal period of struggling to calm my thoughts so I could fall asleep.
P.S. Listening through these when you’re not settling in for the practice, but just listening… maybe don’t do that. It sounds pretty ridiculous at times! I usually listen through in bed with lights off. Basically, go to bed with this. At the end I’ll get up just long enough to move my computer or headphones and go right to sleep.
P.P.S. Don’t worry if these seem long. At first it seems crazy to stay up an extra 30+ minutes, but I promise it’s not really “staying up.” If you’re worried about the time at first, find an evening you can go to bed a little early.
Here are a couple of video I’ve done: