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Yoga Nidra

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

A woman is seated crossed-legged with arms relaxed with the index finger and thumb touching on a yoga mat on an outdoor wooden deck watching the sun rise.  A palm tree is situated in front of the rising sun.

Yoga Nidra is a type of yogic practice well-known and used by sages for eons. Nidra means sleep, but with a trace of awareness. By following this practice, one can achieve a state of consciousness that is neither sleep nor wake, neither hypnosis nor concentration but produces a state of deep physical and emotional relaxation. The tradition is meant to be followed by sleep, but after entering a transitional space, time becomes non-existent. This technique has been used to achieve a state of ‘Samadhi’ (meditative consciousness) — where consciousness subsides, but awareness remains present.

It works through using your minds-eye to trace awareness of individual parts of your body, scanning each section, and maintaining single-pointed attention on the area of focus. Using your mind to focus on different parts of your body trains your perception to remain calm and quiet while rooting out any repressed thoughts from the deeper realms of the consciousness. Verbally cueing you to go from one side of your body to another, sensing what’s present, and experiencing yourself as that field of awareness in which the sensory information comes and goes. By inducing alpha brainwaves in both hemispheres of the brain, it has been proven the safest and surest method to bring about an altered state of consciousness. It is effective in falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting back to sleep. The reduction in arousal and reduced emotional stress are the probable reasons for the significant improvement in insomnia patients with this meditation practice.

Benefits of Yoga Nidra include improvement of:

  • menstrual abnormalities,

  • symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder,

  • diabetes,

  • anxiety,

  • depression.

  • Yoga Nidra can also awaken inherent creativity while promoting learning and memory. Not only is there an immediate and far-ranging benefit, but the consistent practice can also reduce blood pressure and anxiety for up to 12 months after the original Yoga training

Free apps are available for download on your phone, like Insight Timer, that can effectively guide you through your new relaxation practice.

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