There are a few things I would not be able to give up: yoga and good sleep. If you are like me, do not worry because I have got the best and easiest solution for you: Practice 20 minutes of Yoga Nidra a day and sleep as you have never slept before!
This practice will allow you to slow down and recover from the stressors in your life. Also, it will have great benefits on your body, mind, and soul.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is a meditative and relaxing practice intended to bring the body into a complete physical, mental, and emotional restorative state. In detail, the Sankrit word ‘Nidra’ means “sleep” or “slumber”.
Many people tend to put meditation and Yoga Nidra together as a single practice, but in reality, those are very different things: in particular, with Yoga Nidra, the goal is to move into a deeper state of relaxation maintaining a state of awareness and consciousness. This means the mind has to be present at all times while practicing it in order to take full advantage of the practice.
The table below lists a few of the major differences between Yoga Nidra and meditation:
|Total dissolution of mental state and energies.||Awakens dormant energies by gathering scattered pieces of the mind.|
|Begins with relaxation.||Begins with concentration.|
|Aims to unveil the state of consciousness and control the mind.||Aims to master the mind.|
|Lay supine and fully relaxed.||Sit tall with an upright spine to lift the body’s energy.|
Moreover, recent studies showed that yoga Nidra is effective in releasing the melatonin hormone while calming the sympathetic nervous system. In particular, this hormone is a powerful antioxidant that helps manage immune function, digestion, blood pressure, cortisol levels and induce restful sleep.
Why is Yoga Nidra Good for Sleeping?
Research says that one yoga Nidra session could leave you feeling like you indulged in a peaceful nap. However, it is important to know that Yoga Nidra should not be practiced when you are feeling tired because you will likely fall asleep and that is not the goal. In fact, yoga Nidra is not a practice that’s meant to release tiredness. I know that sounds totally against the purpose of this post, but keep reading and you will understand what I mean.
This yoga practice can feel sleep-like, offering very deep relaxation. Unlike sleep, however, you remain conscious the entire time and focus on your breathing. Moreover, you stay centered on the present moment and focus on the inside.
This deep state of relaxation and calmness is what will bring you to sleep better and easier. It is not something you do as an acute remedy against insomnia, but a path that you build with time and follow in order to find inner peace.
How to Practice Yoga Nidra for Better Sleep
During a Yoga Nidra session, you are guided by an instructor who will ask you to visualize certain images or scenes. You may also be asked to center your attention on different parts of the body.
20 minutes of Yoga Nidra are the perfect session length for someone who approaches this practice for the first time. Furthermore, if you would like to benefit from the cyclical rhythms of the body, it’s best to practice upon waking up or just before going to bed. In particular, a nighttime practice can help you sleep tight through most of the night.
Follow these simple steps:
- Lie on your yoga mat. My favorite yoga mats are from Manduka and Yogamasti. If you find difficult to lie on the floor you can practice yoga nidra in a reclinable chair or on the bed.
- Practice in a dark and quiet room to avoid any external distraction.
- Use an eye mask to block the light. I really like to practice with a weight mask, you can easily find them on Amazon.
- Cover yourself with a blanket, because the body temperature will cool down during the practice; Manduka and Decathlon have got great blankets for this purpose. Set an intention and connect to your heat’s deepest desires. This will help you feel focused and grounded and will also help you to welcome feelings and sensations.
- Scan your body part by part, notice all the sensations with curiosity, without trying to modify them.
- Focus on the breathing and how it impacts your body. When the practice is over notice the differences you feel within and how it have impacts on your daily life.
Where to Experience Yoga Nidra and Improve Your Sleep?
There are several yoga applications that offer Yoga Nidra sessions you can do in the comfort of your own home. The ones I use more often and consider the best are:
- Skill Yoga
- Inner Dimension Media
- Meditating Dolphin
Face to Face Classes
Many yoga studios and instructors offer the chance to practice Yoga Nidra. I find it more difficult because the room can be crowded, noisy, and more distracting than when I am at home alone. However, I know many people who really enjoy participating in group classes and at the end of the session, they also share sensations and feelings the practice aroused in them.
Another way to experience this style of yoga, but not only, is by participating in a yoga retreat. I have personally participated in a few yoga retreats and, for a yogaholic, those are the best full immersion experience possible. In particular, I have loved participating in yoga retreats in Phuket, Thailand where you can practice Yoga Nidra on the beach with only your thoughts and the sound of the waves to soothe you.
In particular, if you want to know which are the best yoga retreats in Phuket you can read this article I wrote.
Sleep Better with Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is a great tool to improve your sleep, but not only that. In fact, 20 minutes a day are enough to see great results in your overall well-being.
However, quieting your mind, letting go and ‘just be’ is much harder than you think. For this reason, be aware that yoga Nidra is not a quick fix and, like with most things, you will need to work on it hard and be constant.
But I promise it is definitely worth it so don’t give up if you struggle with your first session. Once you start to see the benefits you will not be able to give up this practice and it will become part of your daily wellness routine!
My name is Francesca and I am the editor of the Travel Heal Love blog. I am from Italy, but I have lived in the UK for almost 8 years. I have always loved traveling around the world, but about one year ago I decided to take a break from my nurse job and move to Australia. I have recently arrived in Melbourne after 8 months spent between Dubai, Thailand, and Bali.
I started to write my post to encourage everybody who is burned out and tired of the usual routine to embrace a new adventure and live to the fullest. For me traveling is the ultimate road to inner peace and self-care. That is why if you learn how to travel well you will heal and learn to love your life again!
I hope to see you all soon on my blog www.travelheallove.com
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