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Yoga Nidra FAQs

Looking to dive deeper into the Yoga Nidra subject and get answers to some questions then this FAQ might have these. Learn all there is to know about this helpful meditation.

elderly couple practicing yoga nidra

What happens in Yoga Nidra?

During a Yoga Nidra session, practitioners begin by lying on their backs in corpse pose. Their arms rest by their sides with palms facing the sky and their eyes closed. Depending on their location, they may lay on their back on their bed, couch, floor, or yoga mat. Pillows rolled blankets, or yoga blocks are sometimes incorporated to elevate body parts and improve comfort. Each session will be different, and how subsequent steps or stages are approached will largely depend on the instructor and the scripts they choose to read.

The Yoga Nidra process typically starts with breath awareness methods. After this, the yoga teacher will walk practitioners through a body scan to feel physical sensations, energy, emotions, and thoughts so they can rest in open awareness. The instructor will tell the practitioner to focus on individual parts of the body, feeling them one at a time. The goal here is to hone in on each body part and sense it acutely before moving on to the next part. After this, the practitioner will focus on the body as a whole. This enhances the harmonious integration of the entire organism of being.

This process will all occur without passing the border into sleep. Practitioners often relay feeling heavy or grounded, calm and still. At this point, the instructor will use visualizations and guided imagery to bring the practitioner into an even deeper state. The initial intention and sankalpa will be revisited multiple times throughout the process.

Typically, there is no time limit on Yoga Nidra sessions. It may last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, though normally, it takes around 30 minutes.

 

What happens if you fall asleep during Yoga Nidra?

While deactivating the mind through Yoga Nidra, practitioners sometimes fall asleep. Brain and body relaxation can prepare the body for deep rest. Although practitioners are awake and conscious for the exercise duration, the meditation practice will have one feeling relaxed, at peace, and ready for bed. It is OK to fall asleep during training. However, remaining conscious while on the border of sleep will provide more profound benefits. The more one practices Yoga Nidra, the easier it will be, and the more help will come.

 

Can Yoga Nidra replace sleep?

No, Yoga Nidra cannot replace sleep. However, when done correctly, Yoga Nidra practice brings the body to the edge of sleep. This makes it easy to think it can replace sleep, but both are needed for enhanced well-being. Yoga Nidra helps people explore consciousness while in a state of relaxation.

Practice Yoga Nidra before bedtime to prepare the body to reach a deeper resting state. This may reduce the length of rest while obtaining the full benefits of longer sleep. Yoga Nidra can prepare us for sleep but does not replace it. Although it is not a substitute for actual sleep, one hour of Yoga Nidra by experienced practitioners is equivalent to four hours of sleep due to the brain waves experienced along the way.

 

Is Yoga Nidra hypnosis?

No, Yoga Nidra is not hypnosis. Although both begin with a guided relaxation to prepare the mind and body, they go two very different ways.

 

Is Yoga Nidra Lucid Dreaming?

Cultivating the ability to be aware that you are dreaming is central to Yoga Nidra and the Buddhist Dream Yoga. However, in lucid dreaming, one has little to no awareness of one's actual internal or external environment and is only aware of the dream realm.

 

Is Yoga Nidra a guided meditation?

woman practicing guided meditation

Yoga Nidra is very similar to a guided meditation but has some distinct differences. Meditation is practiced in a seated position and embraces a waking state of consciousness. When done correctly, meditation makes it possible to enter and remain in the theta state. This is the state before the body enters the delta state - the state of the deepest sleep cycle.

On the other hand, Yoga Nidra is practiced lying down and moving into a deep state of conscious awareness sleep. Yoga Nidra works to help the practitioner enter the delta state, which is a deep healing state. Relaxing in this natural state is the ultimate goal of Yoga Nidra. When done correctly, you can experience an even deeper brain-wave state where your brain is without thought. This profound state cannot be reached during sleep. Although meditation and Yoga Nidra are very similar, they are not the same.

 

Why does Yoga Nidra work?

In simple terms, Yoga Nidra helps activate the relaxation response. This can improve the body’s parasympathetic nervous systems and endocrine system, which affect hormones. Yoga Nidra decreases anxiety and boosts your mood while also helping regenerate and repair cells.

 

How often should you do Yoga Nidra?

Yoga Nidra can be practiced as often as one would like, and conveniently, it is one of the most accessible yoga practices to incorporate into one's daily life. However, to obtain the full benefits of the practice, it should be practiced regularly. This may be daily to several times per week. Consistent practice of Yoga Nidra is the key to obtaining optimal results.

 

When should you do Yoga Nidra?

You can practice Yoga Nidra meditation at any time of day. However, it is not recommended right after eating because you will be more likely to fall asleep. Although it is okay to do so, the goal of yogic sleep is to remain alert and awake. Therefore, by falling asleep, you will not obtain the many benefits. Practicing in the morning can be a beneficial way to start your day. In addition, Yoga Nidra before bed can also relax and bring peace to the body to help you get a more restful and deep sleep.

 

What is Yoga Nidra Good for?

The benefits of Yoga Nidra are extensive. No matter who the practitioner is, Yoga Nidra offers the opportunity to improve well-being. It can effectively reduce bodily stress and anxiety through deep relaxation and increased self-awareness. It also supports an underlying sense of confidence by helping one become more in touch and understanding with their body.

Dr. Richard Miller developed a program called iRest (integrative restoration) which is used to manage negative emotions and stress like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain. He is responsible for bringing the practice to nontraditional settings, including Head Start programs, chemical dependency centers, veterans clinics, Montessori schools, and homeless shelters. The remarkable variety of settings demonstrates that yogic sleep can benefit all differently.

Practicing Yoga Nidra, even for just a short period, is a form of self-care. When done correctly, it resets the nervous system allowing one to experience deep relaxation. Yoga Nidra takes patience, however, and the more frequently it is practiced, the more benefits will come.

 

Disclaimer

As with any type of exercise, yoga does not come without its own risks. Practicing yoga should be done with care and respect, reducing the risk of injury.

If you are suffering from any medical conditions or are unsure which type of yoga or exercise is best suited for you and your conditions, we advise you to consult a medical professional or your doctor.

 

Anahana Yoga Nidra Resources

 

Yoga Nidra Wikis

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra Script

Yoga Nidra FAQs

Yoga Nidra for Sleep

Yoga Nidra Benefits


 

Yoga Nidra Blogs

What is Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra for Beginners

Yoga Nidra Sleep

Benefits of Yoga Nidra


 

References

Cleveland Clinic 

Progress in Brain Research - Volume 244

A Beginner's Guide to Yoga Nidra. Beginner's Guide to Yoga Nidra.

Cognitive Brain Research - Volume 13, Issue 2

Yoga Nidra and Sleep. Wholesome Resources

International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

American Psychological Association 

Yoga Nidra 101: The Practice of Psychic Sleep. Be Yogi.

Yoga Nidra for Sleep: The Benefits of Guided Yoga Nidra Meditation. Yoga Journal

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