Have you discovered Yoga Nidra yet? Yoga Nidra is an ancient style of guided meditation that brings the student into a deep state of conscious rest. While many studios refer to Yoga Nidra as “yogic sleep,” I don’t agree with that definition. It is a state of being between sleep and consciousness that’s conducive to deep emotional and physical healing, rewiring your brain, and facilitating self-exploration. Your body is completely relaxed, but your mind is alert.
I think Yoga Nidra is an antidote to our modern, always-connected lifestyles. With the collective stress of our culture, our nervous systems are constantly in a fight-or-flight, sympathetic state. Yoga Nidra is an effective and efficient way to access the parasympathetic state, which is where healing happens.
Who Can Do Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is accessible to everyone, young and old, and off all shapes, sizes, and physical abilities. Instead of doing various poses throughout the practice, the student simply lies in savasana on their mat, most often with lots of props like bolsters and blankets to make them comfy and cozy.
What is a Yoga Nidra class like?
Once you are comfy and cozy, the teacher will have you close your eyes and will direct your awareness to your body, breath, and conjure up imagery that helps you more easily transition into that ultra-relaxed state that leaves you feeling so rested afterward. Your teacher will talk the entire class, guiding you through the process., which generally lasts from 30-45 minutes.
Many students fall asleep when they first start attending Yoga Nidra classes, and that’s OK. Once you’ve fallen asleep, you are no longer in Yoga Nidra. But the more you practice, the more you’ll be able to stay in Yoga Nidra and reap its restorative benefits.
What are some of the Benefits?
- Reduces stress and its negative physiological effects
- Reduces depression and anxiety
- Reduces reactivity, less “fight-or-flight” reactions
- Reduces chronic pain
- Improves quality of sleep
- Increases creativity, focus, and attention
- Creates new neural pathways in your brain
I currently lead private Yiga Nidra classes, but hope to be sharing it via studios soon. Keep an eye out here and on the calendar for new classes.
“May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.” – Rochelle
About the Author
Rochelle Barcellona is an animal-loving, family-and-friends-embracing, yoga-meditation-and-ayurveda-teaching, happy red-headed yogi who owns Nourish Mind Body & Spirit in Northern California. You may learn more about Rochelle here. Rochelle may be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and 916-353-5200.
(Photo of Rochelle courtesy of Bella Barcellona Photography.)