How To Do Yoga Nidra

When most people think of yoga, they imagine people holding a variety of different poses and postures. Some might think of meditation or a combination of the two.

The truth is that there is no single definition of yoga as there are so many different types out there to try. 

How To Do Yoga Nidra

If poses and meditation aren’t for you but you still want to try to find the relaxation and inner calm that yoga can bring, then yoga nidra might be what you need.

Although similar to meditation, yoga nidra uses different techniques to help you slow down and destress.

To find out more about yoga nidra and how to complete a yoga nidra practice, read this article!

What Is Yoga Nidra?

Yoga nidra shares some goals and methodology with meditation but it also differs in several important ways.

Yoga nidra sessions typically last 45 minutes and involve practitioners lying down and aiming to reach a state of deep relaxation while still remaining aware. 

Yoga nidra is a very structured form of yoga and shares many similarities with sleep. It’s often called “yogic sleep” for this reason as it asks practitioners to move through stages of relaxation that are very similar to sleep and dreaming.

Benefits Of Yoga Nidra

Yoga nidra helps to calm the sympathetic nervous system and helps the production of the hormone melatonin.

This can help people with their blood pressure and immune functions as well as ensure more restful sleep. Yoga nidra can also be of benefit to people who suffer from stress and anxiety. 

The 10 Steps Of A Yoga Nidra Practice

Before you begin your yoga nidra practice, make sure that you have a few items to hand. Like most forms of yoga, you don’t need any special equipment, but your practice will be more effective if you have a few items. 

You should have a yoga mat on the floor and a yoga pillow. You can use a folded blanket or regular pillow if you don’t have a yoga pillow such as a bolster.

You may be able to find a yoga nidra class at your local yoga studio. If not, there are plenty of classes available online through YouTube, podcasts, or meditation apps.

Yoga nidra is best performed with guidance, especially if you are not experienced.

Step One – Connection

Begin by trying to connect with the deepest desires of your heart. You should focus on your deepest desire or goal and visualize it coming true. Think about the joy you will feel when you accomplish your goal.

Step Two – Intention

There is a reason why you are on your yoga mat. This reason differs from person to person but can include self-care, relaxation, or finding your center.

Concentrate on your reason and intention and keep it at the center of your mind throughout your yoga nidra practice.

Step Three – Inner Resource

You need to find your inner resource. This is the safe space inside your body that you can retreat to at any time. Your safe space should keep you feeling secure and comfortable throughout your yoga nidra practice.

How To Do Yoga Nidra

Step Four – Scan

Scan your body from the top of your head and down to your toes. Focus on the different sensations you can feel and look out for the specific parts that the yoga nidra practice requests.

By having full awareness of our body and the sensations it contains, we can relax and reduce the tension that we feel.

Step Five – Breath

Concentrate on your breathing. Be aware of the airflow as it enters and leaves your body. Pay attention to the flow of air through your nostrils and how this makes your diaphragm and abdomen rise and fall.

As you focus your attention on the natural rhythm of your breath, you should find that your breathing will become slower and more controlled. This should help your body relax.

Step Six – Feelings

Note how you feel. Don’t try to block your feelings and instead recognize them for what they are, regardless of whether they are good or bad.

If you come to your yoga nidra practice with feelings of frustration and anger don’t ignore them! Recognize them for what they are and try to balance them out by thinking about their opponents.

Neutralize anger with calm and frustration with acceptance.

Step Seven – Thoughts

This is similar to Step Six. Don’t judge the thoughts that enter your mind during your yoga nidra practice. You may find that negative thoughts come to the forefront of your mind during your yoga nidra practice and that’s okay!

Instead of judging yourself and being disappointed, try to balance them with positive thoughts.

Step Eight – Joy

Joy can be hard to find but it can naturally occur during a yoga nidra practice. If you start to feel joyful, then open your mind and allow it to wash over you. Embrace happiness and wrap yourself in it.

Step Nine – Self

It’s important during our yoga nidra practice that we observe our Self and become aware of who we are. Be witness to your feelings, thoughts, and personality without judgment.

Self-awareness is very important in yoga nidra and self-awareness will help you be in tune with your thoughts and feelings.

Step Ten – Reflection

It’s important to reflect on how your yoga nidra session progressed. Think about how you feel now that the session has ended and how you felt while the session was progressing.

Consider how you can implement the calm and joy you felt into your everyday life. Try not to rush straight from your practice back into your regular life.

Instead, take these few moments to reflect and slowly ease yourself back to your regular days.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we introduced yoga nidra. We explained its benefits and also detailed the 10 steps needed for a successful yoga nidra practice.

Laura Simmons
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