We have spoken before about the importance of finding a bedtime routine that works well for you. That means it is gentle and soothing, without relying on screens, alcohol, or medication to ease into a night of sleep. Whether you already love yoga or haven’t even tried it, one of the most popular additions to a mellow nighttime routine is Yoga Nidra. It is an immensely powerful meditation technique.
Yoga Nidra is Great for Everyone!
Yoga Nidra is one of the easiest yoga practices to learn and work into your healthy daily routine. During your time in Yoga Nidra, you will rest comfortably in Savasana (corpse pose) and experience a systematic meditation that takes you through the Pancha Maya Kosha (five layers of self). Time spent in Yoga Nidra should relax you, ease your mental burdens, and leave you with a sense of wholeness.
Not everyone can pull their leg behind their head, or even touch their toes for that matter. Yoga Nidra, however, is a form of yoga that all people, from children to senior citizens, can easily do. All that your body needs to do is lie down on the floor and let your mind get to work untangling itself from the day.
Should You Fall Asleep in Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra promotes the deep rest and relaxation that your body, mind, and soul desperately need after your busy daily routine. The stages of body scan and breath awareness will calm your nervous system, leading to less stress and better health. That must mean it is a good idea to crawl into bed and do it right before you fall asleep for the night, right? Actually, not quite.
“The difference between deep sleep and Yoga Nidra is that in Yoga Nidra we stay 100 percent alert and awakened,” says Dharma Mittra, who leads a Yoga Nidra workshop. You’re not supposed to just be laying there. The Pancha Maya Kosha meditation aspect of Yoga Nidra is important! Yoga Nidra is a guided exercise, expertly steering your attention throughout your body. When you fall asleep, you are totally unconscious and unable to learn anything because you cannot see, feel, and experience what is going on. “A little bit of consciousness must remain in order to witness and experience the lack of activities in the mind and body,” Mittra says.
Tips for Staying Awake
“But I am so relaxed! It’s impossible to stay awake” you may say. There are a few tricks to staying alert. As you begin your Yoga Nidra practice, it is a good idea to either attend a class in-person or virtually. This guided meditation gives you something to focus on. Make the conscious effort to remain alert and pay attention to your teacher. The teacher also usually makes some sound, such as the clap of a hand or ringing of the bell, in order to keep the participants awake.
Don’t be discouraged if your mind wanders at first, or if you nod off a bit. The heart of Yoga Nidra is in cultivating body and breathing awareness, and this happens over time. With constant practice, doing it every night before bed, you’ll stop losing your consciousness. “It’s an amazing state of bliss,” Mittra says.
It’s a good idea to practice your Yoga Nidra on the floor, either on a rug or a dedicated yoga mat. Once you’ve completed your session, climb into your carefully crafted sleep oasis. The combination of your relaxed mind and one of the world’s best luxury mattresses is sure to make you fall asleep easily and quickly.