02 Mar 7 Reasons to Practice Yoga Nidra
Oh Yoga Nidra, we love you so much. Have you tried this beautiful practice for rest and reconnection yet? In this article we’ll dive into what Yoga Nidra is, and we’ll give you 7 reasons to practice Yoga Nidra.
What is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra is the yoga of sleep: a yummy practice that feels like a guided meditation, and lets you float in that space between being awake and falling asleep. It’s the perfect practice to help you wind down and destress after a long day, reconnect with yourself and prepare yourself for a good night sleep.
It’s like a guided meditation for conscious relaxation, with different stages that flow seamlessly into each other, and often include intention setting (or sankalpa) a connection with the breath, a variation of a body scan, connecting with different feelings and sensations, and often some form of visualization.
We usually practice Yoga Nidra lying down, either on a yoga mat, in bed, your carpet: wherever you can be comfy and in peace. Make sure you’re warm and comfortable, so bring a pillow for under your head, have an extra blanket ready in case you get a little cold, prop yourself up so well that you feel suuuper comfy, and have your eye pillow ready if you have one.
If you’d like to learn more about Yoga Nidra and brainwaves, read more here.
Reasons to Practice Yoga Nidra
Some people love Nidra because it makes them fall asleep easier, others practice in the middle of the day to get back to creativity and focus: there are many reasons why Yoga Nidra is incredibly beneficial, and many of these are backed by science.
1. To feel good
Research shows that practicing Yoga Nidra can increase the “feel-good” neurotransmitter dopamine levels by 85%. Dopamine doesn’t only help you feel good, it also improves motivation and concentration.
2. To support your mental health even more
Yoga Nidra also lowers stress levels, and it improves blood pressure levels and heart rate variables. In addition to that, it can help with PTSD, anxiety and depression, making this an amazing practice for everyone.
3. To support female health
Research also shows Yoga Nidra can stabilize hormone levels in women. Yoga Nidra can be a wonderful tool to support your menstrual cycle, it can help you on your fertility journey, and is very beneficial during pregnancy, postpartum and beyond.
4. To improve sleep and reduce insomnia
Yoga Nidra’s shown to improve sleep quality, to help you fall asleep easier, and to help you go back to sleep easily when you wake up in the middle of the night. It’s even said to reduce insomnia. We LOVE sleep.
5. It’s that practice that always delivers
Many people love practicing Yoga Nidra in bed before drifting off to sleep, because it makes it easy for them to fall asleep. For others it’s the opposite: they actually get very energized by the practice and prefer doing it in the middle of the day during a break or instead of a short nap. No matter if you practice feeling good and happy, or heavy, sad, or angry: the practice delivers. It gives you what you need, whenever you need it.
6. It’s an accessible practice for everyone
You don’t need any experience to practice Yoga Nidra. All you need is access to a good teacher through a live (online) practice or a recording. We recommend creating a comfortable space for you to practice in, such as your bed. Don’t worry if you fall asleep. It happens all the time, and please don’t fight sleep :). Really, there’s no wrong way to practice Yoga Nidra.
7. To reconnect with yourself
We love that Yoga Nidra supports our nervous system and makes us feel rest, but it doesn’t stop there. We truly believe that Yoga Nidra is a way of exploring our feelings, to create resilience to navigate life and its transitions, and to dive deep within without even realizing that we’re doing a lot of meaningful work while resting. It’s the practice that helped us navigate changes in life, it’s brought us important new ideas, and it makes us feel very connected to ourselves.
Practice Yoga Nidra with us
We often include Yoga Nidra in classes and women’s circles, but Claudia also teaches dedicated Yoga Nidra online for groups (they’re on the schedule here) and she created personal Yoga Nidra recordings that you can practice with for a longer period if you’re looking for healing, change or simply a very personal approach. We’re also on Insight Timer (the world’s biggest meditation app) with more and more Nidra sessions coming.
We’re looking forward to seeing you for a Yoga Nidra practice!