Yoga Nidra, also known as yogic sleep, is a conscious relaxation practice focused entirely on one pose – Savasana (Corpse Pose). The practice draws your attention inwards to find the balance between wakefulness and sleep, consciousness and unconsciousness.
What is Yoga Nidra in practice? While lying comfortably in Savasana, your teacher will guide you through your five layers of self (Pancha Maya Kosha) to achieve a deep sense of wholeness and contentedness.
If heated rooms and flowing poses aren’t your speed, Yoga Nidra can give you a refreshing break from your day. A Yoga Nidra class can help you achieve:
When you join a Yoga Nidra class at YogaWorks, you can expect your class to be a calm and relaxing experience. Your 30-60 minute class could leave you feeling like you had a deeply refreshing nap!
During class, your teacher will have you lie down on a mat, blanket, or bed. You will rest in Savasana, and enjoy a soothing, guided meditative journey inwards. If you fall asleep during class, that’s okay! Your unconscious mind will still absorb the benefits of this practice.
Yoga Nidra has been shown to work deeply with our autonomic nervous system. This system includes your heartbeat, digestion, breathing, and sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
Traveling deep into your Koshas (your inner layers) can help to calm your fight-or-flight response, and improve your stress management. It can also increase your melatonin levels, which helps to regulate your immune system, blood pressure, and quality of sleep.
Studies have shown that Yoga Nidra is more effective in reducing anxiety than meditation or other styles of yoga, and it may even help people work through trauma – making the benefits of Yoga Nidra benefits powerful indeed.
Ready to experience the soothing effects of Yoga Nidra? Members get unlimited access to all classes with our highly trained yoga teachers – try free for 14 days!
Yoga Nidra is a wonderfully restorative practice for absolutely anyone. Since you can do it from the comfort of your bed, it doesn’t require prior experience. Yoga Nidra is a great meditative practice for all ages and abilities.
In particular, Yoga Nidra benefits people who struggle to let go of daily stresses, have difficulty meditating, or suffer from sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression, or PTSD. It is also perfect for anyone looking to connect with themselves on a deeper level and experience bliss in their body.
The practice of Yoga Nidra originated in ancient India. Its roots can be traced to Sankhya philosophy, and the state of “yoga-nidra” was mentioned in both the Upanishads and the Mahabharata. Yoga Nidra was seen as the “deep sleep under the spell of spiritual meditation.”
Of course, the Yoga Nidra we know today is very different than in ancient times, and modern practice was popularized by Swami Satyananda Saraswati in the mid-20th century.
Satyananda Saraswati explained that you could open your mind in the state between wakefulness and dream – and he constructed a clear, 8-stage system to help practitioners get there.
Yoga Nidra and meditation may seem very similar at first glance. They are both about slowing down, turning the gaze inward, and relieving stress. But in reality, they are two different practices.
The most obvious difference is in your body position. During Yoga Nidra, you are lying down in Savasana. During meditation, you are usually seated.
Another difference is in the intention of the practice. Yoga Nidra is a yogic “sleep” which promotes self-awareness through relaxation of the mind and body. Meditation, on the other hand, is practiced with the goal of self-awareness and spiritual growth.
To truly understand what Yoga Nidra is, you need to have a deeper understanding of the Koshas – the five layers of self. These layers are deeply interconnected, and if there is an issue with one Kosha, it affects all the others.
Yoga Nidra helps you to draw attention to each of your Koshas, to peel them away until you reach your true essence – the blissful body. This practice can help you to process your emotions and achieve deep relaxation and peace.