Yoga Nidra - Deep Rest in Yogic Sleep
"Yoga Nidra" means "yogic sleep" and goes far beyond deep relaxation to a place of natural peace and quiet that is tremendously healing. It is a power of awakening to who we are and it is more than relaxation. It can give us access to our highest states of consciousness, Samadhi.
There are five different outcomes that can come with yoga nidra. The desired outcome determines what approach you take. These are: 1. Healing 2. Transformation or shift in our emotional conditioning 3. Improvement of cognition, memory and focus 4. Ability to achieve a sankalpa or our power of will and determination in an affirming statement we want to achieve. 5. Spiritual Awakening
FAQ with Yoga Nidra: 1. When should you practice? When you can relax fully on an empty stomach (maybe mid-afternoon) 2. How often should you practice? As often as you can, but ideally 2-3x/week for a lasting value 3. How long is a practice? As little as 15 min and as long as 45-60 min depending on the approach. 4. What props do I need? Anything that would support your body so it can relax and rest fully. Some people like to put a small blanket or pillow under their head, a rolled blanket or bolster under the knees and cover up with a blanket to keep the body warm as it rests for up to 45-minutes. Anything to help you achieve relaxation in your physical body.
If it is difficult to settle into the practice, incorporate lifestyle choices that will support deeply relaxing such as less caffeine and using a slower asana practice (e.g., yin, restorative, gentle) to invite more relaxation into your life.
You can also find Yoga Nidra practices for free on many online yoga websites such as Yoga International and YouTube. I really like Rod Stryker's Yoga Nidra practices and I can listen to him on Yogaglo and other sites. The App "Insight Timer" offers a lot of wonderful meditations including a wide variety of yoga nidra practices to choose from.