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What is Yoga Nidra?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep), or Psychic Sleep, may be loosely described as a form of guided meditation that relaxes and renews, although a brief description does not suffice to explain this profound, yet simple practice.


Adapted from a traditional Tantric practice, Yogic Sleep is one of the deepest states of relaxation possible while still maintaining consciousness. It's believed that an hour of Psychic Sleep can be as restful as four hours of conventional sleep! The systemic method of inducing complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation is used for stress management, to enhance the learning process and awaken inner potential. Research has shown that practicing Yoga Nidra can help to alleviate insomnia, anxiety and depression.


In order to completely relax, the inner tensions of the body, emotions and mind must be released. With Yoga Nidra, we enter a state between wakefulness and sleeping where the mind is exceptionally receptive, muscular tensions are easily removed by the deep physical relaxation attained. Yogic Sleep can sedate the emotional structure of the mind and enable access to the subconscious mind, releasing mental tension and harmonizing the many facets of our being.



Yoga Nidra is generally practiced lying quietly in semidarkness, with no temperature extremes or excess air movement. It induces a state of sensory withdrawal, so it's important to feel comfortable and safe prior to practicing. Depending on the teacher, the technique is likely to be practiced in stillness, simply listening and being aware of each experience. It is also important to refrain from conventional sleep during Yogic Sleep, you may practice seated comfortably if this is a concern.


Psychic sleep can take various forms but generally involves discovering our heartfelt desire and setting an intention or affirmation to manifest change. Your teacher may use the term 'sankalpa', which is a positive statement in the present tense as though it is already happening. A body scan will follow, where it is best to simply feel each part of the body as it is mentioned, rather than actually moving. Additional time may be spent on areas of the body, which are particularly sensitive (head, hands and feet). Engaging the more subtle layers of our waking existence will follow the body scan, including breath awareness, the experience of opposites and guided imagery. In the process of Yoga Nidra, we can discover and connect to that aspect of ourselves that is always peaceful and at ease.


It's difficult to explain the wonderful state of Yoga Nidra, it's best to experience the technique firsthand. We offer Yoga Nidra daily from 3:30 - 4:00pm in our serene and beautiful yoga studio. Discover for yourself how you can reduce stress and help to restore your mind and body to their natural, peaceful state with the help of Yogic Sleep.