Yoga Nidra, also known as yogic sleep, is a meditation and conscious relaxation practice that is intended to induce total physical, mental, and emotional relaxation. The experience of complete, deep rest in yoga nidra can be extremely beneficial. Often with sleep we are unable to turn off our stress and get deep, meaningful rest. With Bee You’s Yoga Nidra the body is deeply supported (with props) so that the body can relax fully. Then your hive guide will guide you through the koshic layers of the self.
Celebrate the belly rumbles as your nervous system starts to settle, energy starts to move away from the “fight” of the “fight or flight reflex” and into digestion and relaxation!
Benefits of Yoga Nidra
Aside from being relaxing, restorative and restful, studies have shown that yoga nidra can also:
- Ease insomnia
- Decrease anxiety
- Help decrease symptoms of autoimmune disorders and chronic disease
- Alleviate stress
- Reduce PTSD, chronic pain and addictive thought processes
- Heighten awareness and focus
- Transform habits, behaviors and ways of thinking
- Foster feelings of peace, calm, and clarity
- Improve Digestion
The Difference Between Meditation and Yoga Nidra
In many ways, yoga nidra is similar to meditation. The benefits are similar and the reasons why people practice are similar. But there are some distinct differences.
Physical Position: Meditation is typically a seated practice, where your body is comfortable, yet upright and alert.
Attention: During meditation, you consciously place your attention on one anchor—usually the breath or a mantra, although there are many different types of meditation, some including various forms of guided meditation to help you focus.
State of Consciousness: In meditation, people can experience multiple states of consciousness within a single meditation. Many stay in what’s known as the waking state of consciousness, which is the state of consciousness where the majority of us humans spend most of our waking hours. There are certain meditation techniques that take you into transcendental consciousness, and even beyond—into higher states of consciousness.
Physical Position: Yoga nidra is generally practiced lying down so you can let go completely. Props, pillows and blankets are commonly used, as well as anything that will help you get into a totally comfortable, restful position.
Attention: A typical yoga nidra practice is highly guided, and takes your attention to specific places through a series of steps. In many ways, the specific instructions make it easier to relax than in meditation.
State of Consciousness: During yoga nidra, you move into the state of conscious deep sleep. You are no longer in the waking state of consciousness, but you also move past the dreaming state of consciousness and into the deep sleep state. However, your mind is actually awake, so it’s often discussed as the state between being asleep and awake. This is why it is said that yoga nidra is so restorative for the body. In both practices, the mind is conscious; in yoga nidra, the body is in a more restful state.
Try them both
If you are interested in exploring a relaxation practice try both practices to find out which suits you better. You may find that different moods or situations call for different practices. If you’re new to meditation and find yourself getting frustrated or having difficulty meditating, yoga nidra may be a good place to start.
How Does Yoga Nidra Work?
Although there are many different ways of teaching and practicing yoga nidra, most practices include several stages to relax the body, mind and emotions. These steps may include (but are not limited to):
- Body awareness
- Breath awareness
- Emotional awareness
- “Waking up” or re-integration
Each step is intended to take you deeper into an altered state of consciousness, the state between asleep and awake, where you’re fully conscious but your body and mind are fully at rest and ease. When you set a conscious intention at the beginning of your yoga nidra practice, and then let go and allow for deep relaxation of the body, mind and emotions, your unconscious opens up to new ways of thinking, healing, and fulfilling your conscious intentions.
Yoga Nidra Research
- “The study of consciousness within cognitive neuroscience has been dominated in recent years by investigations originating from collaborations between neuroscientific investigators and Buddhist meditation practitioners. The results have been remarkable, particularly when quantitative and qualitative research methods have been combined as they are in the neurophenomenological methodology originated by Francisco Varela. The addition of qualitative data about the experience of the subject greatly enriches the interpretive potential of quantitative data and honors the ultimate subjectivity of all phenomena, if we accept consciousness as the universal first principle as some quantum physicists now do. ” Read more here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30732840
- Effects of a yoga nidra on the life stress and self-esteem in university students “The yoga nidra group showed significantly decreased life stress intensity levels compared to the control group. The yoga group also showed significantly increased self-esteem scores compared to the control group.” Read more here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31003664
- Effect of yoga nidra on the self-esteem and body image of burn patients. “After yoga practice, there was a statistically significant increase and improvement in the self-esteem and body image of the experimental group (p < 0.05). A statistically significant decline in the score average of pretest and post-test of body image of the patients in the control group was observed (p < 0.05).” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31003692