Yes, you read it right. But before you start doubting if yoga can actually help you sleep for real, let us clarify that yoga nidra actually translates into yogic sleep. And no, you don’t have to don brightly coloured leggings for this, nor do you have to mentally prep yourself for aching muscles. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. For starters, the main aim of yoga nidra is to relax the mind as much as possible – think of it as something more like a mind-body therapy. It’s been proven that 35-40 minutes of yoga nidra is equal to about three hours of restful sleep. But bear in mind that this isn’t meant to replace sleep, but rather, to help you sleep better at night. The goal is to walk out of a session feeling refreshed and well-rested, but here’s the catch, you’re not supposed to fall asleep at all. Sounds contradictory? We’ll explain more as we go.
What exactly is Yoga Nidra?
It’s basically a systemic, guided relaxation where the goal is to enter a conscious, but sleep-like state. Yoga Nidra sessions are available both as in-person classes, or since it’s the pandemic, you can hop on Youtube and follow any instructed video. Each instructor conducts the classes a little differently, some start with a reflection on the day, and others with some light stretches to ease tension in your body.
It’s also best done in the late afternoon, when you hit that midday lull. So instead of giving in to taking a nap, try doing a 30-min yoga nidra session, and you’ll come out of it relaxed and rejuvenated. And when night falls, your mind isn’t as wound up and overworked as it used to be, so insomnia may very well be a thing of the past.
What should I expect?
The best thing about yoga nidra is that you can’t actually do it wrongly. So even if you’re a little older or not accustomed to fitness at all, don’t be deterred just because it’s ‘yoga’. As long as you lie on your back and relax your mind as per guided to, you’ve got it in the bag.
Most sessions have you remain in the fan favourite savasana pose, aka the corpse pose. Try to follow the instructor as best as you can, but bear in mind that it should be relaxing, so don’t go all out of your way to stretch as if it’s a hot yoga class. Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself falling asleep on your first few attempts, though. After all, the reason why we’re doing this is because we are that sleep deprived and worn out. Keep trying, and eventually you’ll reach your peak yoga nidra moment.
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