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Yoga Nidra Home Practice

Updated on January 1, 2011

A Download and an Understanding…


     If you aren’t already familiar with yoga nidra it seems the first thing you should know and understand about it is that one does not need to be a yogi or already have a meditation practice at all. In fact this may be the only form of yoga or meditation you incorporate into your life, and if you only choose one this is a wise choice. This may be why yoga nidra is gaining such popularity since the benefits of yoga nidra are available to those who regularly participate in yoga and meditation, as well as those who do not.

     Yoga nidra is an easy way to let go of stress, rest deeply and have a profound meditation experience without sitting and staring at a wall; a meditation fast track of sorts. Like any type of yoga or meditation, a home practice is just as effective and enjoyable; since yoga nidra should be led by an experienced teacher a good download to use is

     If you are not familiar with yoga nidra it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of what it is, what it does and what to expect. Yoga nidra is literally yogic sleep although can also be described as sleep with awareness or a waking state of conscious deep sleep, although physical sleep does not occur during the practice – at least not intentionally. Participants recline fully into a comfortable, savasana like pose and the guided meditation begins and continues for anywhere from 20-60 minutes (sometimes more).

      There are 8 stages of the Yoga Nidra practice with the first stage being relaxation. Next, students will set a Sankalpa or a resolve for their own practice; similar to a goal that can be related to body, mind and soul or as frivolous as the desire for a Mercedes Benz. Scanning of the body is the next step in which mind is guided throughout the physical body for awareness and total rest.

     The fourth stage of the yoga nidra practice is the breath work in which the breath and body connection is explored. This is followed by a journey into exploring sensations and emotions, usually by comparing opposites. The teacher then guides practitioners into the imagery part of the session; this part can be unique to the teacher or particular practice and certainly is unique to the student. At this point the resolve is reintroduced and finally the students are carefully guided back through the body to a state of consciousness. There are two important factors are to try to remain still and awake if possible during the process – but these are merely suggestions as there are no actual rules to the practice of yoga nidra.

     The benefits can vary with participants just as the individual experience itself can. Generally the most common (positive) side effects may include: calmness of the mind and nervous system, a steadier balance of emotions, better sleep and much more. To some degree this is like hitting the reset button making it less likely, at least for a while, to feel that life is coming at you.   


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