March 21, 2024

Exploring Yoga Nidra for Better Sleep

Achieving a good night’s sleep can sometimes feel like an impossible feat. The demands of work, family and daily life can leave us feeling stressed and restless, making it difficult to unwind and fall asleep. However, there is a powerful tool that can help promote deep relaxation and improve sleep quality. It’s called Yoga Nidra and is personally one of my favourite practices. If you’ve never heard of it or know the name but have never tried it, read on to discover more about this supremely powerful, and very enjoyable, form of deep relaxation. 

Yoga Nidra, often referred to as “yogic sleep,” is a form of guided meditation that promotes profound rest and rejuvenation. Originating from the ancient Indian tradition of Yoga, Nidra combines gentle stretching, breathing exercises and guided meditation to help calm the mind and body, leading to a state of peace.

Understanding the practice

At its core, Yoga Nidra is about achieving a state of consciousness that is between wakefulness and sleep. During a typical  session, you are guided through a series of steps designed to relax your body and mind. These steps may include focusing on your breath, scanning your body for areas of tension, and even visualising calming images.

The practice  is rooted in the concept of “pratyahara,” which means withdrawal of the senses. By turning your attention inward and away from external stimuli, you can quiet the mind and prepare yourself for dropping down into a quieter way of being.

Incorporating it into your routine

Incorporating this practice into your routine shouldn’t feel like another thing to add to your to-do list like ‘drink more water’, meditate’ and ‘get 8 hours sleep’. Many of us are already trying the best we can to live as well as possible. I try to attend a practice once a week or  listen to a recording a few nights a week when in bed to drift off to sleep.  I’m now at the stage where I miss the practice if I don’t do it –  so it has its own momentum. Rather like enjoying the feeling after cleaning your teeth can compel you to do it, it doesn’t feel like a chore but rather an experience you welcome. 

It can be a very powerful and helpful tool for improving sleep quality. Here are some tips for incorporating it into your life:

The sleep benefits

Practising  regularly can have a number of benefits for your sleep quality and overall well-being. Some of the key benefits include:

In conclusion, this is a powerful practice that can help improve your slumber, which we know is so fundamental for a base level of good health. By incorporating Yoga Nidra into your weekly routine, you can experience improved relaxation, reduced stress and anxiety and enhanced mood. So why not give it a try? Find a quiet space, lie down, and let the practice of ‘yogic sleep’ guide you to a deeper, more restful place.

If you would like to try the practice in person with an experienced teacher, Emily at Mount Martha Yoga is on hand to help. She runs a peaceful studio for meditation and yoga on Mornington Peninsula and can also travel to your home, holiday accommodation or conference venue as mobile yoga teachers on Mornington Peninsula.