More Restful than Sleep – Yoga Nidra

By Jen Irwin

What is Yoga Nidra and why should I try it?

Yoga Nidra is often described as conscious sleep. Sometimes we promote it as guided deep relaxation. It is a form of meditation practice. It is a yoga practice too, with just one pose – savasana and awareness rather than control of the breath. Sometimes Yoga Nidra is confused with hypnosis but the practice is a journey of awareness rather than submission. Guides of Yoga Nidra, take practitioners on a journey using their voice. Practitioners need only find a comfortable position for their body, listen and intend to remain conscious and aware.
The journey begins with acknowledging that the practice has a beginning and end, the room and the time are being held in safe regard by the teacher and an intention. The intention can be chosen by the practitioner or suggested by the teacher as an example, ‘I intend to remain awake and aware’ or ‘I intend to promote peace in my being’.
The teacher then guides the attention of the practitioner through many different aspects of the self, body, breath, mind, and on and on. The simple awareness without a need to change, do or become, elicits release and relief. The systematic, acknowledgement of the many facets of our being helps us to integrate our daily and life long experiences. It compels a feeling of wholeness and ultimately a connection to the wholeness of nature.
That, my friends is a whole lot of words and no replacement for the actual practice!
Join us at Dew Yoga for Yoga Nidra practices:
Tuesdays 4:30pm led by Robert Ortner
Fridays (1st, 3rd or Last Friday of the month) at 7pm led by Alison Denicola, Amy Livosli and Jen Irwin.
I began practicing Yoga Nidra at a time when PTSD and the anxiety and depression that accompany the disorder were prevalent in my life. It took time and many practices of Yoga Nidra but it is certainly the healthiest and most efficient way I found to integrate the experiences that occurred in my life that created such adverse symptoms.
The practice has been studied by western medicine and mental health professionals and proven to be a supportive treatment for Veterans with PTSD.
For more information, search the internet for some of the following:
Read more about Richard Miller’s approach, renamed i-rest or integrative Restoration
The Kripalu school, terms the practice Divine Sleep, Jennifer Reis leads trainings in the practice there
Amrit and Kamini Desai train teachers to guide the practice and hold true to the classic naming convention – Yoga Nidra
The book, Yoga Nidra, by Swami Satyananda Saraswati has been a long time resource for teachers guiding Yoga Nidra.
My favorite of all time is the audio recording by Swami Janakananda. Here on amazon.