Yoga Nidra is a conscious relaxation practice that focuses on the body, mind and emotions by guiding you into a state of consciousness that is between waking and sleeping.
Yoga Nidra helps you fall into the deepest state of relaxation possible by following a set of verbal instructions. Due to being able to fall into this deep state of relaxation, it can help ease insomnia, alleviate stress, decrease anxiety, enhance awareness and concentration, create clarity, and reduce chronic pain and PTSD. Some individuals confuse Yoga Nidra with meditation due to some of the similarities. Meditation is typically practiced in a seated upright position where you focus on one aspect and drift between multiple levels of consciousness. Yoga Nidra is commonly practiced in a relaxed position, usually laying down, while your attention focuses on specific aspects that change throughout the guided session, while you enter a state of conscious sleep.
I first heard about Yoga Nidra from my counsellor. I was having issues with insomnia my whole life and one day she suggested it quite casually at the end of a session. One night soon afterwards, I googled Yoga Nidra before bed and put the first video that popped up on youtube on. I didn’t read any information on what it was at first.. just went for it. The video guided me to get entirely comfortable, and gave me a minute to do so. Then as I closed my eyes and listened to the voice directing me to think about specific things.. pretty soon I started drifting off to sleep! At the end of the video, I clicked my phone off and passed right out and got one of the best sleeps of my life.
Now, a year later, whenever I feel the insomnia creeping up on me, I play Yoga Nidra to guide me to rest. The more I use the same video and start to memorize it, the more it relaxes me. Kind of like how listening to a song you know inside and out – perhaps like “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver for many people – feels more soothing than listening to new music, or how re-watching your favourite TV show – perhaps like “Friends” or “That 70’s Show” – can feel comforting and help you relax. I grow attached to certain videos and truly allow myself to release the day and all my stresses and worries as the videos guide me to.
I’ve decided to share about this because it is one of the only things that has been able to help my insomnia. I have struggled with it for as long as I remember and although Yoga Nidra is not only intended for helping sleep, there is no doubt that it’s helped me with that in a huge way.
I’ve linked some of my most used Yoga Nidra videos below. I also created a playlist with a few good videos to try on our YouTube account which you can find HERE.