Picture this, your friend asks you to join them in going to a Yoga Nidra class. What’s your initial reaction? Do you say, “but it’s only for bedtime!” or “Ooh great I haven’t done any yoga in ages”? There are a number of misconceptions around the practice of Yoga Nidra, so let’s bust the “myths” around it.
1.“It’s a yoga class”. Yes, the name “yoga” features in the title, but don’t let this fool you. This is definitely not a fitness class. Yoga in Sanskrit means “union”. And the practice of Yoga Nidra is exactly that, a union of the mind, body, and soul. There might be some small movements, stretches, and breathing exercises that help to gently guide us into the practice, particularly if our mind needs calming after a hectic day, but you won’t find any downward dogs in this class.
2. “It’s only a sleep aid”. Type “Yoga Nidra” into YouTube and you will see tons of recordings, as this guided meditation is often used as a tool for inducing sleep. Nidra even means “sleep” in Sanskrit! With Yoga Nidra, you are guided into the state of consciousness between being awake and asleep, and it is in this state where the magic happens, and we become more present and aware. Also, it has been said that around 30-60 minutes of Yoga Nidra is the same as having 4 hours of sleep! A deep practice can make you feel re-energized, motivated, and focused. Research shows that Yoga Nidra can not only improve sleep but also helps reduce stress and anxiety and increase the quality of life and wellbeing.
3. “It’s just another meditation”. Most meditations are practiced in a seated position and the aim is to quieten the mind. In Yoga Nidra, we lie down in a comfortable position, with additional tools such as pillows, bolsters, and eye-masks for extra coziness. Yoga Nidra is an amazing personal growth tool. At the beginning of the practice, we set an intention that is a specific and positive statement. This can be anything from “I have everything inside of me to manifest happiness” to “I am on the road to achieving my goals”. This intention is kept at the forefront of our minds throughout the practice and taken with us into our daily lives.
4. “It’s always relaxing”. During a Yoga Nidra class we are taken on a journey of complete relaxation, and whilst on the journey, we go deep inside of ourselves, which can stir up memories and bring about strong emotions. These might not always be comfortable to sit with. Your job is to simply be the observer of these thoughts, emotions, memories, feelings, and sensations. It is up to you what, if anything, you want to focus on. Yoga Nidra can be a very useful emotional self-regulation tool.
5. “It’s a quick fix”. After having an “aha” moment in one class, it is easy to assume that the Yoga Nidra has done its job. However, in order to see the work really pay off, it needs to be practiced on a regular basis. Each experience can bring about new perspectives and a deeper connection with yourself. It also gives us an opportunity to feel completely relaxed. Who wouldn’t want to experience that regularly!
If you’d like to experience Yoga Nidra check out our events page for listings.
Click here for more information about the facilitator Amy Pope