Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • May 2015
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What is yoga nidra?

Yoga nidra is often referred to as “yogic sleep.” Think of it as having the body be asleep, but the brain in an active state of consciousness. Nidra is different from meditation in that during meditation, you do not leave the waking state of consciousness into a state of dreaming. In nidra, you experience a state of extreme meditation that goes beyond relaxation and allows you to pass through the dream state into a deep sleep state, but still remain awake.

Yoga nidra has been practiced for thousands of years by yoga sages. The purpose of this practice is to instill calmness, reduce tension and provide extreme relaxation of the nervous system. It can also assist in bringing clarity and helping find purpose as your mind processes thoughts while you rest.

What will I do during yoga nidra?

  1. Set aside at least 20 minutes for yoga nidra. You may want to begin with a few yoga asanas or stretches, then relax on the floor or on a yoga mat in Corpse Pose (lying flat with arms and legs open from the sides of the body). The key here is to get comfortable, so use a pillow under your head, a mask or towel over your eyes, and a bolster under your knees, if needed.
  2. Set an intention. This might be a thought, a dream or something you aspire to, or it may be a person you respect that you want to think about. Even reflecting on a specific emotion or feeling will work.
  3. Conduct a body scan. Take as much time as you need. Notice each area of your body — starting from your head and working down to your toes — and take note of any sensations.
  4. Bring awareness to your breath. How does your breath feel in your body? Are you breathing shallow or deeply?
  5. Welcome any feelings or sensations you are experiencing. Take some time to process these sensations.
  6. Be open to your thoughts. Imagine observing your thoughts from outside your body. Don’t dwell on them or judge them. Only notice them.
  7. Bring awareness to any sensations or realizations you are experiencing about yourself or your practice.
  8. Slowly return your awareness to your surroundings. Don’t rush. Make small, slow movements with your body to return to a “normal” state.

Please note that this is only an outline to bring understanding of the process. It does not include every step and detail of yoga nidra.

If you are ready to try yoga nidra, you can practice it yourself. There are many online scripts and readings available if you take a moment to do some searching. Another option is to find a local yoga studio that leads yoga nidra so you can attend and simply experience!

References: YogaJournal.


Crystal M. Hill

Crystal M. Hill is an E-RYT 200-hour Certified Yoga Teacher and Co-Owner of Yoga Elements yoga studio at 1981 Midway Rd, Menasha. Crystal creates connection through yoga, healthy living and coaching. For more information, please visit, or contact Crystal at [email protected] or 920-383-1003.

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