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What is Yoga Nidra?

March 31, 2011


Have you ever considered spending an entire C2 class in Savasana (corpse pose)? Wait. Hasn’t everyone? It’s no wonder Yoga Nidra is rapidly gaining popularity.

Also known as yogic sleep or sleep with awareness, Yoga Nidra is an ancient practice intended to induce full-body relaxation and a deep meditative state of consciousness (You’re asleep, but awake? Awesome.)

And unlike the time spent in Savasana at the end of a CorePower Yoga class, Yoga Nidra allows enough time for practitioners to physiologically and psychologically sink into it.

The ancient yoga text the Mandukya Upanishads refers to four different stages of Yoga Nidra. Using guided visualizations and deep relaxation techniques, the student begins by quieting the active conscious mind, then moves into a meditative state, gradually finding a state of "ultimate harmony," in which the brain waves slow and a subtle euphoria emerges. Though most of us don't easily find the more advanced stages, you will still end class feeling rejuvenated.

A study in 2006 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. found Yoga Nidra to be a potentially powerful treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Nine active-duty soldiers with PTSD were able to sleep better and felt less depressed after 12 weeks of Yoga Nidra. Research also claims Yoga Nidra can reduce depression, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.

While Yoga Nidra classes are not abundant, you can find studios that offer it by searching online. And, teachers like Rod Stryker and Shiva Rea have Yoga Nidra DVDs.