Yoga nidra may feel strange the first time you try it, but the echoes continue long after the physical practice ceases.

If you’ve never practiced yoga nidra, you’re in for a real treat. It’s believed that practicing this form of meditation for 45 minutes is equitable to 3 hours of sleep. The benefits will reverberate throughout the rest of your waking hours making stress more manageable and focus more obtainable.

Once you invite yoga nidra into your life, you’ll probably wonder how you ever functioned without it.

An explanation of yoga nidra and how to practice it

Yoga nidra translates to “yogic sleep”. It very well may replace that nap craving you typically find yourself having. It’s a guided meditation that relaxes your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and allows your brain to go from the active beta state and transverse over to the more restful alpha sleep state. If you can relax enough, your brain may be capable of going to an even further state of restoration. And when things are really working, your brain is able to move all the way to the delta state of deep, restorative relaxation where the benefits of truly restful sleep start to kick in. Sounds awesome, yes? So how do you actually get there?

Begin your yoga nidra practice laying down

That’s no surprise, right? There are various ways of enjoying yoga nidra. But first and foremost, you must place your body in the most comfortable relaxation-inducing state. Use bolsters, blankets, eye pillows, and anything else to help you get cozy.

Your job is to receive and allow yourself to be cared for and guided. Yoga nidra is growing in popularity. So finding a class near you may not be too difficult. But if it is, try the app Insight Timer for hundreds of thousands of meditations, including guided yoga nidra.

Your guide’s job is to help you find the most restful state available to you with calming words offering you visuals and taking you on a journey deep within. The guide may also have you do some minor calming techniques such as briefly clenching the muscles of the face, arms, hands, legs, and feet. This allows your body to sense where it’s holding stress and choosing to let go.

How long is long enough?

If 45 minutes feels a little overwhelming, begin with a 30-minute meditation and work your way up to 45. Thirty minutes is the minimum length of time to allow the body to surrender to a parasympathetic state.

The intent of yoga nidra intent is to help you inquire within and work through the subtle body to gain both awareness and a release of stress and anxiety. The intention you set for yourself is key and keeping it in mind as you travel through the guided meditation will allow you to gain access to benefits you may not have experienced in previous meditation endeavors.

Of all the various tools and techniques available to help us find relief from stress and feel more peaceful, meditation continues to rise to the very top in the benefits it offers. So if you are still finding it difficult to embrace the practice, maybe the specific practice of yoga nidra is the one you have yet to try, but can fully embrace. Let us know how it goes. We’re all in this together.