What to Expect from a Yoga Nidra Practice
I stumbled into the practice of Yoga Nidra in an unconventional type of way. A friend of mine had mentioned she was going to be in Denver to do a Yoga Nidra training, and my gut intuition told me “sign up and do this” even though I had never practiced Yoga Nidra before. I quickly decided to sign up, and headed to my first class to see what I was getting myself into.
I knew that this practice was more restorative than the typical heated vinyasa classes I take, and read to expect to be in stillness, and as comfortable as possible for the practice. The class I attended was on a Friday evening, and I left in an utter state of yoga bliss. From that moment on, I knew that this practice was going to change me, and I was excited to dive in deeper to be able to offer this practice, in conjunction with psychotherapy.
So what exactly is yoga nidra?
It is a dynamic meditation practice that prompts the body to relax deeply while the mind remains inwardly alert. Swami Satyananda Saraswati, a Yoga Nidra pioneer refers to the practice as “reaching the border between waking and sleeping states”. Yoga Nidra can provide deep healing physically, mentally, and emotionally. The physical healing is through release of tension in the body. Mentally, this practice helps to decrease fight/flight responses, and anxious thought patterns. Emotionally, through the practice you begin to let go of being responsible, and surrendering to what is present.
What can you expect in a Yoga Nidra class?
The practice may vary, however if you are new to this practice, here is what you can expect. Plan on dressing in comfortable, loose clothing, and setting yourself up with a yoga mat, blankets, and bolsters- the key is to be as comfortable as possible. You may be guided into some gentle movements or stretches, before being cued to prepare for the Yoga Nidra practice. From there, you are truly a witness to experience. You may drop in and out of waking consciousness. The guide will take you through various breathwork exercises, body awareness, and imagery. You may also be guided to set an intention or “Sankalpa” at the beginning. Traditionally, at the end, you will be guided back out of the practice.