What is Yoga Nidra? (Part 1 of 2)

textures-mirror-6.ltIn Sanskrit, Yoga Nidra means “Sleep of the Yogi.” As a practice, it’s about learning to fall into deep states of rest without getting sleepy or spacing out.

The practice is not something we create, but one of using natural states of mind we are very familiar with.


What is this experience like?

Here’s one of the most common comparisons. When we first awaken from dreams and feel ourselves lingering in the zone between the soft dream images and the sharpness of waking life.

Eyes still closed, we seem to be looking at a dark grey silky screen with a soft movement of light and shadow.

The balance between wakefulness and sleep is a peaceful twilight state.  We feel safe there, yet somehow open to anything.

Suddenly, an insight arises or an answer to a question appears from nowhere. A dilemma that the night before had seemed so threatening now seems quite manageable.  Memories appear and disappear, creative ideas emerge and transform.  This is the wondrous, delightful world of riches that Yoga Nidra welcomes us to hang out in as a practice.

Because Yoga Nidra taps into natural states of mind, we also get tastes of this world in restorative practice or an especially powerful savasana.  We are profoundly relaxed, but not really sleepy.  We are very aware but have no sense of linear time passing.

It’s a delicious place to be.  It’s also a place where we get a lot done, though it doesn’t seem like it when we’re deeply immersed in this tranquil, seemly inactive process.

It’s more than pleasant enough just to lay there immersed in all that mystery, but what if we could arrive to this natural state and then guide ourselves through it as a more formalized process?  What if we could use it to find answers and cultivate ideas?  Or deal with tricky or scary issues?

Wouldn’t that be awesome?  We can, because in Yoga Nidra, the intellect is actually involved in the process.  Sort of like lucid dreaming without sleeping……

Coming soon to my teaching schedule:  Yoga Nidra.  Love restorative and meditative styles but wonder what lies beyond meditative movement? Want to learn to use rest as a creative and problem-solving drinking fountain?  It can be that.


Stay tuned for part 2 in a later blogpost.  I’ll describe more about what our practice will be. (HINT: we won’t be “resting” between Warrior 2 and Warrior 3.  Not even close. Thankfully.)

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1 Comment

  • […] Yoga Nidra reveals all the same insights as our regular practice of postures, even more so.  Without the postures to think about and manage, we have more room for the insights. So, in some ways, Yoga Nidra can be seen as a shortcut to all the best that yoga can offer us in the art of living. Coming soon to my yoga schedule: Yoga Nidra practice. Join me! For more about what the EXPERIENCE of YOGA NIDRA is during  practice. See Part 1, under the heading “What is this experience like?”. […]

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