In today’s post I’m sharing all the things you need to know about yoga nidra.
I hope you all had a fun weekend. Mine was pretty good around here. I got to go on a walk with my boyfriend and his dog on Sunday which was really nice. I miss being able to spend time with them like I used to. Winston got spoiled and I even brought a few treats for him so he was excited about that. As I was reaching into my pocket to get them out he noticed and set down right away to “earn them” before he even had confirmation that I had treats.
Today’s post is all about the basics of yoga nidra. The first time I did yoga nidra was when I was going through yoga teacher training. Even though I had been practicing yoga for years, I hadn’t tried nidra before. I’m so glad that I was introduced to it though because I really enjoy it. Although yoga is in the name, it’s quite a bit different than your typical yoga practice. I would consider it more of a meditation practice than a yoga practice.
What is yoga nidra?
For someone who’s new to yoga nidra I would compare it more to meditation than yoga. You spend the entire practice in savasana while listening to the teacher take you through a meditation. While I’ve done classes at yoga studios, it’s definitely not what I would think of as a yoga class that would get you sweaty. The teacher will typically take you through the various stages of yoga nidra. That will usually include breathing exercises, relaxation, a san kalpa (or intention), and a few other things. It’s done with your eyes closed. It’s actually tough to explain until you experience it!
There’s only one pose when doing yoga nidra – savasana or corpse pose. Because you’re in one pose for the entire time and you want to stay as still as possible, it’s important to be really comfortable. That means using all the props possible so you’re feeling cozy. I usually put a blanket or two on top of my yoga mat for some cushioning. I’ll then have either a thin block or another blanket under the back of my head. I also like to use a bolster underneath my knees to take some of the pressure off of my low back. Finally, I end to get cold when I’m not moving, so I’ll use another blanket on top of me to keep me from getting cold.
If you don’t have yoga props at home, you can always use things you have available to you. Think of throw blankets, throw pillows or pillows from your bed, even folded towels can add some comfort. Get creative and figure out what works for you.
The practice of yoga nidra is very accessible. Since you’re trying to relax as much as possible and stay still, you can do what works best for you. If laying flat on the ground is uncomfortable for you, you can do it reclined or even sitting. You know your body best. Try nidra out and see what works for you. Because something works for me and my body doesn’t mean that it will work for everyone. It’s important to be relaxed and comfortable.
I would suggest finding a quiet place where you’ll be able to have some time to yourself. For me, I prefer to be able to close the door to the room that I’m practicing in. I find that having the door closed lets other people in my house know that I’m busy. I’m less likely to get interrupted. It also allows me to relax a bit more fully. If noises from the rest of the house will be distracting, I find it helpful to put on some soft music. Instrumental works best for me – I tend to get distracted from the meditation by lyrics. Try it out and see what works best for you.
Make this time as cozy and relaxing as possible. Use your favorite blanket, light a candle that smells good, and make sure you’ll be warm enough. It’s the little things that make it relaxing for me. I typically don’t do a lot for myself throughout the day, but when it comes to yoga nidra, I try to be as self-indulgent as I can.
App to use
If you’re not able to attend a yoga nidra class (which is hard right now with the pandemic going on), I would highly recomend using the Insight Timer app. I have a few favorite teachers on there.
- Hillary Jackendoff She’s my newest discovery and I’m so glad that I found her. She has such a soothing voice. Her nidras are really accessible.Her yoga nidra practices all clock in at about 30 minutes.
- Jennifer Piercy Jennifer has been a favorite teacher of mine on Insight Timer for awhile now. She has practices that range in duration from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. If you’re new to yoga nidra or meditation I would suggest starting with shorter practices and slowly moving to longer ones. Her 15 minute yoga nidra would be a great place to start.
- Tanis Fishman I actually did yoga nidras with Tanis in person because she was one of my instructors during my 200 hour yoga teacher training. She took us through several nidra practices throughout the teacher training. Thankfully she’s also on Insight Timer so I’m able to share them with you too. Her shortest yoga nidra on Insight Timer is 49 minutes. It’s definitely longer so they may not be something you want to take on right away.
Do you practice yoga nidra? Do you have a favorite teacher on Insight Timer?