Nidra or sleep is one of the four major sources of energy which include food, sleep, breath and meditation. Sleep revitalizes our whole body and refreshes our mind. Yoganidra is a combination of sleep and meditation with added potency to energize our system. We are all familiar with the image of Lord Vishnu lying down in Yoga Nidra.
If you have never done Yoganidra before, it is recommended that you start with this guided Yoga Nidra meditation by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
So what is the difference between Yoga Nidra and a normal nidra (sleep)?
Difference between Nidra and Yoga Nidra
Nature compels you to go into silence unconsciously and that is sleep. This gives you energy. When you choose to be silent consciously, that is meditation. It gives you more energy and can help open doors to subtle dimensions.~ Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
In other words, Yoga Nidra is to “sleep consciously”. Yoga Nidra instantly recharges and brings incredible quietness and clarity within you. Yoga Nidra in Sanskrit means Yogic sleep. The rest that you get through this power nap is much more powerful than sleep because the relaxation takes place consciously.
A yoga routine provides deep restoration to your body and the mind. And to make your practice more effective, it is ideal to end your yoga sequence with Yoga Nidra. In Yoga Nidra, we consciously take our attention to different parts of the body and relax them. This can be done by anyone and everyone.
Yoga Nidra helps conserve and consolidate our energy and relax the entire system, preparing it for pranayama and meditation. It is therefore important to keep aside sufficient time for Yoganidra after yoga posture. Yoga Nidra is an essential end to any yoga pose sequence. While the yoga postures ‘warm up’ the body, Yoganidra cools it down.
Prerequisites for Yoga Nidra
- Empty stomach
- Some space for lying down
- Noise free environment
How to do Yoganidra?
- Lie down on your back in Shavasana (Corpse pose)
- Close your eyes
- Take a few deep breaths
- Now take your attention to different parts of the body in this order, while relaxing each part,
- Right foot
- Left foot
- Right knee
- Left knee
- Right thigh
- Left thigh
- Whole of the right leg
- Whole of left leg
- Right arm
- Left arm
- Top of your head
- Finally take your attention to the whole body
- Lie down in this position for a few minutes
- Gently roll over to your right side and sit up taking your own time
- Slowly open your eyes
Benefits of Yoganidra
- Removes stress and anxiety
- Rejuvenates the body
- Relaxes the nervous system
- Cools the body and restores its normal temperature
- Facilitates a calm mind
- Removes emotional patterns
- Removes insomnia
When to do Yoganidra?
Yoganidra prepares our body and mind for pranayama and meditation, after practicing yoga poses. Thus Yoganidra is done after the postures and before pranayama and meditation in this sequence:
- Yoga Poses
- Pranayama and Meditation
It’s very important to include Yoganidra at the end of any asana sequence as the body and mind need the time to assimilate the effects of the asanas.~ Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Yoga Nidra Meditation Video
Yoganidra can be taken up at other times too without being combined with yoga practices, while only ensuring that one is on an empty stomach. It is an effortless way of enhancing our daily spiritual practices. A rejuvenation tool to relieve ourselves of the daily stresses in today’s hectic world and have a sound sleep.
This article is based on inputs by senior Sri Sri Yoga teachers Dinesh Kashikar and Shriram Sarvotham