Yoga Nidra is also known as yogic sleep. Yoga nidra is the state of consciousness between being awake and asleep. This middle stage is something we all experience as we are lying down to sleep every night but we may not be aware of it. Yoga nidra is an ancient practice in the Eastern world. Since the 70’s the Western world did studies on the effects of yoga nidra. They found that the body is aware and awake but in a different realm of conscience reality. Yoga nidra has been scientifically proven to heal people of post-traumatic stress disorder and from other life traumas mentally and physically.
What happens in a yoga nidra class is you lie on your back on the yoga mat for 15-45 minutes. As you lie there, the yoga instructor guides you on a mental journey telling a story of maybe lying on a beach somewhere or looking up at the clouds. As you lie there, you drift off into the state between being asleep and being awake. You don’t always remember this land of paradise that the yoga teacher is speaking of. You come into your own layer of reality.
Yogic sleep is a different experience for everyone because we all have our own perspective of life. My experience of yoga nidra was at the Kripalu School of Yoga. I was attending my teacher training program there while an amazing teacher named Jennifer Reis taught yoga nidra for our class. She taught us about the five layers of Self also known as the five koshas. She prepared us for an hour long yoga nidra class. As the class started, I was lying there with my back on the mat and a blanket covering my body. I listened as she took my mind to the beach. I pictured myself lying in the warm sand and I could literally feel the warmth. Then my mind drifted off somewhere else. I felt as if I was floating above myself and I just kept floating higher and higher outside of the school, into the sky, and then into outer space.
In this experience, I was just floating in space. There was no thought process of where I was or how I got there, I just felt comfortable and natural. I felt as if space was a part of me and I was a part of space. It was this natural feeling as if I was always there. I don’t even remember floating back down to myself because it happened so smoothly. I just remember hearing Jennifer saying to come back from wherever my mind was as she guided my mind back to the warm sand on the beach. Next thing she said was to come back into my physical body and into reality by wiggling my fingers and toes. I felt the most serene I had ever felt in my entire life! As I slowly sat up, I felt completely whole within myself. I felt healed of any traumas and injuries mentally and physically.
Yoga nidra is a truly magical experience. Some people say they don’t recall what happened or where their minds took them but they ‘woke up’ feeling rejuvenated and replenished. I can definitely agree that I felt completely replenished mentally and physically. I highly recommend trying a yoga nidra class either online or at a yoga studio. Jennifer Reis is an incredible yoga nidra guide and you should definitely check out her stuff. Enjoy your yogic sleep!