About six months ago I started following Hatha Yoga classes. I’m a fan! It’s really soothing, stretches everything that needs to be stretched after a long day working with a computer, improved the way I breath and most importantly, it relaxes the mind. The de-stressing effect is so essential and I love that after a yoga class in the evening, the quality of my sleep is so much better. And the better we rest at night, the more active and alert during the day, right?
Talking about the importance of sleep is a nice segway to another type of yoga our teacher throws in occasionally, it’s called Yoga Nidra, which means ‘psychic sleep’, I call it Sleep Yoga (are you convinced already?). Every chance I get to sleep, I’ll take, so I was really psyched when she suggested it the first time. But don’t think it’s simple! As in many types of yoga, you’ll have to practice to get better and make it your own, and it’s the same thing with Yoga Nidra.
The goal is to relax mind and body and reach a state where it’s possible to sleep, but you’re still aware enough to follow the instructions given by your yoga teacher. The trick really, is to stay in that meditational state between being conscious and aware of your surroundings and a deeper level of sleep. During that time instructions are given, making you experience various types of sensations (e.g. hot and cold) and picturing mental images. My first experience was super relaxing, although it was a constant to and fro of almost slipping into that sleep modus and back to trying to concentrate on the instructions. However, after a couple of lessons, I noticed my skills improved and I was able to focus and relax simultaneously.
With practice, one hour of Yoga Nidra, is equivalent to about three hours of actual sleep. Now that’s a bonus! I’m sure in these hectic lives we are living, Yoga Nidra is a really efficient method to relax and let your body restore its energy. New yoga hype? We’ll see, but it’s certainly fun and effective! Give it a try!
Namasté and have a great weekend!