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How the Practice of Yoga Nidra Can Help You Relax

by Voices Wellness 18 Feb 2021
Photo: Alo Yoga

Yogic sleep, which aims to help one achieve the deepest state of relaxation while fully conscious, is a great way to destress. By SAMANTHA FRANCIS

Looks like sleep but not quite, feels like shavasana but isn’t. We’re talking about yoga nidra or yogic sleep, an ancient meditation technique with its roots in India. Unlike physically intensive yoga practices like Ashtanga or Hatha, yoga nidra is accessible to all ages and bodies as it requires just one thing—the ability to lie down or sit.

A yoga nidra session starts with practitioners lying down in shavasana or corpse pose, before being guided by verbal instructions into a state of relaxation. What it feels like is a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, where you’ll withdraw lightly from all five senses, with only the hearing connected to the cues given.

The goal is to achieve the deepest state of relaxation, whatever that looks like for you, while maintaining full consciousness. According to research, the physiological effects are multi-fold, including reduced levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. The practice has also been used by the US Army to assist soldiers in recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder.

By immersing the body into a natural resting state, yoga nidra is said to help quiet the mind and lets one develop a greater awareness of themselves. This makes it easier for stressed individuals to integrate a sense of mindfulness into their daily lives. Those who practice yoga nidra regularly report feeling rested after a mere 30-minute practice.

Planning to try it out? Here are some places in Singapore that offer yoga nidra classes.

PURE Yoga

A yoga nidra class here starts off with some preparatory asanas, before guiding students through specific instructions to focus on different body parts and relax them, while in a state of conscious sleep.

More information here. 

Photo: XIU Nature Connections

XIU Nature Connections

They offer an eight-week program called Thriving with Rest, which is founded on the principles of yoga nidra. Students can expect physical, creative, and sensory rest exercises, which help them to relax and revitalise themselves so as to thrive in the days ahead.

More information here.

Anahata Yoga

Led by a qualified teacher, the session starts with simple breathing techniques and light mediation to prepare students for the practice. Suitable for all levels of practitioners, this class aims to release physical, mental, and emotional tension, as well as relieve stress.

More information here.

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