Yoga Nidra (Part 3) | Yoga nidra and sleep

We generally advise you not to sleep in yoga nidra. If, however, you have trouble sleeping, there is no reason why you should not practise yoga nidra before sleep as a means of inducing sleep. If you cannot sleep then any method of inducing sleep is justified. And there is no better method than yoga nidra, even though this breaks its basic rule: that is, no sleep. The rules can be broken in this case. But there is a catch … do not practise yoga nidra thinking to yourself: “Ah, now I will have a good sleep,” for you will probably find that you don’t sleep as planned. Your intent will defeat the objective. It is always better to do yoga nidra with the aim of not sleeping. If you are tired and have not had good sleep for some time, then sleep will quickly overwhelm you.

The factors which favour sleep are those which minimize sensory stimulation. These are: darkness, silence, muscular relaxation and a comfortable temperature.

Scientific tests have shown that sleep occurs in the following sequence, stage by stage:

  1. Relaxation of the large muscles, legs, arms, etc.
  2. Relaxation of the smaller muscles such as those which control hands, fingers, toes.
  3. Relaxation of the smallest muscles in the lips, brows, eyelids and so on.
  4. Cutting off sense of smell, touch, etc.

Yoga nidra is so designed that it systematically induces these stages in the above order conducive to sleep. Moreover, yoga nidra effectively soothes away mental tension. It is therefore not surprising that yoga nidra can so easily bring deep sleep, even to those who suffer from chronic insomnia.

Yoga nidra is the panacea for those who cannot sleep. Instead of taking sleeping pills, try yoga nidra. Drugs can have unpleasant side effects; yoga nidra has none. Furthermore, yoga nidra costs nothing.

It is an ideal practice not only for those who are absolutely tired but cannot sleep, but also for those who are tired of taking too much sleep. It helps to bring balance between the two extremes of too much sleep (excessive tamas) and too little sleep (excessive rajas). Yoga nidra will allow you to sleep if you need it, while the practice before sleep can help reduce the hours of sleep if you sleep too much. It brings balance into your sleeping habits and is therefore conducive to good health.

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