Any style of yoga can be relaxing, but yoga nidra, or sleep yoga, has unique effects. Rather than a “pose and hold till your muscles are shaking” yoga, it’s more akin to a guided meditation–except you can lie on your back the whole time. The result, for many, is a deep quietude that physiologically mimics sleep and leaves practitioners feeling restored.
Studies suggest that yoga nidra can induce calm by activating what’s called the parasympathetic nervous system and triggering the release of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.
A 20 to 40 minute class is a great way to try out yoga nidra, but you can also explore at home using instructions from YouTube. In a class, you’d lie on a yoga mat or sit up with support; at home, you can sit in a chair or lie in a bed.
While you can do yoga nidra at any time, it may be ideal right before bed. Find a comfortable position and prepare yourself to be still.
Practicing yoga and using hypnosis have many things in common; both of which tap into the power of the unconscious mind. Both offer deep relaxation.
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