A Gift of Restoration For You
By Siddharth Ashvin Shah, M.D., M.P.H.

Yoga Nidra is a way of giving yourself permission to relax

Do you need a nap, but are open to other ways of showing love to your mind and body? Then you are primed for a half-hour of Yoga Nidra. Next to leading people in Laughter Yoga, teaching Yoga Nidra is among my favorite practices to do in the world.

What is Yoga Nidra? It is a supercharged way to intentionally restore yourself. Lie down and passively listen to instructions. The instructions give you a tour of your resting body and then a “picture show” of images that gives your mind a rinsing effect.

You emerge feeling like you’ve napped for two hours. You notice you’ve got restored energy, calmness and creativity.

Technical definitions of Yoga Nidra vary. Some call it yogic sleep. Others call it a meditation practice. I like it when people insist it is a natural part of a classical yoga practice.

After doing yoga poses and breathwork, Yoga Nidra is an enhanced technique to rest our wandering mind and prime ourselves for further mindfulness.

Yoga Nidra in English means “Spiritual connection by way of a sleep-like state”

In India, people may pronounce it Yog Nidra, and in the US you may hear something like Yoga NeeDra. However you pronounce it, Yoga Nidra allows you to experience a sense of ecological and psychological connectedness through deep relaxation.

A yoga teacher colleague of mine, April Njari, recently returned from Sri Lanka having trained in classical yoga. She’s one of those teachers who prefers to close with a Yoga Nidra for the yoga class to feel complete. I like the way Ms. Njari describes it:

“A powerful meditation technique where the body and mind are so relaxed one appears to be sleeping, but you’re actually in a state between sleep and wakefulness. It works on the level of hearing and awareness. Nothing to do but lie down, comfortably, relax, listen to the guidance and follow instructions. Don’t think too much or concentrate too hard. Don’t worry if you miss some instructions. It is normal to feel like you drift in and out of consciousness. ”

Between 2007 and 2012, I went into the studio with Vidura Barrios and his production company to record various guided meditations, including eight Yoga Nidra tracks.

It gives me great pleasure to share eight of my recorded Yoga Nidra meditations with you

You can download and keep them for personal use. You may share them with friends and family, just as long as you don’t include them in a commercial enterprise. In fact, we’d love for you to share them.

Here’s a Quick Tip:

For the most satisfying Yoga Nidra, find a calm place where you figure you will not be disturbed for the track length plus 5 minutes to reorient yourself after the relaxation. Anyone is capable of Yoga Nidra because it is not something you have to master in order to get right.

Yoga Nidra is actually a way to get out of your own way. It is a way of giving yourself permission to relax.

Happy New Year – and may your 2020 be abundant!