Review: Yoga Nidra

Name/s of approach: Yoga Nidra/ Yogi Sleep

Heritage/Spiritual context*: Ancient Hinduism, such as Tantric scriptures. No belief required.

Their explanation: A potent state of consciousness to re-encounter the truth of who we are. One hour is equivalent to 4 hours normal sleep.

Accepting Sceptics’ view^: A clever, deep relaxation technique that uses a rotation of awareness related to a neuronal map of the brain, so that our concentration is focused in proportion (i.e. extra focus on the hands and feet). This releases tension. During Yoga Nidra people transition in and out of alpha (relaxed), theta (meditative) and delta (deep sleep) brainwaves.

What to expect: yoga of the mind which produces a sense of being in a deep sleep and conscious at the same time (don’t worry if you feel like you’re temporarily paralysed). I was surprised at how quickly it takes effect. It seems like the process is quite similar to a Mindfulness body scan but it feels very different and requires a lot less concentration.

Helps with: too-tired-to-sleep, overactive monkey mind, brain fog, pain

Not so good for: people who don’t like an altered state of consciousness sensation. If it makes you anxious there’s no point!

Side effects/cautions: I’m not aware of any but its generally good to do things in moderation.

My questionª: is this the deepest relaxation you’ve experienced? If not, share!

Further reading: Yoga Nidra for ME

Free resources:

  • website: Yoga Nidra for ME (16 mins, music off)

  • app: Deeply Relax (10 mins, music on/offº)

  • youtube: Yoga Nidra (36 mins, music onº)

  • wellness required: ability to listen to instructions while lying still


*I will indicate if specific religious belief is required. Most meditative practices are rooted in spiritual traditions but you do not usually need to believe anything specifically to benefit from using them. ^ This is either  a best-guess at other reasons for the positive effect of the practice or based on secular research. It should make it more palatable to those of you who can’t believe the official position (see ‘Why, sometimes…‘). ª Can you help me to understand? If so, please comment. º Indicates length of session and whether there is background music.

7 thoughts on “Review: Yoga Nidra”

  1. I recommend yoga nidra for CFS/ME people wholeheartedly. Some days, like today, when I’m stuck inside the frazzle and just can’t bear it, a 40 minute yoga nidra session somehow feels like I don’t have the time for it. (How weird that is – I have hours and hours of time but being in that wired state makes me feel like I’m always rushing to get nowhere).

    That 40 minute session took me out of hell and into something approaching heaven. To feel okay in my own skin, to feel peace, it’s priceless.

    Yoga nidra IS the deepest relaxation I’ve ever experienced. It is so deep I could swear I’m asleep if it wasn’t for the fact that I always “wake up” at exactly the right time as it’s winding up.


  2. Thanks for commenting. It’s prompted me to do it now! I’m very over tired after a bad night. There is a weird thing with meditation that it doesn’t occur to me at the times I need to do it. I was doing yoga nidra/ mindfulness meditation routinely in the afternoon so perhaps I need to go back to that…


  3. Really useful post reviewing yoga nidra. I only discovered it since becoming ill with ME/CFS and it is definitely a very powerful relaxation tool for me. When I became a Mum (with ME/CFS) a few years ago (and everything was a bit of a blur!) it was the one tool I could rely on to help quickly relax my mind/body.

    Liked by 1 person

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