Yoga Nidra: How to Practice and Top 5 Health Benefits

Shamlee Pathare

October 12, 2020

Stress, anxiety, and tiredness are now an integral part of our lives. The non-stop, fast-paced living has pushed every individual to lead an unwelcoming stressful existence, which is unlikely to go away any soon. While some people face nervousness only under extreme work pressure or personal life, others go through such episodes daily. But every bad weather has a silver lining. If you’re confident enough, you can completely change your lifestyle to lead a relaxed and stress-free life through the practice of Yoga Nidra.

Table of Contents

What is Yoga Nidra?

What is yoga nidra?

Yoga Nidra is just like meditation, only while being half-asleep! Also called yoga sleep, Yoga Nidra is a state of half-consciousness where you stay between being awake or asleep. It simply is a ‘going to sleep’ stage induced by guided meditation or a skilled instructor. As one of the easiest yoga asanas, Yoga Nidra makes practitioners rest comfortably in savasana (corpse pose). The yoga sleep then takes the person through the Pancha Maha kosha (five layers of self) in a simple and gradual manner, helping them feel light with a sense of wholeness. Yoga Nidra has been proven to help you eliminate body sores, aches, tiredness, and stress and feel more relaxed and rejuvenated. With regular practice, Yoga Nidra helps a person become active and full of life, leaving their dull, tired self behind.

For Yoga Nidra, you need to lie straight on your back and try to sleep without actually sleeping. Confused? Don’t be. Here is a 7-step guide to help you practice peaceful Yoga Nidra and say ‘bye’ to stress, anxiety, nervousness, and tiredness. These steps will help you indulge in an easy Yoga Nidra sleep practice, where the result gives your mind and body with an extra dose of relaxation. Just try to fall asleep while following these steps.

7 Steps to Peaceful Yoga Nidra

The first step to Yoga Nidra is - Savasana

Although lying down and trying to sleep might seem easier, Yoga Nidra requires much more patience and practice than that. We suggest you get yourself in comfortable clothes and lay down a yoga mat on a flat surface before practicing yoga sleep. This will help you to have a restful environment to exercise.

  1. Lie down straight on your back on the yoga mat in the savasana position with your eyes closed. Begin taking deep, slow breaths to relax.
  2. As you continue taking deep, slow breaths, focus your attention on the left foot. Keep your foot as relaxed as possible, and slowly move upward to your left knee, left thigh, and waist. 
  3. Repeat step 2 with your right leg while keeping your eyes closed and taking deep, slow breaths. You must become aware of your entire leg and its existence. 
  4. Gradually, move your attention to the rest of your body parts: stomach, chest, naval region, hands, shoulders, neck, and face.
  5. When you slowly move your attention upward, focus on your palms, fingers, wrist,forearm, biceps and shoulder. Also, think about your throat, nape, back, and forehead. Just realize yourself of your entire body’s presence and try to stop your mind from wandering around.
  6. Continue taking deep, slow breaths and experience your body’s sensation and all of its different parts. Relax your mind and body for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. After a few minutes (5-7 minutes), turn to your right and keep gradual, slow breathing. Repeat all the above steps and stay like that for a few minutes. Then, slowly sit up and open your eyes.

After waking up, you’ll surely feel relaxed and rejuvenated. However, it’ll take a few more tries for you to get accustomed to Yoga Nidra.

5 Benefits of Yoga Nidra

There are several benefits of practicing Yoga Nidra, including improved sleep and relaxation. Here, we list five benefits of Yoga Nidra to help you monitor and experience the changes in your stressful life after indulging in yogic sleep.

#1 Helps You Break Free from Worldly Thoughts

Yoga Nidra helps you break free from worldly thoughts

All along the day, 24/7, we spend our time thinking about the ‘next’ thing; work, food, friends, or family. We often forget to enjoy the present because we’re worried about the future. Yoga Nidra helps you detach from your continuous train of thoughts and enter a thought-free mind for nearly a few minutes every day. Such a practice, when done regularly, is healthy as it helps the mind to relax.

#2 Helps Induce a Good Night’s Sleep

Yoga Nidra helps induce a good night's sleep

For how many hours do you roll on your bed before sleep finally comes to you? If the answer is anything between 1 to 5 hours, you need to practice Yoga Nidra for sleep. As lack of sleep contributes highly to the stress and tiredness in life, Yoga Nidra comes as a respite to help you overcome your insomnia problem and go to sleep on time. Yoga Nidra helps you sleep by slowing your mind’s wavelengths as you enter a subconscious sleep-like state. The process usually begins with you focusing your attention on different body parts and mindfully taking slow, deep breaths to trigger a relaxation response throughout the body. Such a response balances both your left and right brain parts and the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. 

#3 Releases Build-up Tension in Body and Mind

Like how sleeping helps you get ready for another day of work and adventure, yogic sleep helps you release build-up muscle tension in your body and mind. In just a few minutes (roughly 15 to 20 minutes) of Yoga Nidra practice, you’ll feel as good as new. Your body would not feel sore, and your mind will have new, fresh thoughts without the tension of the past or the future. However, any of these benefits would not come in only a couple of practice sessions. Only by regular exercising Yoga Nidra for sleep would you be able to feel your body and mind free of stress and tension elements.

#4 Enjoy a bit of ‘Me Time’ Daily

"Me time" with Yoga Nidra

The chaos of work life and personal life is all around us, and we seldom get to spend time with ourselves. Even when we’re alone, we tend to sit in front of the big screen or scroll on our smartphones. But Yoga Nidra helps you to detach from these materialistic attachments and spend some time with yourself. If you follow the above instructions by the step, you’re sure to experience oneness with yourself, where you connect with your inner self without any worry in the world.

#5 Guides You to Start Afresh

Fresh start with Yoga Nidra

Just how taking a break from any stressful work helps you take a new approach, Yoga Nidra guides you to make a fresh outlook in your life. While you’ll have the same official and personal issues, the relaxation session would help you look at these problems with a changed attitude and tackle them with enthusiasm rather than a defeated posture.


No matter how much we deny, stress, anxiety, tiredness, and constant thinking is entrenched in our habits and way of living. We do many, many things to take a break from our normal life, but we cannot always stay on break. One way to stand up to all the life problems and still lead a stress-free life is to practice Yoga Nidra. It has immense benefits, which helps us to organize our inner thoughts and stay focused on solving issues with a positive attitude.

About the Author

Shamlee seemed destined to take up a career in Yoga, having started practicing the discipline at the tender age of 3. She completed her Master's and her Bachelor's degrees in Yoga Therapy from the S-VYASA University. A specialist in Diabetes and Stress Management, Shamlee has conducted research on how Yoga aids individuals with common ailments at AIIMS, New Delhi. A former member of the Indian Yoga team, she is presently a Yoga Team Lead at HealthifyMe. Shamlee believes Yoga is the answer to any individual's health issues, whether they are physical or mental.

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4 responses to “Yoga Nidra: How to Practice and Top 5 Health Benefits”

  1. Such great information on Nidra yoga and its health benefits. I feel better reading this! You have no idea how much this helped me out. thanks Keep up the awesome work here!

  2. This was the most useful article I have seen on Healthifyme till date. Thanks to the author for introducing us to this most valuable resource we all can adopt as a habit.

  3. I did yoga yesterday, and my brothers are laughing at me. They didn’t even know that yoga has a lot of benefits to our health. They thought that yoga is only for girls. I’m going to show this article to them.

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