Answering Frequently Asked Questions With World-Renowned Yoga Teacher, Indu Arora
What exactly is Yoga Nidra? Nidra is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning sleep or slumber. It is a meditative and relaxing practice intended to bring the body into complete physical, mental and emotional rest. This deep dive into conscious relaxation promotes a restorative state for the mind and soul to decompress.
However, there are still many misconceptions regarding this particular practice of yoga due to its “sleepy” and meditative state. How can you determine if what you hear and read is true or false?
We asked Indu Arora, world-renowned yoga teacher and Yoga Nidra expert, to share her passion and extensive knowledge with us. Here are her responses to some frequently asked questions.
What’s the difference between Yoga Nidra and guided meditation?
I’ll start by saying that we are only capable of guiding someone towards concentration and focus. Meditation happens if there is an emotional, mental and physical readiness. That being said, there is a huge difference between meditation and Yoga Nidra for multiple reasons:
- In meditation, you are trying to lift dormant energies up towards higher energy centers by gathering scattered pieces of the mind. However, in Yoga Nidra, there is a total dissolution of all possible energies and states of mind.
- It is a common misconception to classify Yoga Nidra as a type of meditation. For meditation, it is really important for the spine to be upright and to lift up the body’s energy. In contrast, the common posture of Yoga Nidra is supine and relaxed.
- Meditation begins with concentration, and Yoga Nidra begins with relaxation.
- Meditation is practiced in order to master the mind. Yoga Nidra, on the other hand, is practiced to unveil the state of consciousness which controls the mind itself.
Is there a “best time” to practice nidra?
In the beginning stages, it’s great if you can practice whenever you feel the most inspired or when you can find time out of your day for it. However, if you would like to benefit from the cyclical rhythms of the body, it’s best to practice upon waking up or just before going to bed. These are both optimal times to tap into the unconscious through subconscious realms.
It is very important not to practice nidra when you are feeling tired. If you end up practicing tired, it’s likely that you’ll fall asleep, and that is not the goal. Nidra is not a practice that’s meant to release tiredness. If you are working on fatigue or insomnia, it is much better to practice relaxation or savasana.
Do you have to practice asana before nidra?
This really depends. If one can maintain alertness without experiencing roughness, tightness, restlessness, pain, discomfort, shakiness, sleepiness, dullness, absence of mind, etc., then there is absolutely no need for asana pre-practice.
I place a lot of importance on pre-practices, as well as post-practices, in the case of Yoga Nidra. It really demands steady preparation, because we are not naturally born ready for such deep practices. We must build a certain physical, mental, emotional and energetic appetite for them.
What’s the true origin of Yoga Nidra?
In all fairness, it’s difficult to say what the true origin is. As a start, I can point to the most ancient text called Rig Veda. It talks about the Glory of Night in Ratri Suktam. In this text, Yoga Nidra is revered as a goddess.
What do you feel is most important about a Yoga Nidra practice?
It is important to understand what it is that you are doing before you start doing it. One misconception can easily lead to another. Moreover, it is very difficult to unlearn what you have already learned.
It’s important to pay attention to the source you are studying from, whether it’s a person, text, video, audio or an app. The best way to go about a practice is to study in person from someone who has practiced Yoga Nidra. Don’t put all your focus on just learning technique. After all, knowledge is the most subtle type of food. If you are careful of what you eat, you must also be careful of what and from whom you study.
A Yoga Nidra practice is an incredible tool to become at one with your mind and your body. Take the time needed to digest what you learn and continue to study with the truest and sincerest desire to grow.
If you’re interested in learning more about Yoga Nidra with Indu Arora, you can register for her 5- Day Yoga Nidra Intensive workshop February 23 – 27th at Asheville Yoga Center.
Learn about the history of Nidra, its origin, benefits and more during this informative and unique opportunity!