I LOVE a nap. Almost as much as I love ice cream. And what makes a nap even better is....no, it's not ice cream in bed (that's a close second though), but a Yoga Nidra Nap.
Yoga nidra is the ultimate nap, reset and general all round reboot that is perfect to beat a mid-day slump, to get over a bad night's sleep, to combat a stressful day, to help get to sleep or generally just feel more awesome at any point in the day. If like me, you hit 2pm feeling frazzled, zoned out and in need of ice cream and coffee, nidra does a far better job of sorting out the slump, and can be done in as little as 15 minutes. Leaving plenty of time for that ice cream to be eaten if the need persists.
This guided meditation technique is super easy- you don't need to do anything, you don't need to stay awake, you don't need to concentrate, you just need to lie down, get comfortable and let yourself drift as you listen to a guided meditation. It is a perfect form of meditation for people who struggle to meditate as there is no need to focus or try and control the mind. Just lie down, get a blanket, cover your eyes or turn the lights off and prepare to chill.
This meditation itself usually involves breath awareness, a body scan, and techniques to bring the mind inwards and help the body relax. The body enters into a state of deep rest whilst the mind stays active, essentially getting into that drooly, liminal, sunday morning snooze state, somewhere between being asleep and being awake, or sometimes just inducing the ultimate power nap.
This technique is incredibly powerful in helping the body to resting and reset- experts suggest that 30 minutes of nidra is equivalent to 2 hours of sleep! Scientific studies on nidra have highlighted various other benefits including regulating sugar levels and hormone levels, helping reduce anxiety and as a way of dealing with pain, fatigue, and trauma.
It's EPIC. There are hundreds of free nidras available online. I love to use the Yoga Nidra Network website which has hundreds to stream or download free. A lot of these are creative developments of traditional nidra practices and live recordings from various events. I love to listen to the same ones on repeat for months, but also love how many there are too explore and try. Some of my favourites are:
15 minute bedtime nidra by Lucy Arnsby-Wilson (this is aimed at children but I LOVE it)