I have tried a few different home yoga styles over the past few weeks, including some weird and wacky ones. I love a good yoga flow, but my favourite is the more meditative yin yoga style, where you hold a pose for minutes at a time. Today I’ve gone one further and tried yoga nidra: a style that requires no movement at all.
Yoga nidra is sometimes called yogic sleep, and involves a guided meditation to lead you to that magic time between waking and sleep: the body is deeply relaxed, but the mind still active. Full disclosure, I have done a yoga nidra YouTube video before, in fact, I’ve done it many times over. The yoga nidra video and any yin yoga videos have been a strong support system through a tough couple of years, and I eagerly recommend them to anybody who wants to unwind a little. I came across a class on a Sheffield yoga studio’s website (it’s a long story how I landed there) and quickly signed myself and my sister up for a Friday evening class over Zoom.
The lovely teacher gave us, and 8 other attendees, a brief history of yoga nidra, and a rundown of how the session will go. She encouraged us to turn our videos off so we were totally free of distraction and self-consciousness whilst we did any last moments before our extended stillness. She then gently guided our attention to each part of our body, bit by bit, until our whole body was deeply relaxed. Or that is how it should’ve been. My body decided this was the perfect time to get fidgety, and the more I tried not to move, the more it wanted to. This dampened my enjoyment of the class a little, but I still enjoyed and benefitted from the deep meditation.
I felt like I was floating on a cloud for the rest of the evening, I was relaxed but not necessarily sleepy, and I definitely felt like sleep came easier when I got into bed. My sister was so relaxed during the class that she kept falling asleep – not the goal but she wasn’t complaining! It was a wonderful class, a completely different experience to a video, and one that I’ll definitely repeat.