Yoga Instead of Sleep?

Oct 16, 2023

by Roxana Valea

Roxana continues her research in Yoga Nidra and remembers how she first started practising these techniques many years ago without even knowing what they were!

It was in my mid-20s that I came across Yoga Nidra for the first time. Only that I had no idea it was a yogic practice. At the time I used to need a lot of sleep, around 10 hours per night. Excessive, I know. But any less than that and I would barely function during the day. Friends came in with ideas: try coffee some said (I was not drinking coffee at that time). Go to sleep earlier others said. Exercise more. Skip dinner. I heard everything. But nothing worked. My body stubbornly needed 10 hours of sleep.

Until one day when I had a Reiki session. I told the therapist about my struggles with my sleep. She laughed and said I was unusual. People usually complain about too little sleep.

She also said I should try a deep relaxation technique and see what happens. I started doing what she recommended and only many years later I found out it was a Yoga Nidra practice. Here are the steps I followed:

  1. Find a Quiet and Comfortable Space:

It was important, she said that I would not be disturbed and that I could lie down perfectly still with my spine relaxed. A yoga mat or a carpet would do better than a bed or sofa. Also, I should stay warm so best to be covered with a blanket.

  1. Set an Intention:

Before starting, I was to set an intention for my practice. That was easy, I thought. I just  wanted to relax. Later on, I found out you can set various types of intentions: an affirmation or goal you wish to manifest. It could relate to personal growth, inner peace, or any aspect of your life you want to enhance.

  1. Do a Body Scan:

I was to do a systematic body scan in my mind’s eye, bringing attention to different parts of my body. I had no instructions to follow at the time but I got into the habit of starting with the top of my head and going piece by piece and organ by organ until I reached my feet. I visualised each part and relaxed it. When I could not consciously relax something – How do you relax your liver? – I just imagined it relaxed and happy. 

  1. Maintain Visualisation and Awareness:

I allowed myself to be fully immersed in the visualisations of my body parts but at the same time, I maintained a heightened awareness of my surroundings and sensations. I was not to fall asleep, I was told.

  1. Slowly Transition Back:

After about 30 min I started to gradually become aware of my surroundings and my body and transitioned back by moving slowly my fingers and toes first then slowly getting up. 

The results? Unbelievable! After only 1 year of this practice, I started a full-time MBA program which was so packed with study, work and social life that my night sleep had reduced to between 4 and 6 hours. And I not only survived it but highly enjoyed every minute of of that crazy schedule.

 How did I do this?

By sticking to my 30 min Yoga Nidra routine once a day every day. 

If you want to try for yourself the benefits of this practice come join Anna’s evening Yoga Nidra class every Tuesday in October 2023! Free with your Standard Membership. Meetup details are available under Meetups on the Community Platform.



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