the other yoga teacher trainees and I lie in savasana ó on our
backs, eyes closed ó I listen to our instructor name parts of the
body systematically in a soothing voice. As I hear the words, without
effort I begin to drop into a deep state of relaxation.
Itís my first
encounter with yoga nidra, and Iím hooked, especially when I emerge
from my experience an hour later feeling more refreshed than when I
wake up in the morning after several hours of sleep. In fact, while my
teacher cautions that yoga nidra, sometimes called "yogic
sleep," is not meant as a replacement for sleep, she says people
suffering from sleep deprivation and insomnia have reported feeling
more rested after the practice.
So what is it
exactly? "(Itís) a combination of relaxation, affirmation,
respiration and visualization techniques that work together (to
integrate) body, mind and spirit," says Biz Casmer, a
professional yoga therapist and yoga teacher. "In its purest
form, yoga nidra has 10 stages, which take about 60 minutes to
yoga nidra session begins with you lying down, connecting with your
breath and setting an intention, which can be as simple as "I
want to feel more relaxed." Then a practitioner guides you
through a "rotation of consciousness" in your body.
moving awareness: be there, let it go, be there, let it go,"
explains Tina Romenesko, a professional yoga therapist and owner of
Trillium Studio Milwaukee. "Eventually the body relaxes, the mind
relaxes. And you didnít have to try to do it; you just were
As you listen to
the practitionerís voice, you move into a different state of
consciousness, Romenesko says. "In nidra, you can drop below the
waking state, past dreaming, to that deeper sleep state, almost like
youíre parachuting through the body and the mind to get to this
deeper state of conscious awareness," she says. "So someone
dealing with a limiting belief or with sticky thoughts that are not
allowing them to move forward, it lets them settle into a place where
they can deal with it at a different level."
an integrative practitioner, psychotherapist and art therapist at
Lifespan Psychotherapy in Hartland, says yoga nidra is an effective
tool. "I learned how to facilitate yoga nidra because there has
been much research indicating benefits for anxiety, depression, PTSD,
insomnia, ADHD, chronic pain, addiction and more," she says.
"I have witnessed wonderful results. A person with multiple
sclerosis whose tremors stopped after the session. A person with
chronic pain who experienced decreased pain. A person with insomnia
who was able to track via Fitbit better sleep."
While yoga nidra
can help individuals dealing with trauma or serious health concerns,
it also offers a way to manage stress and rejuvenate yourself.
pace of our culture, this tool can be incredibly beneficial in helping
us to relax and reset our system," Casmer says. "Personally,
nidra helped me recover from some sleep issues that I carried with me
from childhood. I keep recordings of myself reading nidra scripts on
my phone. When I am overworked or exhausted, I set aside time to
experience the first level of nidra and help my body reset."
some of the stages of yoga nidra near the end of her group classes at
Haleybird Studios in Wauwatosa and INVIVO, and other practitioners in
the area lead groups in either full or partial yoga nidra experiences
seen how a partial yoga nidra can be powerful. "I worked with
middle schoolers, and they were a tough group," she says. "I
tried doing yoga, doing breath, and nothing was working. So I laid
them down and did a rotation of consciousness. And the toughest kid in
the group, he goes, ĎWhoa! That was really cool, man.í And Iím
like, ĎOK, I got it!í" m
2475 S. Howell Ave.
meditation with yoga nidra led by
Sept. 18, Oct.
Nov. 20, Dec. 18
Drive, Suite 204B, Hartland
Yoga nidra with
Chris Drosdick, Aug. 6, 8,
20 and 22
(private sessions also available)
3065 N. 124th
meditation with yoga nidra led
Aug. 10 and 18
House Studio and Healing Arts Center
601 E. Wright
Yoga nidra led
by Alison Von Brown, first Sunday of the month
with Biz Casmer
2723 N. Farwell
with Tina Romenesko
Brookfield Road, Suite 101, Brookfield
Yoga nidra led
by Pamela Bliss, third Wednesday of the month beginning