After a long day, I am always tempted to take a nap. I come home, unload my belongings onto the floor, and collapse on my bed with a dramatic sigh. Taking a nap feels like the perfect way to unwind and forget about all of the stressors that popped up during the day. It feels like the perfect way to escape from the world and take some time for myself.
The only problem is that my body resists the time limit that would, normally, be attributed to a “power nap.” In other words, my naps tend to turn into hours long sleeping sessions. At that point, I might as well put on my pajamas and call it a day.
Now, personally, I wanted to find a happy medium. So, I started doing something that I called my “meditation time.” What I would do is lay down on my bed or yoga mat, close my eyes, and repeat a mantra in my head. Other times, I might listen to music or look up a guided meditation on Youtube to play out loud. Adjusting the light to suit your needs makes this time even more relaxing (I tend to turn off the lights and open the blinds to allow a small bit of sunlight into the room). During this time, I would not sleep. I would stay in this sort of in-between, grey area where I felt relaxed enough to fall asleep. But, since I was focused on a meditation, mantra, or music, I was able to stay in this zone without reenacting Sleeping Beauty.
Trust me, it gets easier after a few tries. The first time that I did this, I fell asleep within seconds. But, now, I am able to stay in this meditative state for an hour or two without dozing off.
Little did I know that what I was doing is an actual practice that is known as yoga nidra, which translates to “yogic sleep.” Essentially, there are recorded meditations and entire practices devoted to doing what I was doing in the comfort of my own home. And the benefits are immense! According to one statistic that I found, one hour of yogic sleep is as refreshing as three hours of regular sleep. It is also great for people with insomnia, anxiety, and general stress issues.
To learn more about this practice, click here.
If you want to jump right in and try it out, here are two free (yes, FREE!) yoga nidra classes that you can use to help you along.