We’ve all been there.
Tossing and turning, struggling to fall asleep at night. Whether it’s the stress for work that is filling our head with racing thoughts or all the caffeine we drink to get us through the day, a good night’s rest can sometimes be hard to come by.
And when we don’t get sleep, life gets unnecessarily rough.
That’s why I absolutely love yoga nidra for sleep.
It is a beautiful meditative practice that brings stillness into the entire body and lets a feeling of heaviness lure you into a deep, restful sleep.
If you don’t have much experience with yoga, don’t worry.
Yoga nidra for sleep is for everyone. (You literally just lay there…)
Below is my yoga nidra meditation in text so that you can use it for yourself or as a yoga teacher guiding your students through a beautiful yoga nidra session. Before we get to that, I want to answer a few common questions.
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How do you write a yoga nidra script?
Before creating your own yoga nidra script, try practicing yoga nidra with a few different yoga teachers. Pay attention to your experience, what you like about it, what you felt was uncomfortable, and if you wish for something more. The more experience you have with this guided relaxation technique as a student, the better you will become at creating your own guided relaxation script.
What is yoga nidra technique?
This yoga sequence uses a guided meditation script to slowly and gently relax the physical body into a restorative sleep. It uses guided imagery to maintain focus and is often done right on your yoga mat.
What are the benefits of yoga nidra?
The benefits of yoga nidra span far beyond stress relief and profound relaxation. Combined with breath awareness and nidra meditation, you can experience many of the same benefits as with practicing mindfulness meditation regularly.
And it helps you fall asleep, too.
As you can see, it’s one of the most loved styles of yoga and can be beneficial to everyone.
So if you’ve never done yoga nidra, don’t worry about any of the specifics, all you need to know is that it’s a systematic unwinding of your unconscious.
So this is probably the easiest meditation you can ever do, because you’re going to lie down and just listen to my voice in the above video and try to do what I say.
How long should Yoga Nidra be?
A yoga nidra practice can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the yoga teacher. It works like a guided meditation that slowly moves your attention through the physical body, often resulting in deep sleep and sometimes even lucid dreaming.
After all, this guided relaxation technique keeps one foot in consciousness while subtly slipping the other into yogic sleep.
How do you lead Yoga Nidra?
Keep in mind that the goal of this exercise is to be in a state of rest and effortlessness so that your body can experience profound healing and rejuvenation.
You can follow this script on your own and maybe record your own voice for some extra healing power. I like to use visualizations to guide the consciousness into a state of deep relaxation, but you certainly don’t have to do it that way.
So the first thing you need to do is get really comfortable because we’re going to be lying here for quite a while. So what I’m gonna suggest is that you use a bolster under your knees so that your low back doesn’t hurt.
But if you don’t have a bolster, you can just grab a pillow from your bed or couch cushions and just kinda put them under your knees. You don’t have to do any of this, I’m just showing you the setup that I like.
I like to be covered with a blanket. So I’m gonna suggest you cover yourself with a blanket here. And then another nice touch is to have a cervical pillow underneath your neck.
So again, none of these things are required. Pretty much everyone has access to a blanket, so I definitely encourage at least doing that step so you’re just warm and feel grounded.
And then this last step is an eye pillow that you can place over your eyes, this is something I really love to do and it makes the whole experience a lot more delicious.
And get settled in. How we’re going to start is, I want you to cover yourself if you’re able to do that and again, if you’re just lying on the floor with nothing, that’s totally fine, too.
Here we go …
Yoga Nidra Script for Deep Relaxation
(And some of you have been writing to me on Facebook and asking if it matters if you wanna have the opposite, left hand to belly, right hand to chest, you can do that too so just whatever feels best for you. But I always like right-hand on the belly, left-hand on the chest.)
Just give yourself a moment to tune in and notice your breath. And if you are exhausted or you are anxious, I want you to let go of those labels and those words.
Like I’m so tired, or I’m so worried.
Let go of those words and what those words mean and their connotations, and instead just really tune in to how your body feels, with no labels.
Does your right hip feel heavier on the floor than your left? Do your shoulders feel achy, does your jaw feel tired, what’s physically happening, without judgment or labeling, just really be in your body.
I sometimes visualize like a shadow ghost silhouette of myself lying down on top of me, like me reentering myself, fully, and feeling everything fully.
And then I want you to make your breath a little bit bigger.
I want you to inhale, feel your belly rise. And then the hand on your chest rise, and pause, and exhale. Just let gravity take more of you.
Inhale belly, ribs, chest, fill up, breathe in big, exhale think surrender.
Inhale big. Exhale, just think release.
You can be breathing out of the nose or the mouth, your choice. A few more, inhale.
Just challenge yourself to inhale a little bigger than you normally would, and exhale, let it go.
Last two, breathe in, get really big. Maybe think let… Exhale all the way, maybe think go.
Inhale, breathe in big, invite sensation into the body, just feel whatever you need to feel, big, and exhale, give yourself permission to release as you breathe out.
Let your breath just do what it will now. And give yourself permission to let go and be taken over by something greater than you right now.
So just set yourself up to be pliable, to be overcome, to just turn off, to be taken over.
Feel your heels on the ground, where your heels make contact with the mat or your floor. I want you to feel your right heel, so send your awareness into your right heel. Without moving it, just imagine like even the neurons in your brain just swooping or swishing down to the right heel, feel the right heel. Just feel the right heel in your awareness.
Feel the sole of the right foot, holding your awareness at the top of the right foot. Send your awareness into your big toe of your right foot.
Feel your big toe on your right foot. And send your awareness into your second toe on your right foot. Third toe. Fourth toe. And pinkie toe. Send your awareness to your right foot as a whole.
Let gravity have more of it, think let go.
Send your awareness to your right calf. Feel the front of the lower leg, your shin, and send your awareness to the back of the lower leg.
Where the calf’s in contact with the floor, the bolster, think, let go.
And bring your awareness to your right knee. I want you to imagine your knee just softening and unwinding. As if you could screw your kneecap off your body and all the tissue around it just instantly relaxed, slackened. And feel your awareness in your right knee.
Bring your awareness to your right thigh bone. Feel the front of the right thigh. Feel the back of the right thigh where it’s in contact with the bolster pillow or floor. Holding your awareness the whole right thigh.
Just think, let go.
And send your awareness into your right seat where it’s in contact with the floor. Think of gravity having more of your seat. Say to the right seat, let go. Bring your attention now to your left seat. Feel the left sit bone heavy, left side of the body heavy. Say to the left seat, let go.
And bring your awareness into your left thigh. Feel the top of the left thigh, and the bottom of the right thigh. Feel them apart and then together. Tell the left thigh to get heavier, let gravity have you. Say to the left thigh, let go.
And then bring your awareness to your left knee. Imagine the whole knee softening, tissues receive more slack, more space. Maybe visualize the kneecap just gently coming off the body, say to the left knee, just say, let go.
And bring your awareness to your left shin, top of the lower leg. Bring your awareness to your left calf. Feel the top and bottom of the leg separately, then bring your awareness to them together. Say to the lower left leg, let go.
Feel the left heel on the ground. Let it be heavy. Feel the sole of the left foot, top of the left foot. Say to the left foot, let go.
Send your awareness into your left big toe. Second toe. Third toe. Feel your awareness in your fourth toe. Feel your awareness in your pinkie toe. Say to the whole left foot, let go.
Feel both legs completely relaxed.
Bring your awareness to your belly. I want you to imagine your stomach just unraveling. So often we talk about anxiety and the stomach being in knots. Just imagine your stomach getting larger, relaxing more, again, slack coming into all the tissues and the muscles, and the organs.
Feel this happen under your left or right hand if you still have the hand on the belly. Visualize stomach uncoiling. Tissues uncoiling, getting more slack. Visualize the stomach to say, let go.
And bring your attention to the back of your neck. I want you to gently, gently think of lengthening the back of your head, so the back of your skull lengthens away from your heart, just so gently, so slightly. So maybe your chin dips slightly.
From here, take the palms to the left and right of the body. Let the palms drop down to the floor, turn them face up, and bring your energy and your awareness into your right shoulder.
Let it get heavier with gravity, say, relax. Bring your awareness to your right bicep, top of the bicep. Let gravity have your upper arm, think relax.
Right upper arm where it’s in contact with the floor or mat, relax. Bring your awareness to your right elbow, relax.
Right forearm. Relax.
Bring your awareness to your right wrist. Think, relax.
Bring your awareness into the palm of the right hand. Bring your awareness into the back of the right hand. And feel and hold your whole hand in your awareness.
Bring your awareness to your right thumb. Second finger. Middle finger. Ring finger. Pinkie finger. Feel your whole palm. Think, relax.
Feel the whole right side of your body. Let it unwind, uncoil, get heavier, relax.
Bring your awareness to your left shoulder. Feel it heavy on the floor of the mat. Take your awareness to your left bicep. Feel the top of the arm. And the bottom of the upper arm. So your whole upper left arm, relax.
Bring your awareness to your left elbow. Relax.
Left forearm. Relax.
Bring your energy to your left wrist, and relax.
And bring your awareness to the left palm. And relax.
Bring your energy to the back of the left palm. And let the whole left hand now relax. Bring your awareness into your left thumb. In the left.
Fourth finger. Middle finger. Ring finger. Pinkie finger. Feel the whole left hand in your awareness, and relax. Left arm, relax.
Left side of the body, let it get heavier, unravel, and relax. Visualize more space now appearing between all your organs. So everything’s floating a little bit farther apart.
Let gravity continue to sink you down, get heavier, and heavier. Without manipulating the breath too much, just as you breathe out, see if you can find the space where you don’t really need to breathe in again for a couple of moments. Feel the whole body weighted down.
Bring your attention to your right eye, and relax the space behind your eye. Give your energy to the left eye. Relax the eye, but also the space behind the left eye. Feel your left cheekbone, relax. Left cheekbone, relax.
Feel your lips and jaw slacken and relax. Feel the back of your head on the floor, think relax. Feel the space between your eyebrows, third eye center, say relax.
Now visualize on the screen of your mind just the following things for a few seconds each. The color blue. Looking out the window, seeing the snowfall, a snowy day.
A baby laughing.
The sun shining.
And the color purple.
Just feel yourself and let yourself be held. In the most nourishing ocean that’s just vast intelligence, where everything is uncoiled. Loose, slack, supported. At peace. And tell your whole body, relax.
Allow yourself to feel heavy, like lead. Feel like you’re being breathed. I want you to cultivate the subtle sense that your body is recharging, refueling. Just held in this healing space, whether it’s ocean or light, whatever you wanna visualize. Whatever you wanna visualize, you are supported, suspended, recharging, refueling.
Take the next 15 or 20 breaths just to refuel as much as possible.
Imagine every body part recovered, refueling. Every cell refueling and renewing. Every thought you’ve ever thought renewing, and turning into something more gentle.
Let’s come out. Rub your thumbs on your fingers, on the pads of your fingers. Slowly wiggle your toes.
Move very slowly to drawn one knee and then the other knee into the chest, give yourself a squeeze. And roll to your right side. You can use your right forearm as a pillow, left hand to your belly, and just rest.
And as you’re ready, slowly press yourself up into a comfortable seat. Just bring your hands to prayer right away, find a tall spine, breathe in.
Exhale, just dip the chin. And let the back soften, just melting into a gesture of gratitude, relief, and receptivity. Just absorbing the benefits of this deep, deep practice.
If you’re looking for a little bit more physical movement in your yoga practice, you can pair it with restorative yoga to start. Check out my free online yoga videos for more ideas. Or, if you’d like to teach yoga or dive deeper into your yoga practice, then hop over to my online yoga teacher training.
I’m here for you, no matter where you are on the yogic path 🙂
From my heart to yours, of course, namaste.
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