The term yoga nidra literally translates to “yogic sleep.” When I first learned this, my immediate thoughts were, “How the heck do you do yoga while you’re sleeping?” and also, “A workout while I’m sleeping? Sign me up!”
As it turns out, that’s not quite what it is. Yoga nidra is “a yoga session that is posture-free and assists you with slowing down and releasing stress-related feelings you may have experienced throughout the day,” says yoga instructor Keriki Purkiss. Really, it’s yoga that helps you relax by listening to guided imagery and focusing on your breath while you’re in savasana, or “corpse pose”—the lying-down position typically done at the end of a traditional yoga class.
“Yoga nidra is the practice of conscious sleep,” yoga nidra instructor Jana Roemer once told Well+Good. “Essentially, we’re figuring out how to allow the body to fall asleep while keeping the mind awake.”