Struggling with Meditation? Try Yoga Nidra

If you’ve recently started practicing meditation and finding it a real battle or struggle, Yoga Nidra might be a great alternative to try first.

Meditation is an active practice of training the mind to one-pointed focus whether that’s using a mantra, an object, your thoughts, your breath, or something else. The intention is, to bring back the mind to the object of meditation when it loses focus or wanders off.

But what if you’ve just begun and found it impossible? There is no denying that the skill of meditation takes many hours and years of practice. The secret is in the word “practice” and like anything in life, if you don’t put the effort in, then the results you’ll get might be rather disappointing. Meditation is worth every second of time you put in, however, if you just can’t manage it right now, maybe try Yoga Nidra first, then progress on to meditation afterwards.

Nidra Yoga

What is Yoga Nidra?

Simply put, Yoga Nidra is conscious sleep or sleep with awareness and is often called “Yogic Sleep” or “Yoga Sleep.”  It is a systematic method used to guide your awareness from the external to the internal, the physical, to the subtle. It moves through, what we call in Yoga, the 5 Koshas (the Koshas will be discussed in another blog, so if you’re interested in this check out that blog).

The process of moving inwards shuts down the thinking mind and into a state where we withdraw the senses (Pratyahara).

 Yoga Nidra provides a systematic approach to withdraw our awareness. We disengage the parts of our mind that are linked to sense perception. The only sensory input we keep open is the auditory channel (listening) and perhaps a little “feeling” also.

Yoga Nidra slows down our brain waves and helps us enter a space of deep rest. All you have to do is follow the voice of the practitioner or teacher guiding the experience. The mind just follows the lead.

Yoga Nidra requires no effort, EXCEPT to not fall asleep. It is the practice of awareness and receptive consciousness. It doesn’t matter if your mind drifts off. It doesn’t matter if consciousness falls away and the subconscious comes forward. The practice still works, so there is no need to force your awareness. With the mind quiet and receptive, the thoughts pause and we enter a state of pure consciousness.

So, if meditation just isn’t working for you, give Yoga Nidra a try. Once you’ve gotten into the groove with this, then maybe give Meditation another go. When you feel like you’re making progress, then move on to trying a short meditation practice and see how that works.

There’s lots of free info on YouTube and mobile apps to get you started from a short 10-minute practice to longer sessions. We also practice Yoga Nidra in yoga class, so if you would like the experience within a class environment, then come along.