Yoga Nidra eases body, mind and spirit


The practice of Yoga Nidra is an ancient deep-sleep meditation technique that passes the dream state but allows you to remain alert. This means that while the body sleeps and the mind is at rest, there is an active consciousness, said Dale Yavitt, Body, Mind and Spirit Program coordinator at the HonorHealth Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center.

Yoga Nidra is a deeply restorative guided meditation with four stages:

  1. Start with the waking stage: beta.
  2. Move through the dreaming experience: alpha.
  3. Transition to the deeper meditation stage: theta.
  4. Achieve the complete disconnection from personality and fears with a conscious awareness of nothing: delta.

What does Yoga Nidra do?

Equivalent to three hours of sleep, Yoga Nidra may bring balance, harmony and ease to the body, mind and spirit. This happens at many different levels and in many different ways. As a means for self-realization and spiritual enlightenment, Yoga Nidra could create a more vibrant, happy and empowered life for you. This form of yoga may have energy and physiological effects that could help restore balance to the nervous system and reduce blood pressure, Yavitt said. Diabetics might see improved glucose regulation. In addition:

  • Your immune system can be strengthened.
  • A healing response can be boosted.
  • Chronic pain can be lessened.
  • Anti-aging chemicals are released during delta sleep.
  • Healing of physical and emotional injuries can be facilitated.

How is Yoga Nidra practiced?

Before a meal, this deep-sleep-based meditation can be rejuvenating and healing for both body and mind. During a Yoga Nidra class, you lie on your back for approximately 40 minutes while a teacher guides you, doing breath and body awareness, and intention setting.

You remain completely still throughout the class and essentially get to a place of hovering just above sleep in the delta state. Spontaneous healing in the body may occur.

An excellent way to experience deep relaxation and healing without having to move a muscle, Yoga Nidra can also be done in a hospital bed, Yavitt said. Studies have shown that 11 Yoga Nidra meditations can improve Alzheimer’s disease, chronic diseases and chronic stress. This is possible because the practice of Yoga Nidra stills the fluctuations of the mind, allowing you to be your authentic self, resting deeply and releasing limiting beliefs.

How can you explore Yoga Nidra?

The Body, Mind and Spirit Program at HonorHealth Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center, offers certified, supervised Yoga Nidra classes to cancer survivors, patients and their caregivers. Yoga Nidra is a seamless system that will not limit your healing potential.

Many participants have benefited from the class while trying to cope with the stresses of health issues. To register for a class, visit

This story was published in magazine.