If you’ve recently discovered Yoga Nidra and its benefits, you may be wondering what time of day you should practice. Is there an ideal moment to do this deep relaxation practice, and is there any time when you should avoid it?
There is no one best time to practice Yoga Nidra. You can practice Yoga Nidra at any time according to your specific needs, except right after eating. Even so, many people prefer to do it in the evening to prepare for sleep.
Let’s dive into the specific advantages of practicing Yoga Nidra at different times. Knowing all the options will help you understand when it is most beneficial for you to do this revitalizing practice.
Practicing Yoga Nidra in the morning
As Yoga Nidra can induce a sleep-like state, you might assume that practicing it in the morning is counterproductive. However, while it’s true that it’s not the most energizing way to begin your morning, sometimes it’s what you need to start the day on the right foot.
To make up for a lousy night’s sleep
I practice Yoga Nidra in the morning if I’ve had a bad night’s sleep. Although Yoga Nidra and sleep are not interchangeable, it gives similar benefits to a short nap by slowing the brain waves to similar patterns you experience while sleeping. Because of this, it can serve as a morning power nap, helping you feel well-rested for the day ahead.
So, if you’ve had a disturbed sleep due to noisy neighbors, physical pain, or something else, Yoga Nidra could help you feel less tired throughout the day. Also, for insomnia sufferers and parents of newborn babies, practicing in the morning could give you an energy boost after a terrible night! And if bright morning light is disturbing you too much, try using a yoga eye pillow. Besides blocking the light, using a yoga eye pillow has many benefits for your health.
For clarity and focus
Another reason you can do Nidra first thing in the morning is if you wake up and your brain is overactive and anxious straight away. Unfortunately, this can be common during particularly busy or stressful periods.
Performing sitting meditation in an anxious or overwhelmed state can be very challenging. But because the method of Nidra requires your complete focus as you move through each phase, choosing Yoga Nidra instead of meditation could be a good choice. Therefore, you may find that doing Yoga Nidra in the morning can clear your mind and help you make better decisions.
Practicing Yoga Nidra in the evening
Most Yoga Nidra practitioners find this deep relaxation method most beneficial in the evening. This is because of how it influences the nervous system and the brain:
- It moves away from the sympathetic (fight and flight) side of the nervous system to the parasympathetic (rest and digest) side,
- It reduces the activity of the mind and balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain, bringing it into a state of coherence.
Once you become comfortable and familiar with the practice, you might ‘drop into it’ in less time and less effort and find it hard to stay awake during the session. In fact, many people will fall asleep during Yoga Nidra or will at least come close to drifting off.
If you find that you are someone who falls asleep while listening to a Yoga Nidra recording, it makes sense to plan your practice right before you want to sleep. Do it lying in bed with the lights off so you don’t have to get up afterward.
Can I do Yoga Nidra after asana practice?
You might have come across yoga classes that incorporate this deeply relaxing practice. Yoga Nidra works exceptionally well with all styles of asana. The movement and connection of breath you practice in a yoga session naturally calm your mind and nervous system, making it much easier to surrender to the experience of Nidra.
Nidra is the perfect complement to passive styles of yoga, like Yin and Restorative, and can make a gentle session even more relaxing, nourishing, and healing. However, Nidra also works well after a fast-paced, vigorous yoga practice, such as Vinyasa, Ashtanga, or Power Yoga. It balances out the high “yang” energy, and as it’s physically tiring, you’ll feel pleased to lay down for 20 minutes or so!
If you do Nidra after a yoga practice, you do not need to do Savasana. In this case, Nidra serves as an extended, guided savasana, so there is no need to do both.
Can I do Yoga Nidra after exercise?
You may already do some Yoga stretches after a workout, but is it also good to do Yoga Nidra? Yes, you can do yoga Nidra after exercise. Like with asana, your mind will be calmer and your body tired, which is ideal for beginning a Yoga Nidra session. This is true for all types of exercise, from running to weightlifting.
However, make sure you don’t replace stretching with Yoga Nidra. For example, doing some yoga stretches after running will help your muscles recover quicker and prevent injury. Unfortunately, you cannot replace this benefit with passive relaxation, so the ideal routine is exercise, stretching, then Yoga Nidra.
Can you do Yoga Nidra after eating?
Experts state that you should never lay down right after eating as it prevents your digestive system from doing its job correctly and can cause acid reflux. As you need to perform Yoga Nidra in a reclined position, it is recommended that you wait at least two hours after a meal. So while you can do it at any time during the day, schedule it so that you do it before eating rather than after.
What’s more, I do not recommend you try Yoga Nidra sitting up. While it will be better for your digestion, the purpose of Yoga Nidra is to completely relax every part of your body and release all tension, which is much harder to do when maintaining a seated position. So, although doing Nidra seated may help calm your mind, you will likely lose some of the benefits.
Yoga Nidra has many scientifically proven benefits, whether you practice in the morning, in the middle of the day, or before bed. If you’re unsure when is best for you, try doing sessions at different times and see which feels the most beneficial. Remember that Yoga Nidra is a tool for you to utilize whenever you need to bring a sense of calm and relaxation to your body, mind, and life.