3 Reasons We Need ‘Yoga Nidra’ Now More Than Ever

For starters, it can offer the benefits of an extra four (yep, four!) hours of sleep. Here, Sri Dharma Mittra shares why this is the practice for modern times.
By Tony Felgueiras

What’s the cause of this rampant exhaustion? Well, maybe the memes have something to do with it… “We desperately need yoga nidra to help us feel fully refreshed,” says Dharma Mittra, who teaches a course on yogic sleep. Here, three ways yogic sleep solves modern challenges.

1. It helps makes up for the sleep cycle you’re probably missing.
“These days very few people experience deep sleep without dreams, but yoga nidra is a blessing because it will restore energy and fully charge the body,” says Mittra. Can this yoga practice actually compensate for the healing, slow-wave slumber that releases cell- and tissue-repairing hormones? Mittra says that just 20 minutes of yogic sleep give you the boost of one to two extra hours of sleep; practice for 60 to 90 minutes to feel like you’ve slept an extra four hours.

2. Screen time stands between you and universal flow, but yoga nidra will clear out the fog. 
You are not your body, social media presence, professional accomplishments, or reactions to the news of the day. “When you experience lack of mind and body activity, you realize you are the eternal witness—consciousness itself. Spiritually, it means you find out who you really are. To believe isn’t enough, you have to experience it through yoga nidra,” Mittra says.

3. It grounds you to make healthy choices, even during hectic times.  
Ever notice that on the busiest days, nutrition lands on the bottom of your task list? “Though it’s hard to overcome, gradually with constant practice, your cravings can lessen,” Mittra says, who admits that even he works on his sweet tooth, which favors pineapple, oranges, and other natural juices. “But you have to practice. Without practice and a will to master it, there is no way.”