Yoga Nidra: The Art of Slowing Down

“1-hour is the equivalent of a full night’s sleep” – Everything you need to know about Yoga Nidra from yoga instructor and wellness expert, Claire Ragozzino.

This piece comes to us from Berkshires FP Escapes instructor, Claire Ragozzino.

Last summer, I found myself completely and utterly exhausted. As a yoga teacher with a business based on wellness, you would think I’d have my personal wellness plan figured out all the time. But I’m human, too, and fell into the trap of wanting to achieve more, work harder, play harder.  And in my mind, I was eating all the “right things” and doing all the “right practices”, but the one thing I was not allowing myself to do was to slow down and to receive the benefits of those foods and practices through rest. In fact, like much of our culture, I was terrified to slow down, addicted to the crazy busy cycle of saying yes to too much doing and not enough yes to just being. 

That’s when my body caught up with me and my adrenals gave the signal that I needed to slow down, and that no superfood or supplement would remedy this deep fatigue I was feeling.  I needed to give myself permission to rest, and to rest deeply without guilt.

Dr. Claudia Welch has a great anecdote about this very thing. She says, “When we’re hungry – we eat. When we’re thirsty – we drink. When we’re tired, we think…what’s wrong!”

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Infinity Legging, Amanda Tank

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But slowing down when you’re in a cycle of moving too fast is hard to do. That’s when I turned to a magical practice not shared often enough in the yoga world – Yoga Nidra, a guided meditation I feel is perfectly built for a culture that needs structure in order to feel at ease in slowing down. I started with 10 minutes, and for 40 days I scheduled in this structured time to deeply rest. Within a month, I began to heal my adrenal fatigue and find a more balanced, sustained flow of energy. It’s now an essential practice I can’t live without and cannot recommend enough for our modern world.

So what is Yoga Nidra? Nidra actually means sleep in Sanskrit. When following this meditation, it takes you past the dreaming stage and into a state of conscious deep sleep, where healing of the nervous system, heart and mind take place. Because Yoga Nidra activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System, it also has profound effects on supporting digestion and countering stress-induced insomnia.  Through consciously relaxing the effort of body and mind, we learn to address stress in our waking states with more ease and direct the flow of energy more intentionally. On a deeper level, we use Sankalpa Shakti in this meditation to process and transform karma in our lives and manifest our deeper desires.

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A regular practice can last anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour. They say that 1-hour of Nidra is the equivalent of a full night’s sleep, so consider a short afternoon practice the most powerful power nap you can take! The best time to do this meditation is in the afternoon between lunch and dinner, though anytime you can make space for this practice the benefits will be well received.

To get started, I have a Yoga Nidra audio pack available to download here. This iPhone app is a favorite of mine, too. Join us in the Berkshires this fall to explore the connections between deep conscious and seasonal rejuvenation during our Awakening Ayurveda Retreat.


+ Have you tried Yoga Nidra before? Share your experience in the comments below. 

Claire Ragozzino is a yoga instructor, plant-based chef & holistic nutrition educator. She works with clients around the globe to inspire transformational changes in their health and wellbeing. Her wellness programs are infused with Ayurvedic principles, plant-based nutrition, and yogic philosophy to cultivate knowledge for intuitive healing. Learn about her seasonal cleanses, coaching programs and global retreats:

Photography by Todd Scott Co
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5 years ago

This is exactly what I need In my life right now!! Looking for the equivalent app on the Google play store!

I have the hardest time focusing on meditation… I have a super monkey mind, as i was told from the Buddhist monk at my meditation retreat in Thailand. This yoga nidra sounds amazing, and I look forward to bringing it into my daily life. Thanks for sharing!

Warmth and light,

5 years ago

I love Yoga Nidra! Just completed my 200 hr TT and in our program one of the teachers introduced us to this style of yoga/meditation. Yoga Nidra gets me into a completely different mind state, it felt very similar to the feeling of being hypnotized, and supposedly the brain waves are the same in both practices- theta brain waves. I was so well rested and relaxed afterwards it was unlike any other type of meditation I’ve practiced. I would highly recommend anyone thinking about trying it to do so.

5 years ago

I discovered Yoga Nidra as a child and was immediately hooked. I now guide groups and individuals in the practice for deep healing, stress relief, and inner peace and have been doing so for nearly 10 years. I’ve had the honor of working with trauma survivors, including homeless individuals and survivors of sex trafficking, and facilitated powerful healing through Yoga Nidra. This practice is not to be underestimated! Thank you for sharing your experience!

5 years ago

It’s a nice yoga teqnique for relaxation , Now a days yoga is practiced as a method of physical fitness with an added feature of mental relaxation. I personally know a yoga training center in India called as “Akshara Yoga School”. It provides impartment of yoga education, learning, and experience. Thank you for sharing with us. Keep Blogging!

5 years ago

This is great, so glad a popular blog is giving such a grounding practice a spotlight. Yoga Nidra has helped me immensely when I feel burnout coming on. I tend to throw myself into my work (social work) emotionally and physically. I don’t always listen to when it starts to drain me. When I finally cannot ignore it I always go for Yoga Nidra to stop everything and bring me back down to a level mind/body.

Thanks for the post!

5 years ago

Any download able resources for android users? I need this so desperately in my life.