When stress and exhaustion are at an all-time high during pregnancy and postpartum, the benefits of practicing yoga nidra are numerous.
A way to rest and restore the body is by practicing yoga nidra. It allows for deep relaxation and brings awareness into the subtle body. And, ideally, your tired and worn-out spirit will rejuvenate from within.
What is yoga nidra?
Yoga nidra is often described as yogic sleep. It is a practice that systematically brings the consciousness into a state between waking and sleep.
When you reach this hypnagogic state, the body can relax and receive intuition from the unconscious mind.
It is said that the relaxation achieved in a yoga nidra session is equivalent to hours of ordinary sleep. It is a form of guided meditation that will bring your awareness to different body parts, allowing you to drop into a deep state of relaxation.
A free postpartum yoga nidra practice
How yoga nidra can support pregnancy and postpartum
Yoga Nidra is an invaluable tool that you can use during pregnancy and postpartum. The benefits of practicing are numerous. You will clear your body of stress and tension. It is a whole-body reset.
A consistent yoga nidra practice during pregnancy will help provide a calm environment for your babe to grow. As you release layers of tension, you make room for visualizations and insights from your baby and your higher self.
Your practice can help you move through the sensations of labor. During postpartum, your yoga nidra practice will support you to feel well-rested even if you are not getting consistent or deep sleep.
A simple yoga nidra practice for pregnancy and postpartum
To practice, find a comfortable and quiet space. Lay down a blanket or mat.
Yoga nidra is practiced lying flat on your back, palms face up.
If you are postpartum, lie on your back with your head and legs supported by a pillow.
If you are pregnant, you should lie on your side. Or lay on your back with many pillows and blankets, like sitting in a chair.
Once you get situated, drape a blanket over your body and use an eye pillow over your eyes. Make sure you are comfortable. If you need to move or change position while practicing, adjust and then return to the practice.
During the practice, you will recite a Sankalpa. A Sankalpa is a resolution. It is a positive statement, like an affirmation. Make sure it is something that you are committed to achieving.
Depending on where you are in your motherhood journey will depend on what Sankalpa you will choose. Keep it short and precise. Speak in the present tense and avoid using negative words. For example, say, “I release fear and birth with confidence,” instead of saying, “I don’t have fear about my birth.”
Continuing your yoga nidra practice
To practice yoga nidra, find a teacher to learn from. Commit to the practice and do it daily. Working with a teacher at a studio will expose you to other women in your area. This will help you build relationships and community.
This can be healing and necessary postpartum. If your local community doesn’t offer yoga nidra, you can find classes and recordings online.
First, start with a 15 or 20-minute class. Gradually work up to a 45 or 60-minute class. As you continue to practice, you will reap more and more rewards.
You can consider having a few yoga nidra recordings saved on your phone to listen to when you need them.
Wherever you are on your parenting journey, yoga nidra will benefit you. This practice will help you relax and regulate your nervous system.
The rest of the family will follow suit when you are cared for. It’s hard to prioritize yourself, but setting aside 20 minutes for yourself to practice yoga nidra will pay you back exponentially.
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Abigail is a doula, author, yoga teacher, and wellness coach. Her nine years as a pediatric nurse and her training as a coach and meditation teacher guide her doula care. She seeks to empower expectant mothers and support the family during their transition. You can find Abby dancing under a disco ball, swimming, painting and spending time outdoors with family and friends.