In the pursuit of finding your inner peace, you must’ve come across various terms such as Yoga Nidra and meditation. If you are assuming they are the same, you are only half right. While both of them aim to bring about a sense of tranquillity, they are entirely different in their approach. So, where exactly does the difference between yoga Nidra and meditation lie?
This informative post will explore both of these techniques in detail and will help you understand how they differ from each other.
What is Yoga Nidra?
The word “Nidra” comes from the Sanskrit term for “sleep.” It’s an ancient practice that means “yogic sleep.” This guided meditation usually takes place while you’re resting on your back. Also called “psychic sleep”, it’s a state of deep conscious awareness sleep which is a state between wakefulness and sleep.
During Yoga Nidra, you are guided to focus on different body parts and breathing. As you are guided through a series of instructions, your brain waves slow down and pass through the Alpha and Theta waves. It finally enters the Delta stage, the deepest sleep stage. In this state, your body is completely relaxed, but you are still aware of your surroundings.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is an amazing practice and has many benefits, some of which include:
- Improved thought and sleeping patterns
- Soothes mental and bodily tension
- Diminished stress and anxiety
- Lower blood pressure
- Relief from chronic pain
- Reduced menstrual irregularities
- Increased sense of well-being
- Better cognitive and memory performance
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a method, thousands of years old, used in various civilizations and is now a unifying term. It includes many different practices such as mindfulness, walking, and so on.
Fundamentally, meditation is the practice of teaching your mind to focus and redirect its attention. It is a method of turning your attention inward and focusing on the present moment.
You practice meditation by sitting still with your eyes closed and you focus on a particular object, thought, mantra, or breath. It can be practiced differently, but the goal is always the same: to still the mind and find inner peace.
Benefits of Meditation
Like Yoga Nidra, meditation also comes with a host of benefits. Some of these benefits are:
- Better control over your emotions and thoughts
- Increase in self-awareness
- Improved focus and concentration
- Lowering stress and anxiety levels
- Reduced negative thinking and rumination
- A deeper connection to your inner self
- More clarity in imagination and creativity
- A new perspective in life
- Better heart health and sleep quality
Similarities Shared by Yoga Nidra and Meditation
The reason why we are discussing the similarities is to give you a better understanding of why they are often confused with each other. There are only a handful of similarities, and they also lie in the intention (somewhat) and results of these practices. Here, we listed these similarities:
- The goal of both Yoga Nidra and meditation is to achieve inner serenity.
- They both aid you in focusing and being in the present moment.
- You can reap several mental and physical health benefits from both practices.
- Practicing these methods, you gain more power over your wandering thoughts and emotions.
- They both enable improved focus and concentration.
Significant Distinctions Between Yoga Nidra and Meditation
Many people lump these two together, but these are two distinct practices. Here are some major differences between them!
The apparent distinction between these two methods is the position in which they are performed. In Yoga Nidra, you usually lie down in Shavasana (corpse pose). Whereas in meditation, you can practice in any position that is comfortable for you such as sitting, walking, or standing.
In Yoga Nidra, the focus is primarily on the breath and body. You are instructed to scan your body from head to toe and notice any sensations or emotions you may be feeling. In meditation, the focus is mainly on the breath or a mantra.
Another significant difference between yoga Nidra and meditation is that yoga Nidra is a guided practice, while meditation does not always require guidance. In yoga Nidra, you will be given specific instructions on what to focus on, such as your breath or a particular body part. On the other hand, in meditation, you are only required to sit still and focus on your breath or a mantra without any guidance.
The procedure of yoga Nidra is much more structured than meditation. In yoga Nidra, you will go through different stages, guided by your brain waves, such as relaxation and visualization. Whereas in meditation, you only need to focus on a particular focal point like your breath, an object, or a mantra.
The intention of these practices also differs entirely. Yoga Nidra’s ultimate aim is to attain a state called “conscious sleep”. And mediation is essentially about being aware and awake.
How to Choose What’s Better for You?
Now that we have looked at both practices in detail and understand their key differences, it’s time to answer the question: which one is better for you?
Essentially, Yoga Nidra and Meditation complement each other as their end goals are the same: to reach a state of relaxation and peace. They just go about their separate routes. If you’re unsure what will work better for you, the best way to find out is to try both and see which one would you prefer.
If you want to try a more guided experience, Yoga Nidra might be a better choice. But if you’re someone who enjoys more solitary pursuits, meditation may be a better fit. However, there are no hard and fast rules – ultimately, the best way to find out is to give them both a try.
So, there you have it – a comprehensive guide to the differences between yoga Nidra and meditation. We hope that this piece was able to clarify your doubts about these two popular practices. Remember, they are both beneficial in their own way and can be practiced by anyone regardless of their age, religion, or beliefs. So, why not test them both and see which one works best for you?