What is sleep yoga?

When you think of yoga, do you think of stinky mats, sweaty gyms and uncomfortable poses? You might want to take a closer look at yoga nidra, a style of yoga geared more to restoration than twisty pretzel poses. Also called sleep yoga, yoga nidra is a restorative style of yoga that looks (and feels) more like taking a nap than exercise.

Practiced lying down and in a comfortable position, yoga nidra is similar to meditation. In fact, according to Jennifer Reis, a certified yoga therapist and creator of Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra, "Yoga nidra IS meditation. It's a guided form of meditation most often practiced lying down." Many styles and schools and teachers of yoga nidra exist, so there are different approaches to what is guided, says Neis, who talked to MNN. Most yoga nidra classes walk students through a series of stages aimed to help relax the mind and body.

You know that savasana pose (the one where you lie on your back and take lots of deep breaths) that serves as the finale of most yoga classes? If that's your favorite part of doing yoga, then you're going to love yoga nidra. Think of it as a cross between meditation and napping where the focus is on full-body restoration and relaxation while remaining awake and alert....more