Fitness class review: Yoga nidra

By in Sports & Health

Though labelled as a form of yoga on the fitness class schedule, this class does not offer what many people would describe as yoga, since the focus is not on stretching or movement — instead the class is spent in guided meditation.

The description of the class online lists it as sleep-based meditation that attempts to heal the body and negate stressful thoughts. During the opening explanation of the class, the instructor did mention that, while participants should try to remain aware and focus on her instruction throughout the class, it was perfectly acceptable to fall asleep at any time.

For equipment, the regular yoga mats and blocks were offered alongside thin pillows, towels and blankets. After a short bout of stretches, we were invited to get comfortable by lying on our backs and using the pillows, blankets and rolled-up towels to find a position that we could remain in for the full session.

Something to note here is that the yoga nidra class only runs for 45 minutes, around 30 of which are spent in meditation, rather than the standard full hour. I personally found this to be the perfect amount of time, as it was easier to fit into my schedule.

For those who have not experienced a guided meditation, the basic concept is to clear your mind and then focus on the instructor’s voice as they guide you through thought exercises.

I’d been to a guided meditation before this class, and I still enjoyed it, as I find I can become easily distracted or restless during solo meditation. I also find that having the instructor’s voice to focus on helps me to clear my mind.

The yoga nidra session I attended had two goals, the first of which was to relax and negate stress. This was done by attempting to leave the thinking-and-doing self behind and focusing only on feeling and simply existing.

I found this approach to stress relief especially relevant to the student lifestyle, as we spend much of our time in a doing-and-thinking mentality — just existing was incredibly relaxing. Separating myself from everyday life was relaxing, because often, when I’m not doing something, I am thinking about the next thing I have to do.

The second aspect of the class focused on relieving pain or tension in the body. I was successful with this as well, as I found my back pain alleviated for the duration of the class and for a short while afterwards. This was also true for my partner, who attended the class with me, as she said she had the same experience with her shoulder pain.

Of course, I would not list this class as a replacement for a chiropractor or any other type of treatment that you could be receiving for physical pain. However, the class was a great way to supplement these methods and avoid pain for a couple of hours.

To conclude, I recommend this class to any student who feels they could use a little less stress in their life. I spent about 5-10 minutes of the class asleep and left feeling completely relaxed. Those looking to attend the class can do so from 12:05 to 12:50 p.m. on Thursdays.

Jack Thompson / Sports & Health Editor

Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor