Yoga Nidra & Your Dinacharya

“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” -John Dryden

In Ayurveda, your most key tool to establishing balance in mind, body, and spirit is through your Daily Routine, or Dinacharya, in Sanskirt. The Dinacharya is a process which is tailored to you and for you, and should be one that you look forward to and ensures that you are adhering to practices that are going to revitalize, energize and balance your being. For me, in establishing this routine, I came across books by Dr. Marc Halpern, who is the Founder of the California College of Ayurveda. This was the first time I stumbled across the term “Yoga Nidra” and I was intrigued thinking it was a physical exercise, but learned it is a meditation. Yoga Nidra has become popular again, but renamed as “NSDR” or “Non-Sleep Deep Rest.” The practice of Yoga Nidra is incredible. It is a meditation that resets your entire nervous system. If you are having insomnia or sleep issues, this practice can enable you to rest and achieve sleep. Yoga Nidra is a holistic practice which can be done in tandem with your healthcare.

“This is self directing a state of calm through respiration and vision.” -Dr. Andrew Huberman

I have learned that Yoga Nidra brings me a deeper sense of calm than I usually achieve through my usual guided meditations (I often like to meditate listening to Boho Beautiful Meditations or Deepak Chopra), but something I have learned while practicing Yoga Nidra in Savasana pose is that my body really quiets down and resets its energy level. Therefore, in my Dinacharya, I usually integrate it as 10 minutes in the early afternoon before I have a coffee etc. It’s a practice that you can integrate into any time of the day, but the idea is that you are focusing on resetting your nervous system and calming down your nervous system, so it’s important to recognize when your are moving too fast throughout your day etc., and when it’s time for a break, even if it’s just 10 minutes.

Dr. Andrew Huberman recommends this practice ideally to be between 20-30 minutes and does not need to be daily. It is most realistic to not engage in this practice daily, but if you are working towards learning more about it and integrating into your Dinacharya, I would say 10 minutes in the early afternoon or later in the day is ideal. A basic overview of my Ayurvedic Dinacharya is the following:

  • Wakeup around 6am (the ideal is when the sun rises)
  • Engage in positive visualization when I wake up (positive visualization is anything that gives you joy – focus on whatever gives you joy as a visual cue)
  • Read a positive affirmation to myself from Miranda Kerr’s Treasure Yourself book
  • 20 minutes of light exercise (I actually love Denise Austin’s AARP workouts – they are really for all ages!) or a few sun salutations (Surya Namaskar) recommended in an Ayurvedic lifestyle by Deepak Chopra
  • 10-15 minutes of meditation
  • Shower / Get Ready
  • Early afternoon – 10 minutes of Yoga Nidra
  • Go to bed around 10pm or earlier

This Dinacharya has been most sustainable for me as I have busy work days and do not find grounding my Dinacharya later in the day as ideal. When adhering to an Ayurvedic lifestyle, it’s especially important to be mindful of the time of day and how your body naturally reacts because of the time of day it is. For example, going on more vigorous walks by noon time is great. The idea is that you are centering your health in the most holistic way possible. Health becomes a priority in a mind, body, spirit sort of way. While studying Ayurveda, I have learned that the topics are so vast, it makes sense to find yourself gravitating to a few topics in particular. For me, that has been studying meditation and Yoga Nidra. In my next blog post, I’ll be writing about the impacts that Solfeggio Frequencies have on the body whilst meditating.

Yoga Nidra, by definition, is “a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, typically induced by guided meditation.” (Wikipedia). Its origin story includes a Goddess named Yoganidra, and she would appear in the Hindu text “Devi Mahatmaya.” In the modern age, neuroscientist, Dr. Andrew Huberman, of the Huberman Lab at Stanford University has been promoting the benefits of this practice on podcasts, which I think is a fantastic way to revitalize an ancient practice. Scientifically, Dr. Huberman states that a regular practice of this meditation increases brain plasticity (neuroplasticity) by 50%, which means you can learn and learn a lot much faster. You are rewiring circuitry in states of deep rest. Ultimately, you’re only benefitting your health in every way possible with this practice! Dr. Andrew Huberman’s lab website is a great tool for learning more about the scientific benefits of this practice. It is common to rest at the end of a Vinyasa yoga routine in Savasana pose. Recognizing the power of this pose in how it enables you to calm your entire nervous system gives you a stronger sense of autonomy over your rest and relaxation.

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