Sutra I.10 – Chapter I, Sutra 10

अभावप्रत्ययालम्बना वृत्तिर्निद्रा॥१०॥

abhāva pratyaya ālambanā vttinidra

Nidra (deep or dreamless sleep) occurs in the absence (abhava) of other mental impressions and activities (vrtti-s) such as correct knowledge (pramana), misperception (viparyaya), imagination (vikalpa) or memory (smrtti).

PRACTICAL LIVING     Deep sleep is the 4th mental activity and is based on the absence of the other mental activities. Unlike in a dream state where the mental activities such as memory and imagination play an important role, in nidra (deep/dreamless sleep), the only activity in the mind is nidra itself. When we wake up in the morning, we have a sensation of the quality of our sleep, which indicates that we have a memory of it, implying it is an activity in itself even though it’s devoid of the other four. In the nidra state, the mind is overcome by heaviness (tamas). Just like the other activities of the mind, nidra can be harmful (klishta) or not (aklishta) as mentioned in Sutra I.5. Deep sleep is a common activity for the mind and it is necessary for physical and psychological health (aklishta). But the heaviness can also occur due to boredom or exhaustion, resulting in inertia (klishta). Nidra is the only vrtti that works in the present state – there is no future or past during deep sleep. On some level, nidra provides some rest for the mind, allowing all of the energy to be directed towards ‘fixing’ what needs to be fixed in the body during the night.

IN THE YOGA WORLD     Up until now we have mentioned three states of mind: (1) awake; (2) dreaming; and (3) deep/dreamless state. Further along in the second chapter of the Yoga Sutras however, Patanjali refers to a 4th state of mind: caturthah – a state that is deeper that nidra. In this state there are no external influences – purusha (refer to the History page) comes to its own nature. The Upanishads (very important ancient texts following the Vedas), refer to human beings have 4 states as well:

  1. jagrat (wakeful) – jnanedriyas (sense organs: skin, tongue, nose, ears and eyes), karmendriyas (organs of action: speech, hands, legs, genitals, anus) and manas (the external mind) all work together. Vrttis (mental activities) are active: pramana (correct understanding), viparyaya (misperception), vikalpa (imagination) and smrtti (memory).
  2. svapna (dream state) – jnanedriyas (sense organs), karmendriyas (organs of action) become inactive and manas remains active. Vikalpa and smrtti may be experienced in a dream.
  3. sushupti (deep or dreamless sleep) – jnanedriyas (sense organs), karmendriyas (organs of action) and manas all become inactive. Pramana, viparyaya, vikalpa and smrtti are absent.
  4. turiya (super-consciousness) – all vrttis are transcended. The Self abides in itself.
Sleep enough & well

Sleep enough & well

INSPIRATIONAL PERSON     This week’s sutra is unrelated to the beautiful person I chose to write about here (though she does fall asleep in unusual places and at unique times). Millie and I have known each other since Kindergarten (well, my second attempt at Kindergarten). We grew up together and have been super close friends since then. Life has put us oceans apart for the last 13 years, yet just two days ago we were chatting on the phone as if there was no physical distance between us.

The feeling of being with someone who knows me so well, cares for me and makes me feel loved is priceless! Millie does not only give me lot’s of love, but she is an honest, reflective, extremely creative and fun-loving person to be with.

I love this woman so much! Millie, thank you for the decades of friendship, the lighthearted moments, the dark moments, and everything in between!

Do you have any experiences you would like to share? Please interact as much as you like – everyone will learn from your personal experiences!

Thanks and we will look at deep smrtti/memory next week!

47 thoughts on “Sutra I.10 – Chapter I, Sutra 10

  1. I love nidra! Deep sleep is so important. I always say that I am an 8 hour a night woman! I don’t feel that I am truly myself wo a good night sleep. The opportunity to rest the mind and be in a tamastic state of meditation gives me balance in my rajastic lifestyle.. I have had trouble with nidra in the past due to avidya…when my mind won’t shut off due to the thoughts which result from the ego and fear. The need to control…even when we sleeo! Thankfully I have learned to let go over the years and sleep very well these days. My yoga practice definitely contributes to this result. I’ve also witnessed in my family how too much sleep leads to too much tamas and can lead to lack of energy or depression. Its all about balance! I’m so thankful for my yoga journey which teaches me

    • Your words are insightful: we need nidra, but in the right amounts, and what is “right” for me is not necessarily right for you. Or, what is right for me today may not be necessarily right for me tomorrow…”The only constant in life is change”.

  2. Deep sleep is very important to me and my family, I notice how impatient I can become without proper sleep. But on the other hand I used to sleep my days away in high school, I kind of wish I was more active at that time in my life.

    • Hi Stacy, yes, it’s like food, water, air…we all need those things in appropriate quantities: too much or too little of them is detrimental. The key is staying aware of how much we need at different times of our life.

  3. Nidra definitely affects my personality. I think it affects me more in the sense that I’m unhappy with my job and get very bored very often. So, if I don’t get the proper amount of good deep sleep at night, I get into the habit of drinking energy drinks everyday which are horrible for you. This would definitely have more of a klishta affect on me, not that I’m falling asleep on the job, but because I’m putting all of these toxins into my body just to stay awake at work.

    • Hey Daniel:, in yoga that is the rajas-tamas cycle which many of us are stuck in some way. We don’t sleep enough – so we take extra caffeine – so we don’t sleep enough ….

  4. Deep sleep is very important to me. I will at least 8 hours to feel refreshed and when i dont, I can tell that my body has less energy than normal. If I dont get at least 7 or 8 hours, I become dependent on coffee to help me get through the day, which is not what I want. i started to drink green tea so I can caffeine that way, but sometimes I need something stronger. I don’t like to drink coffe and want something more natural for my body, like tea, but its not strong enough sometimes.

    • Filling life with prana is a challenge sometimes. We get it through sleep, and lack of it definitely does not help. How can we change our lifestyles to ensure we are getting appropriate amounts of prana?

  5. my friends always laugh bc I calculate my sleep and leave hangouts for my bath/bed ritual..but now I see Ive always been on the right track😉

  6. I have always had a complicated relationship with deep sleep, always either getting too much or too little, and experiencing the effects that follow. I’m beginning to realize how deeply this has affected my life up to this point, pulling all nighters, sleeping all day, and the like. I realize that nidra is a necessary part of life and good health, and too much or too little is totally detrimental. It is a klishta for me, and something I am working on changing. Recently I have tried implementing a sleep schedule where I go to sleep at roughly a certain time each night and wake up at roughly a certain time each morning. I find that I feel better, especially when I start my day earlier! Aside from my sleep habits, I have always been fascinated with deep sleep as a phenomena and really believe that there is a sort of transcendence that occurs in nidra. The body and the prakriti surrenders to silence, and to purusa. What an amazing thing!

  7. Pingback: New Years Resolutions 18 days in | THE YOGA FILES

  8. I have always loved sleep. A friend’s mom once told me I should create a seminar on how to sleep anywhere, anytime. All jokes aside, I value sleep so much that I can certainly tell that I tend to dream more when my mind is agitated. I actually remember having these incredibly frightening and vivid nightmares when I was very sick in high school. In my opinion, sleep is way undervalued in our society… especially in the subset of that world in which I currently exist: college. Just because your body is more resilient now than it may be later in life does not mean you should deprive it of sleep, but too many of my peers complain to me about being “so tired.” It has actually become a stock response to “How are you?” Almost as common as “Pretty good, you?” After reading about this sutra, not that it is a competition, but I am curious what deprivation has done to my peers and what their ratio of svapna to nidra is compared to my own (as someone who tends to get quite a bit of sleep).

  9. Ever since I began working full time I truly value sleep. As a student I didn’t put much importance on it. I would stay up late at night to study for exams and then wake up early to keep studying before I would race to class. It never seemed to bother me and I often functioned pretty well on four or five hours of sleep. Now, I rarely go to bed later than 10 PM. Sometimes I feel slightly ridiculous, but I know that the next day I will be able to wake up, hit the gym, and have a productive work day. On the days that I decide to go out for drinks with friends, I am normally a zombie the next day. I have also found that in the winter months I can fight off a cold simply by eating more fruits and veggies and sleeping. I don’t dream very often, most of my sleep is very nidra but when I do dream I normally wake up feeling unsettled because they are so vivid.

  10. Sleep is very important to me. I’ve found that I can’t function without 8 hours, on a consistent schedule (i.e. going to bed around the same time each night). When my schedule is thrown off due to work or social outings, I find myself exhausted and foggy; I feel like I make poor decisions on what to eat as well, which results into a negative cycle (drinking caffeine too late in the day, resulting in poor sleep, which means more caffeine the next day). Having sleep as a priority, even if it means leaving a party early, has really helped me feel better.

  11. I’ve always been someone that has enjoyed sleeping – it is a way for me to recharge my body, brain and in someways straighten out my anandamaya. When I get seven to eight hours of sleep a night I can really feel the recharge happening within my entire being….anything less (more than one night in a row) and well…yeah I’m usually exhausted the next day, in a bad mood, eat poorly and become more sensitive and emotional. I then don’t end up doing the things I want to when I leave the office because it’s zapped all my energy…then I feel like a lazy bum, etc, etc, etc. It just causes a vicious cycle of negativity around me. So, to keep that from happening, I try to always get a good night’s sleep each night. And on the occasions I’m out enjoying life past 10pm, I make sure I can either sleep longer the next morning or get into bed earlier the next night.

  12. I have noticed in the past year that sleep has become more of a necessity. If I don’t put myself to bed around 11 or 12, my body starts to shut down anyway as if to say “Hey! I’m exhausted!” This overwhelming feeling helps me tell people I need to go to bed but sometimes it is disappointing (like on weekend nights when my friends want to stay out late and have a good time). I imagine it can also appear rude at times because my eyes literally can’t stay open! I need to be more honest with myself earlier (before this point) and also just allow myself more downtime overall so I don’t get so drained. I will work on this but it’s hard because there are so many fun things I want to do! I also slept a lot in highschool (too much, it was my favorite thing) so I feel like I missed out on a lot. I will strive to find a balance between that and stretching myself to the point of exhaustion.

  13. Nidra is one of the most practical tools that I have gained from my yoga practice. From a young age I have struggled with falling asleep, bad dreams, and exhaustion. I have a very hard time calming my mind for sleep when I am stressed out. I especially remember how hard it was to fall asleep when I was in high school – It was my sophomore year, I was in the double honors program, I had to wake up @5:30am to get to school on time and I had 5+ hours of homework every night. This meant that I was getting less than 6 hours of sleep every night, I was incredibly stressed out, I was depressed, had no energy and my body was telling me this through weekly migraines, sinus infections, and panic attacks. I was extremely tired but when I would finally fall asleep I had horrible dreams, I would feel like I was suffocating and my body would twitch and shake against my control. As a 15-16 year old this terrified me and when I lost a close friend of mine a few weeks later things only got worse. After a few months of this high anxiety and depression I decided I needed to do something and luckily I found yoga. I attended different group classes and stumbled into a few yoga nidra classes. The yoga nidra technique was so calming and relieving I learned how to let go of my troubles and fall asleep peacefully. I can now happily say that I have a deep appreciation and very healthy relationship with sleep.

  14. Sleeping well, and creating the conditions that enable that, is very important to me. Indeed it brings physical and psychological benefits.

  15. My first experience with Nidra was absolutely fantastic, scary and almost impossible to get into at the same time. I have such a hard time with letting go and my monkey mind tends to run around and pace itself and keep throwing thoughts all over the place. I couldn’t lie down completely still, all of the sudden everything itched, everything was twitching and even the air seemed dense. My second experience was during teacher training. The experience begun similarly but slowly I was accepting that it was ok to let go and I felt drifting further and further away from my body. Before I knew it, I can safely safe my mind was in a different state. I don’t remember much, I suppose you’re not supposed to, but I do remember what happened right before I slipped into a different state. I remember my body felt heavy, as if it was sinking and melting on the hardwood floor and everything seemed somehow disconnected, as if I was an spectator of what was happening around not an active participant. I could see distinct colors and almost different shapes and landscapes but my eyes were closed and it didn’t look familiar or like a memory, it felt more like I was truly seeing this, somehow.

    Moments later, perhaps almost an hour later, my body suddenly jolted its way back onto itself, the eye pillows had given me a slight rash and the itching must have woken me up. I felt so relaxed, at peace and above all empty, but empty in a good way. Empty as in light, almost feather-like, like my body needed to be weightless for the universe to move me where I needed to go.
    Since that experience I have been trying to incorporate more of a nidra practice but I still need to learn how to effectively control my mind in order to let my subtle body take over.

  16. I have a love/hate relationship with sleep. Or should I say, sleep has a love/hate relationship with me. I am a night owl, always have been and always will – it’s just who I am. I love staying up until the wee hours of the night, getting things done and crossed off my list. That said, I have a very hard time shutting off my mind and letting myself go to bed and rest. I am pushing 30 and still stay up until midnight or 1am doing, well, who the hell knows?! I used to be able to survive on 6 hours of sleep, but I am starting to finally feel the effects of lack of nidra. I have started a night time ritual before going to bed, which prepares me for sleep. I get ready for bed, drink a cup of sleepy time tea, read my book and meditate. This has definitely allowed me to shut off my brain and allow myself to recharge. I also believe that sleep is undervalued in our society. I think sleep, diet and health need to be valued more in school and the workplace. If sleep, diet and health are aligned, then someone is much more productive and efficient, leading to better results at school or in the workplace.

  17. I appreciate sleep a lot. I am an extremely hard working women with two jobs, volunteering hours, training for a marathon doing teacher training, and soon to be starting graduate school. All on top of trying to keep my 24 year old social life balanced. in other words, sleep is important to me. By the end of the day I am exhausted and my bed is the best place I can think of being. I sleep well and I fall asleep easy. I can definitely say if I do not get the right amount I am a little cranky the next day. In terms of nidra I love it. I feel like from start to finish of my sleep cycle I am in a dreamless state. I wake up refreshed ready to start my day. I barely ever remember having dreams. Which I think may be a little weird but maybe I just actually do sleep in a nidra state for most of the night. Thanks to a solid night of sleep I am able to be energized to work for my passions and dreams.

  18. It’s interesting to me how my sleep patterns are beginning to change just in the past year. In my teenage years to my early twenties, I think I had an excess of Nidra, I could sleep for 12+ hours, sleep past noon even if the day allowed. I would even at times get a “sleep hang over”, the kind where you’re exhausted because you’ve had too much sleep. Now my body wants to wake up at 7:00, 8:00 am tops. This has shifted my bedtime habits, and I’m slowly shift from someone who couldn’t go to bed before midnight to someone who gets into PJ’s around 9:30 during the week. I’m surprised how much I love it, and how much better I feel in the morning when I am able to get to bed early. But it is quite a bummer on weekends when I’m wanting to stay out late with friends, but start craving my bed before midnight🙂

  19. I read somewhere recently that scientists have discovered that dreaming is a function of your brain flushing toxins, that have accumulated during your waking hours, out of your body. I love the experience of dreaming, but I also appreciate that the state of nidra is a deep, restorative, and necessary state of mind – maybe it’s a “place” that we have to learn how to access, and to provide a pathway to it, through becoming aware of the connectedness between body and mind.

  20. Oh, sleep. How I wish I could have more of you! Sleep is something that has eluded me throughout the past six years, both by choice and not by choice. I come from a family of restless sleepers who don’t typically sleep through the night. I myself am a light sleeper who cannot sleep with the TV on, and wakes up with sunlight coming into my room or even traffic noise from outside. I have also been on and off medication that affects my quality of sleep. I do have a sweet tooth and sometimes cannot help but indulge in chocolate or soda before bed, even though I know it will keep me awake at night.
    My restless sleeping is kind of a blessing in that once my apartment was robbed at night while I was there, and I woke up right away when I sensed someone in my space and was able to scare the robber off and prevent harm to myself. It’s a curse in that I feel like I cannot just conk out whenever or wherever I want to, such as on an airplane or even in my own bed when I’m really tired. Over this past summer though, I have noticed that I am starting to sleep more deeply. The more physical asana I do, the less stressed and worried I am, and the better I eat, the better I sleep. I definitely notice a dramatic change in my mood when I don’t sleep well. I have seen firsthand how quality sleep really helps me keep a positive mindset and gives me the energy to accomplish all my daily tasks.

  21. Reaching a state of nidra is difficult for me when I can’t settle my mind. Stress interrupts states of deep sleep for me. I know this and yet I still have trouble figuring out a way to reach that state when I am stressed. I guess this yoga journey for me is partly about trying to manage the different life stressors that inevitably occur in all out lives and be able to find that nidra state when I need it.

  22. I’ve also found that once I developed a more intense asana practice my sleeping habits have improved. I find that I am sleeping lighter, but my narcoleptic habits of falling sleeping nearly ANYWHERE have passed… Thank goodness.

    I had my first experience with a nidra practice this summer when I was at Dharma Mittra’s workshop here in the city. We set aside an hour for nidra, and I LOVED it. Once one can master the discipline of physical stillness, the practice of mental stillness becomes feasible. For what I believe to be a decent amount of time, I was able to let go of my body consciousness and be in a hazy, dreamless “sleep” state. It was far more rejuvenating hour nidra than any conventional nap🙂

  23. I can say I have experience nidra countless times and will almost every night/day in my future. Without nidra I feel lost, groggy, exhausted, and week all the time. Nidra is a must have of mine when it comes to rejuvenating purusa. I can say I don’t recall experiencing the 4th state of mind consciously as there are no outside forces that act on the mind at this time, explaining my lack of recognition. I do enjoy nidra when much needed, but i should be incorporating extra time with it as well. I feel as if that would help me in the long run.

  24. I have been sick lately and some of it is from being sleep deprived along with the weather fluctuation. As I sleep more, I feel the difference in my body. Remembering how beneficial sleep is for my health both physical & mental

  25. Deep sleep (Nidra) can be such a gift. I think there are many times when the mind is racing and it is difficult to achieve deep sleep. I find that my deep sleep mostly comes from pure exhaustion which is not very healthy. I actually stayed home from work yesterday and slept for 14 hours because I was so tired from a long weekend and having to work early the next day.

    That being said, there are times when I feel I have my life more “in order” and I am able to sleep with ease. It is these times that I truly treasure. I treasure when my deep sleep comes from a place of realization and contentment. I guess the goal would be to find these times in my life more often and to really notice how I got there and what I can do to maintain that feeling.

  26. Deep sleep is indeed very important for me. I usually have 7-8 hrs a day in addtion to a quick nap 30-45 mins after work. During my sleep, i was able to get rid of any stress from work or relationship, and fantasize about better things that could happen. And sometimes, fantasized dreams convert to reality (or at least i try to make it happen). Deep sleep helps me relax, calms and refreshes my mind. There is really no limit during my sleep, i can travel to any where i want and do anything i like. I feel more energized and ready to take on new tasks if i get enough sleep. Of course, it helps too if i sleep next to my partner so we both could cultivate from some healthy cuddling🙂

  27. I found out how important (nida) is during my 40’s. I had some of the craziest dreams when I was running on empty. I noticed my dreams all were basicly about the same issues. They just worked themselves out different and crazier. When I slowed down things became clearer.
    CC

  28. I have some of my best ideas or thoughts first thing in the morning. I have always devoted that concept to caffeine but after reading this, I wonder if sleep allows my mind to process what is going on?! I used to be someone that would make split decisions that I would later look on and go, wow….I should have thought on that a little longer. Then I decided that these decisions I was making were pretty big, so I would “sleep on it” and ever since, I have a better space to decision make. This was an interesting one for me…thank you!~

  29. There is no future or past in deep sleep. Deep sleep is only present state. Maybe that is why I am more productive in the morning. At night it takes me 2x’s longer to do something than if I did it in the morning. Interesting!

  30. I am definitely a different person after more than 2 nights without deep restorative sleep. i’m crankier and lack patience. i need a few days of 9-10 hours of sleep mixed in with my normal 8 to be at my best. i have more energy and drive to accomplish things in the morning and early part of the day. my husband is the opposite, a night owl! it’s interesting though because in the last year or so he is realizing that he too needs more sleep than he used to to be at his best.

  31. I am a 8-9 hour of deep sleep girl. Not a morning person. I feel best when I wake up with my natural alarm clock in side of me. My mood for the day is tied closely to the quality of sleep. It is so important for me. I work through life in my sleep sometimes. I work out my stress and concerns. Some of my best ideas have come from great dreams.

  32. Deep sleep has always been a part of my nightly routine. I am so thankful to be able to say that there are VERY few times in my life, no matter how stressed or upset I’ve been, that I haven’t slept well. I am the type of person who falls asleep as soon as I decide to. I am thankful for my parents establishing a great bedtime routine and (pretty much) training me how to properly sleep from a young age by not allowing me to have a TV next to my bed, shutting off the lights completely, and not having any distractions.

    My boyfriend tends to be the opposite a lot of the times. He has a much harder time falling asleep, and in addition to that- staying asleep. This does negatively affect him in the morning and his productivity. Since I’ve started dating him, I think we’ve achieved a good routine before bed- and in some ways it has helped him.

    Nidra is essential to becoming the best version of yourself!

  33. Sleep is a gift. The ability to get deep sleep is not something that comes easily to me, in fact I feel like I wrestle with it sometimes. It seems to be directly connected to my ability to let go of stuff in my life. The healthier I feel, the better I sleep.

  34. Until I started regular birth work I did not realize how important a regular cycle of sleep was! I see so many people suffering from insomnia due to pain or worry. Perhaps yoga will help me help others to sleep better!

  35. I love learning about the relationship of our waking hours with our sleep. A few years ago, I’m embarassed to say, I used to experience such awful night terrors. I would wake up screaming! One night, I thought I saw a man above my bed so I ran out of my room and started banging on my roommates door so we could get out of there. As I’m banging on her door I realize, if there was really a man in our apartment wouldn’t he be out here right now? So needless to say I slipped back into my room and apologized to my roommate the next morning (it was actually within the first weeks of us living together so imagine how embarassed I was!). At the time I was stressed from starting grad school, moving to the city and trying to make positive changes in my life. I rarely got deep sleep and it was so difficult. My waking life affected my sleep with night terrors and then in turn my waking life was even more stressful without good sleep. It’s a vicious cycle. Luckily my sleep has gotten much better🙂 But I know myself – I’m just moments away from that stressful lifestyle full of night terrors and anxiety! I hope I can learn how to truly calm myself regardless of what’s happening around me!

  36. It took a long time to adjust, but working as a bar tender/manager I slept during the day and worked all night. However, sleeping during the day remained difficult (especially in Los Angeles where day time was beach time!). So after ten years of thin daytime sleep and a physically demanding job, I decided to make a huge change. I started teacher training, and on the second day I had to become acquainted with 8am again. It was so exciting that my body stayed awake and mostly engaged, but on Monday I slept like the dead. My body has adjusted its rhythms now, and I feel so much more stable and reliable. I still value my dreams, but to spend an entire night without tossing makes my mind function how I feel it is supposed to.

  37. A good night’s sleep makes everything so much better. When I go to sleep at a reasonable hour I am much more likely to start the next day making good choices, usually with yoga and a green smoothie. That makes me happier, more energetic and way more productive. Nothing worse than the stupor of sleep deprivation.

  38. The concept of Nidra is so hopeful to me. It gives me relief knowing that my mind does have opportunities (when I get a good night’s sleep) to become fully quiet and present. I often get so caught up worrying that my mind is always overactive. Even though I am not fully aware at this time of my body’s experience of Nidra, I trust that my mind does have the capacity to power down and restore itself. The beauty of Nidra in Yoga is that I can learn about ways to enter this Nidra state and give my mind a rest in more purposeful ways, rather than hoping/trusting that it happens in my sleep.

  39. I have always been a deep sleeper until the past year or so, and I can see how Nidra exists only in the absence of the other mental activities. However, I am curious about where worries and anxieties fit into the inability to achieve Nidra. My Nidra has been interrupted in the past year, not through misperceptions, or imagination, but actual stress factors that exist in my life. Are these considered misperceptions? Or memory + misperception?

  40. Funny, I am reading this for the second time, at bedtime. I feel my anxiety creep in when I don’t get enough sleep, or vice versa. What a wonderful gift to sleep. Interestingly I had surgery not too long ago and I find it incredible that, even thought chemically induced, the experience of being totally unconscious. Surgeons are cutting into your body, and you have no awareness of that… kind of blows me away. Can you do that in yoga? The closest I’ve come is when I do the natural oils, sesame oil and shower, then lavender before bed. So calming, and feeling great the next morning. Love it.

    • Modern technology is indeed amazing. And the surgery example is brilliant. Can we do that in yoga? Not sure. T. Krishnamacharya was said to consciously stop his heart beat. I don’t know what state he was in while doing that…

  41. Nidra, or deep, dreamless sleep, is something that has come much easier to me since yoga has entered my life. I learned how essential and healing such sleep can be after lacking it for so long in my life. I have a sleep disorder (sleep paralysis) which leaves your body paralyzed while your mind is still conscious and awake. This happens due to a miscommunication within the self, as the body enters a state of sleep before the mind. In a healthy person, the two would occur at the same time, allowing sleep to overcome the body and mind. I struggled for years with not only an inability to sleep well, but a fear to even attempt to sleep for long periods of time. The experience of sleep paralysis can undoubtedly be terrifying and made me question whether going to sleep was truly enjoyable and necessary. I begin to realize that the disconnect was perhaps because my mind was simply not ready to go to sleep, and so I began to search for ways to quiet my mind prior to attempting sleep. This is where yoga and meditation honestly became a life-saver. I was suffering from sleep deprivation, yet yoga and meditation helped to slow down my mind at night. While it still occurs at random times throughout my life, my sleep disorder has been contained and I can now enjoy and appreciate the deep sleep that nidra offers to the body and the mind.

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