Academic Resources

It is always better to practice yoga nidra than to talk or read about it! But there are so many useful articles and books to deepen our analytical understanding of the practice, and to read these can be helpful. So here we have brought together many useful yoga nidra academic resources, articles to read, and research to consider.
We hope you find these academic resources helpful in your practice of yoga nidra, and if you know of other articles that you feel would be helpful to share here, please do let us know.

Multiple people sleeping in the yoga Academic Resources library room

Defining Yoga-Nidra: Traditional Accounts, Physiological Research, and Future Directions

This is a valuable read for anyone interested in yoga nidra. It was published in the US publication  International Journal of Yoga Therapy in 2013 [No 23 (1)] and is co-authored by Stephen Parker, Swami Veda Bharati (disciple of Swami Rama of the Himalayan Institute), and Manuel Fernandez. The article sets out some useful history and development of yoga nidra, as well as summarising some key research into the topic. The authors propose four different ‘levels’ of yoga nidra practice, including a fourth level (turiya) which has yet to be demonstrated under controlled conditions.  Interestingly, this article identifies Satyananda yoga nidra TM as ‘preliminary practices’ to yoga nidra, and also implies the possibility of ‘spontaneously arising’ states of yoga nidra which occur with practice. Certianly worth attention and discussion. 

Yoganidrā: an understanding of the history and context

We are delighted to be able to recommend this excellent history of yoganidra, both as a concept in the epic Indian literature and in the puranas, and in more contemporary developments. We applaud the intelligent scholarship of Dr Jason Birch and Jacqueline Hargreaves, and encourage anyone with an interest in the history of yoganidra to read their piece. This is now a set reading text for our yoganidra facilitator training courses.

Rolf Sovik on Yoga Nidra practice in the Himalayan tradition

The Himalayan Institute offer training in their form of Yoga Nidra, available through link below.

Psycho-Biological Changes with Add on Yoga Nidra in Patients with Menstrual Disorders:

a Randomized Clinical Trial. From the Journal of Caring Sciences. March 2016.

Autonomic Changes During "OM" Meditation

A study into the physiological effects of mentally chanting “OM” on a group of senior meditators.

Further research into yoga nidra as an antidote to stress

Kamakhya Kumar. 2010.‘Stress free life through yoga nidra.’ International Symposium on Yogism, December 2010.

An exploration of the meaning of sankalpa in relation to goal setting, with perspectives from a range of US practitioners and teachers…

Kelly McGonigal, ‘Inspired Intention: the nature of Sankalpa’, in Yoga International (Winter 2010-11) pp 44 – 49.

Yoga Nidra increases alpha waves

Indian study charting increase in alpha waves after practice of yoga nidra.  Kumar and Joshi (2009) Study on the effect of Pranakarshan Pranayama and Yoga Nidra on Alpha EEG and GSR in Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 8 (3): 453-54.

Short research paper on yoga nidra as a remedy for stress and anxiety…

Kamakhya Kumar. 2008. ‘A Study on the impact on stress and anxiety through Yoga Nidra’. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Vol. 7 (3) July 2008, pp. 401- 44.

Yoga nidra increases Dopamine levels

Troels W Kjaer et al (2002) Increased Dopamine tone during meditation-induced change of consciousness.

In Cognitive Brain Research 13 (2002) 255-259.

This Copenhagen study demonstrated the first in vivo association between levels of an endogenous neurotransmitter (dopamine) and conscious experience: yoga nidra practice increased dopamine release by 65%. This is the first evidence at a synaptic level of the capacity to regulate conscious states and has wide relevance.

Swami Satyananda on the origins and development of his approach to yoga nidra:

“The practice of yoga nidra is very old. You can still find references to it in the tantric texts. However, I have revised this ancient tantric teaching and brought it into practice. Yoga nidra is intended to use the mind to transcend the mind. Somehow I discovered that yoga nidra was beneficial for my own personality, and then I saw that it would also be useful for spiritually minded people, especially in the beginning. Of course, I had no mental or physical problems as such, but everybody has spiritual problems. Therefore, I discovered yoga nidra for myself in order to solve my spiritual problems”.

Swami Satyananda Saraswati: Talk at the First International Yoga Convention, Bihar School of Yoga, November 5, 1964, originally printed in YOGA, Vol. 3, No. 2, 1965.

A Basic Introduction to Yoga Nidra by Sophia Lorenn

An exploration of yoga nidra as yogic conscious deep sleep

Swami Jnaneshwara Bharati offers perspectives from the tradition of the Himalayan masters,

For further detals of Swami Jnaneshwara Bharati’s writings and recordings of yoga nidra.

iRest Yoga Nidra Research Projects and Newsletters

This is a useful page of research links for studies of various therapeutic applications of the i-rest yoga nidra protocol developed by Richard Miller. There are also a selection of other general research papers on yoga nidra from other traditions and other approaches. The i-rest newsletter archive offers some inspiring short articles, reflections and useful research summaries relating to yoga nidra in general as well as to this specific protocol.

Scandinavian School of Yoga and Meditation

Perspectives on Yoga Nidra from the Scandinavian School of Yoga and Meditation

Swami Janakanda, disciple of Swami Satyananda, pioneered yoga nidra in northern europe with his iconic Experience Yoga Nidra recordings. There are articles from the Scandinavian School of Yoga and meditation magazine Bindu here, about yoga nidra and other topics of interest

Yoga Nidra as Yogic Conscious Deep Sleep, further perspectives from the Himalayan tradition

Swami Jnaneshwara Bharati, a disciple of Swam Rama of the Himalayan tradition, shares his thoughts on the origins and development of yoga nidra, and argues that many of those approaches to yoga nidra currently popular are not in fact yoga nidra at all. He sets out his arguments here.

​​And he also offers yoga nidra CDs and practices to listen to.

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