Using Yoga Nidra to reduce PTSD symptoms

Using Yoga Nidra to reduce PTSD symptoms

Yoga nidra or ‘yogic sleep’ is an ancient but little-known yogic practice that’s becoming increasingly popular as both a form of meditation and a mind-body therapy for PTSD sufferers.

The guided technique induces a complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation through guided meditation – you are neither asleep nor awake and similarly, you are not concentrating nor hypnotised. As such, unlike exercise-based yogas, yoga nidra’s health benefits are more closely akin to those of meditation practices.

The simple five-stage process of yoga nidra begins with a body scan to engage the physical body, and incorporates meditation on the breath, the balancing of emotional states, visualization, and self-healing.

It’s a deceptively simple practice and so is appealing to people who might feel intimidated by yoga postures or traditional seated meditation.

Yoga nidra is performed lying down, typically lasts for 35 to 40 minutes at a time and is said to be as restorative as 3 hours of sleep. Practitioners say that it often brings immediate physical benefits, such as reduced stress and better sleep, but most importantly for those with PTSD, research shows that it has the potential to heal psychological wounds.

Jacqui Suttie, founder of PTSD UK initially practised yoga nidra to replace some of the sleep she was missing as a result of hypervigilance, ‘I felt an instant flow of energy after a yoga nidra session – I found it easier to replace the sleep I was missing at night with a yoga nidra practise during the day as my hypervigilance didn’t allow me to nap during the day either. I found it easier to practise alone, but knowing that my husband was in the room next door allowed me relax more fully.’

There are many different approaches to the practice, and each has its own value and purpose, but all yoga nidra represents a state in which an individual demonstrates all the symptoms of deep, non-REM sleep, including alpha, beta and delta brain waves (delta waves are most consistent with deep non-REM sleep, alpha waves indicate deep physical relaxation, and beta waves suggest alert functioning of the waking state.)

Yoga nidra can be considered as a highly effective practice for reducing stress and more general PTSD symptoms.

A great example of a guided yoga nidra can be found here: Listen Now


IMAGE: Samathi by Natesh Ramasamy

SOURCES: Defining Yoga-Nidra: Traditional Accounts, Physiological Research, and Future Directions, Stephen Parker, PsyD,, Swami Veda Bharati, DLitt,Manuel Fernandez, PhD6, The Luminescent, 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., Heal You First, Yoga Journal, Boston Globe, 5809 Yoga,

Isle of Wight Challenge for PTSD UK

events | walk or run Isle of Wight Challenge 25km, 50km & 100km Sign up now Isle of Wight Challenge The challenge Great challenges need great settings – and few are better than the Island’s stunning coastal path. Up to

Read More »

Case Study: CBT Treatment – Holly

Case Study: CBT Treatment – Holly Holly developed PTSD after seeing her Dad who received fatal crush injuries. Following intense flashbacks and intrusive memories, she started CBT treatment which allowed her to become free from the effects of PTSD within

Read More »

PTSD UK joins #GivingTuesday 2021

PTSD UK joins #GivingTuesday 2021, the global day of generosity taking place on 30 November PTSD UK is thrilled to announce that we’re one of the thousands of organisations taking part in this year’s #GivingTuesday campaign, to be held on

Read More »

Post Natal PTSD: Sian’s Story

Post Natal PTSD: Sian’s Story It has long been recognised that following a difficult childbirth or pregnancy some people may go on to develop psychological problems. However, it is only relatively recently that it has become accepted that they can

Read More »

Are you looking to fundraise for PTSD UK?

THANK YOU!!  We are a small charity so our main goals at the moment are to increase awareness that we exist (so people can get the support and information they need) and to maximise fundraising to allow us to achieve our mission of supporting everyone in the UK affected by PTSD, no matter the trauma that caused it.