Exploring the uses of yoga nidra: An integrative review

Author: Susan Musto1, April Hazard Vallerand1
1 College of Nursing, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA.
Conference/Journal: J Nurs Scholarsh
Date published: 2023 Jul 25
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1111/jnu.12927. , Word Count: 349

The purpose of this paper was to review and synthesize published research articles that have utilized yoga nidra as an intervention.

Yoga nidra is a form of guided meditation that has emerged in the literature in the past two decades as an intervention for a variety of medical conditions such as stress and mental health. It differs from traditional yoga, in that it does not require yoga poses. It is a noninvasive, cost-effective approach that is also easily accessible so it can be done in the privacy and comfort of the home.

The integrative review methodology by Whittemore and Knafl (2005) provided the framework for this review.

The databases CINAHL, PubMed, SCOPUS, and PsycINFO were used to search for articles. Inclusion criteria consisted of journal articles in English with no limitations on dates of publication. Studies were excluded if any form of traditional yoga requiring poses was used as an intervention. Also excluded were all types of meditation that were not yoga nidra, systematic reviews, studies that utilized multiple intervention types (i.e., traditional yoga and yoga nidra), and commentaries/brief reports. Twenty-nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Quality appraisal was completed for each study.

The 29 studies that were reviewed consisted of 12 randomized controlled trials, 13 quasi-experimental studies, 3 mixed-methods studies, and 1 qualitative study. Outcome variables were categorized according to themes and results were systemically synthesized and reported by theme: (a) stress, (b) mood, (c) well-being, (d) psychologic dysfunction, (e) biomarkers, (f) sleep, and (g) miscellaneous.

Yoga nidra was found to be effective in most of these studies. However, there was some clinical heterogeneity in the sample populations and intervention session lengths, frequencies, and durations, making it difficult to draw conclusions about yoga nidra intervention based solely on the findings presented in this review. More studies are needed overall, particularly ones with larger sample sizes and stronger experimental designs.

Clinical relevance:
Yoga nidra has the potential to be a useful, noninvasive, nonpharmacologic treatment or adjunct for a variety of conditions, particularly mental health.

Keywords: anxiety; depression; iRest; integrative review; intervention; stress; yoga nidra.

PMID: 37489597 DOI: 10.1111/jnu.12927