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Daring to rest™:
THE MINDFUL WRITER
A 21-day yoga nidra journey to help women rest, write, and unleash creativity
May 6 - MAY 26
I know you’re having a hard time finding the energy to work on creative projects.
I know you’re chugging your second iced coffee and are tired from your toddler waking up twice last night.
I know you’re getting home from work, feeling like you don’t have energy for the people you love.
You’re on autopilot—craving more, but feeling stuck.
I see you there, worn-out writer. I’ve been bone-tired, too.
But there’s a way out: rest.
My Yoga Nidra Story
Hi, I’m Nicole Gulotta. As a Daring to Rest™ facilitator, I guide other women to feel both rested in their bodies and tapped into creative potential, too. I’m an author, tea enthusiast, mother, and just like you, I’m figuring things out as I go.
Not long ago, I was a worn-out writer.
My son was two-years-old, I was working full-time, and I’d just spent six months promoting my first book. I was tired, and felt like I wasn’t showing up as the best version of myself to anything. Can you relate?
That’s when I discovered yoga nidra. I’d tried meditation apps, and even made it to an in-person class occasionally, yet nothing stuck. But a yoga nap I could do in bed? I had no idea how much of a difference it would make.
Yoga nidra quickly became an indispensable tool, as essential as a notebook and favorite pen. And this question is what convinced me I had nothing to lose by giving yoga nidra a try: What if everything you thought about rest was wrong?
Reading in bed, watching movies, and meeting a friend for coffee are all relaxing activities, but they keep your eyes open and your mind stimulated. They’re not helping you rest at the deepest level you need to feel restored.
Choosing rest—the kind of rest that yoga nidra can help you access—means you’ll have more energy to write, and you can bring clarity of mind to the page.
This hadn’t occurred to me before, not until I heard author Karen Brody talking about the differences between relaxation and rest on a podcast.
“Rest is not active. To rest is to surrender from the active, the goals, and the will to achieve something. Activities like going on a bike ride keep you focused on your outer world. Rest invites you to experience the gentle exchange between your outer world and inner world.”
—Karen Brody, Daring to Rest
Turns out, I needed less Netflix and more rest.
If it sounds indulgent, it’s not. Rest is necessary for your soul, for your creativity, for your life.
Before you can write, you need to rest.
What Is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga nidra is a sleep-based style of meditation. Something that sets it apart from conventional meditation is the use of an intention, a heartfelt hope to help orient you in the direction you’d like to go. Intentions help you release old patterns, root you to the work you’re putting into the word, and support you in your waking life, too.
A yoga nidra meditation uses techniques like breath work and guided visualization to help you ease into brainwave states where deep rest can be achieved.
Unlike a regular nap where your body and mind completely shut down, a yoga nidra nap invites you to stay awake, which means those intentions can be planted like a seed and fully absorbed by your subconscious mind and eventually, start to believe they’re actually true, leading to greater confidence, contentment, and connection with who you are at the core.
There are no poses to learn, and you’re supported by a soothing voice the entire time. The only thing you need to do is lie down and rest. That’s it!
If you’ve ever tried traditional, seated meditation and had a hard time sticking with it (hand raised!), you’ll love how nurturing yoga nidra feels to practice, and how easy it is to integrate into your weekly routine.
When I started my yoga nidra journey, I simply wanted to feel less tired, but quickly realized the creative benefits, too.
General benefits of yoga nidra:
More balanced concentration
Melatonin, serotonin, and oxytocin released
Reduced worry and stress
Deep muscle relaxation
Creative benefits of yoga nidra:
Greater confidence in your voice
Clarity surrounding your ideas
Releasing old habits and patterns holding you back (e.g. self-doubt, fear)
Planting project seeds and setting intentions to support them
Accessing brain states where creativity can flourish
The Mindful Writer
The Mindful Writer is a 21-day AUDIO program to help transform you from a worn-out writer to a well-rested writer.
The basics of yoga nidra meditation
How to craft a heartfelt intention to use during meditations
How to release blocks, fears, and self-doubt
Tips for maintaining a realistic yoga nidra routine after the course ends
4 audio meditations (plus 2 bonuses!)
Guidance via email, the Facebook group, and writing prompts
More energy to channel into your writing
Connection with other women on the journey
MODULE 1: INTENTIONS
Set up your space, get to know the basics of yoga nidra, and create your first heartfelt intention.
Yoga Nidra 101
Decoding Soul Whispers
Making Space for Yoga Nidra
Intention Setting Meditation (15 minutes)
MODULE 3: RELEASE
Go deeper and learn techniques to help release self-doubt, fear, and other writerly ailments that can hold us back.
Releasing Old Stories
Myths and Realities
Release Meditation (30 minutes)
MODULE 2: REST
To make space for creativity, we start by shedding the layers of physical exhaustion you’ve been carrying around.
The Rest Revolution
Koshas and Power Centers
Rest Meditation (20 minutes)
MODULE 4: RISE
It’s time to set your sights on stories, projects, dreams, and unleash creativity in new ways.
Habits of the Mindful Writer
Rise Meditation (40 minutes)
How is yoga nidra different from regular meditation?
Think of it this way: if the mind were an ocean, conventional meditation is like snorkeling, and yoga nidra is like scuba diving. In a seated meditation, you practice the art of awareness—noticing thoughts without judgement. Yoga nidra asks you to lie down, where you’re guided to set an intention, then follow various techniques like visualizations and body awareness to drop into deeper brain wave states, ultimately arriving at a deeply restful place where your body’s asleep but your mind remains awake.
How is this different from other types of brainstorming or freewriting sessions?
So different! Brainstorming and freewriting sessions occur in a wakeful state, when the mind is fully active. Yoga nidra is a guided meditation experience that leads you to deeper brainwave states to help your body and mind feel rested and restored—you won’t be doing any writing while you’re doing a yoga nidra meditation.
How does this program differ from other yoga nidra meditations?
Great question! One of the things that sets yoga nidra apart from regular meditation is the use of an intention—a short, positive statement in the direction you’d like to grow. The Mindful Writer is based on Karen Brody’s framework for yoga nidra called Daring to Rest. In addition to using intentions, her program also includes soul whispers (little clues and messages to help inform your intention), and follows a three-part sequence: rest, release, and rise. I trained in her Daring to Rest Academy in order to create The Mindful Writer, which follows the same path but is specifically tailored to meet the needs of women writers grappling with self-doubt, worthiness, low energy, and the desire to tap into creative reserves to bring their stories and projects into the world.
How can yoga nidra help support my capacity to focus?
Science tells us that deep sleep is one of the best ways to boost your brain. That’s because when you rest (and are hanging out in brain wave states like delta and theta) your brain has a chance to replenish itself, leaving you feeling more clear headed and alert when you wake up.
The study linked above says “since the brain is actively working all the hours when one’s awake, after certain time, the sleep neurons start to get tired. This affects the brain in many ways including trouble concentrating, difficulty focusing, and having trouble remembering.” That means a practice like yoga nidra—which helps you access those deep stages of sleep your body and mind need to refuel—can help you bring more alertness to your waking life, including the page.
A 2007 study also reported that meditation may help increase attention spans. (One simple way to focus more is also to reevaluate how many projects you’re working on at any given time, and shifting your expectations surrounding them!
What if I fall asleep during yoga nidra?
Falling asleep during yoga nidra is totally normal! It often happens more at the beginning, when you’re shedding deep layers of fatigue. I’m a believer that your body knows what it needs. If you fall asleep, you needed it. There will be plenty of other sessions when you stay alert, so just go with the flow.
I barely have time to write. How can I add one more thing to my to-do list?
I totally get this! At first it might seem counterintuitive to choose a 30-minute yoga nidra meditation instead of a writing session, but if you’ve ever tried writing when you’re not energized, you know it can be less fruitful. I’ve found that prioritizing yoga nidra throughout the week enables me to bring more clarity, focus, and energy to the times when I do write. Being well-rested means you’re better able to be receptive in your waking life. And since—according to Mary Oliver—the writer’s job is to “pay attention, be astonished, write about it.” When we lie down to practice yoga nidra we’re supporting both our minds and bodies to better observe the world around us in our waking life, and then bring that awareness to the page.
What’s the best way to practice yoga nidra to maximize your writing time?
I’m so glad you asked! There are a few different ways to approach it. When you’re first starting out with yoga nidra, I actually recommend practicing as regularly as possible without trying to tie it into your writing practice. You’re building a habit at this point, and learning how yoga nidra affects your body. After some time, then you can experiment, like doing a quick 15-minute session before you sit down to write, or doing a longer session specifically when you’ve encountered a creative roadblock (sort of like the rest version of taking a walk to let your brain relax). Overall, I’ve found that doing yoga nidra any time I’m able has a significant impact on my creativity simply because I’m showing up to the page more rested, alert, and energized.
I’ve never meditated before. Is this a good program for me?
Before I started yoga nidra, I’d flirted with a couple of meditation apps but nothing ever stuck. I had a hard time sitting up and observing my thoughts. (My mind is usually in problem-solving mode and prepping for my next to-do list.) But yoga nidra makes it so easy! It shuts down your body to rest while inviting your mind to stay alert so you can plant the seeds of your intentions. I find the guidance of a voice helps me stay in the present moment, rather than focused on my thoughts. It takes practice, but the more you do it, the easier it’ll become!
How much time should I commit to making yoga nidra a daily habit?
The Mindful Writer program is 21-days because it’s believed that’s how long it takes to form a habit. In an ideal world, you’ll practice every day during the course to help this habit form BUT don’t be hard on yourself about it! If you miss a day, or choose to do one of the shorter meditations instead of the longer session, always do what works for you. At a bare minimum, you’ll be practicing yoga nidra for 15 minutes per day, progressively working up to longer sessions (30 to 40 minutes). After the program, you can make a plan that fits your life. (Just as an example, I practice an average of 3 to 4 times per week.)
A note on trauma and safety
Many women who have experienced trauma at some point in their life—whether physical or emotional—find yoga nidra empowering. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with themselves, and to feel calm and at peace.
That being said, of course there’s always a risk of something being triggered. In The Mindful Writer program, we focus on your creative life. The meditations won’t be asking you to revisit past traumatic experiences—only creative challenges you’ve encountered, like when you might have received a rejection letter or had a scathing workshop experience—with the intention of releasing them. Yoga nidra is normally a very safe practice, and you have the option of using a touchstone to help you feel grounded. However, only you can know if you’re physically and mentally prepared to go inward. If you feel like this experience might trigger you, please tread lightly and get the help you need to heal.
If you’re someone who encounters difficult emotions rising up, one thing that might help is to imagine a safe space in your mind before starting the meditation. This can be a quiet place in nature, or a spot in your home, or even an imagined place that makes you feel calm. This is a place you can go during yoga nidra meditations, if you need it. You can also practice with a touchstone that you can feel during the meditation, anytime you feel uneasy or need to feel grounded.
Disclaimer: By taking any Daring to Rest™: The Mindful Writer program you understand that: yoga nidra meditation is not a medical practice and facilitators are not medically trained. Although there are no known contra-indications to doing this work, it’s strongly advised that anyone with medical concerns should consult their regular practitioner. If you’ve experienced or are currently experiencing severe trauma, it’s best to consult with your doctor or support team before starting a yoga nidra practice. It doesn’t replace any therapy or medication with licensed medical practitioners.