Plenty of CEOs swear by meditation, but Google's chief executive likes to relax using a slightly lesser-known practice.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal this week, Sundar Pichai said he sometimes unwinds with the help of something called non-sleep deep rest, or NSDR, a term coined by Stanford neuroscience professor Andrew Huberman, who says it involves "self-inducing a state of calm" and "directing our focus to something."
"I found these podcasts which are non-sleep deep rest, or NSDRs," Pichai told the Journal. "So while I find it difficult to meditate, I can go to YouTube, find an NSDR video. They're available in 10, 20, or 30 minutes, so I do that occasionally."
According to Huberman, NSDR can help people relax, fall asleep more easily, reduce stress and anxiety, ease pain, and even accelerate learning. It's commonly achieved through two of what Huberman calls NSDR "protocols": yoga nidra and hypnosis.
The former involves lying flat on your back on the ground, typically with your eyes closed, and following guidance from an instructor, virtually or in-person, as they lead you through a number of activities, yoga nidra instructor Tracee Stanley told Insider.
In yoga nidra, you may be asked to scan for places of tension, focus on your breathing, bring your awareness to various parts of the body, or begin diaphragmatic breathing, all with the intention of "giving the mind something to focus on," Stanley says.
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