yoga meditation and philosophy with Lynn
Establishing Restful Sleep
There are several things that help with sleep problems. Some are lifestyle and just common sense – don’t eat too late in the evening, go to bed same time, don’t watch things that are too stimulating e.g. violent movies. Sometimes we need more exercise or fresh air.
Since its usually the mind that is racing around keeping us up, there are several yoga concentration and relaxation practices that can really help. Try these:
Left, right and back breathing:
When you go to bed, lie on your left side and bring your awareness to the breath flowing through the right nostril. Don’t hurry the breath – let it be smooth and even. Focus your mind on the flow of breath and let any other thoughts run through the back of your mind – like clouds drifting through the sky. Count 18 complete breaths (a complete breath is one exhalation and one inhalation) while on your left side.
Turn over onto your right side and be aware of the breath flowing through the left nostril. Focus your mind on this smooth even flow of breath and count 18 complete breaths while lying on your right side.
Turn onto your back. Relax your entire body from head to toes, toes to head. Bring your awareness to the rhythm of the breath in the belly. Count 18 complete breaths on your back.
The 1:5:5:1 Breath practice is a way to focus the mind so the thoughts running through don’t keep you awake.
Systematic Progressive Relaxation can also be used as you fall asleep. In this case, the purpose is to relax the body and focus the mind so you can sleep. Follow the sequence given in this link but don’t make any effort to keep awake as you go through the body starting at the top of the head, relaxing any tension or holding and allowing the body to release.
If you still can’t sleep after all of the above, you could try getting up for awhile, perhaps writing in a journal about what’s on your mind. Once you’re tired, start with the left, right and back breathing practice.
Yoga Nidra – yogic sleep.