The quality of our sleep depends on the quality of our sleeping mind.
*Check out the workshops in the “Beyond the Pose” series here.
Good Morning, Beautiful! Recently, I facilitated a workshop on yoga practices for sleep … the small class size of amazing women was intimate & laidback. We shared our personal experiences with sleep disturbances, & discussed what modern science has discovered about the importance of sleep for rejuvenation of the brain — consolidation of memories, “global downscaling,” & emotional response reset. The techniques shared from the yoga tradition included breathing techniques, poses for the end of the day, as well as lifestyle habits/rituals. A beautiful blend of modern science & yoga philosophy & practice.
From years of experience dealing with stress in an unhealthy way, resulting in poor sleep & waking up in a panic almost nightly — I’ve practiced these routines & techniques for years, adding or subtracting what works for my mind/body as needed. That night, after the sleep workshop, you’d think I’d sleep like a baby — I’d just taught the same techniques & practices that I do myself on a regular basis.
Well, not so much. My eyes shot open at 1:56am, mind racing.
I was so frustrated — I thought, “Are you serious?! I have worked on this sh** for years … have been sleeping better & waking up better … I just shared what works for me less than 12 hours ago … & NOW this?!”
And then I laughed. Well, a little internal chuckle so as not to wake Jim (he’s an expert sleeper, by the way) … but a laugh at myself at 2am amidst a panicked mind that wasn’t going back to sleep anytime soon. I mean, c’mon … the scene was pretty comical. The quality of my sleeping mind … whew, it was a doozy!
So the truth is I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Yep, I teach yoga … yep, I share yoga techniques for sleep. And yet I learned some valuable lessons on my journey to go beyond my Internal Critic:
- I’m learning.
- Have a sense of humor amidst the frustration.
- There’s no magic formula — the progress is in consistent practice over time, as Panditji states here, from his commentary on The Yoga Sutras:
“Because we are unaware of what is happening in our inner world while we are asleep, it is imperative in our waking state that we practice techniques for sleeping in a healthy, enlightening way.” – Dr. Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Himalayan Institute
Are you experiencing sleep disturbances? Whether you’re new to yoga philosophy & practice or a long-time practitioner, I hope you’ll take heart from my “2 steps forward, 1 step back” experience last week. For me, I’m taking this opportunity to reflect on my current practices / routines during the day & my bedtime rituals … taking in what benefits & letting go of what doesn’t … perfect for the autumn season, actually … & continuing my practice. I’d love to hear your favorite ways to nurture your sleep — comment below! Good night, Gorgeous!