Good Morning, Beautiful. Good Night, Gorgeous.

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:

  1. I’m learning.
  2. Have a sense of humor amidst the frustration.
  3. 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!

Published by ericaengel42

I practice & share Hatha Yoga for a simple reason -- it works. Hatha Yoga in the Himalayan Tradition is a holistic system of philosophy & practices passed down through an unbroken 5,000 year lineage of Himalayan sages. What Hatha Yoga is not: trendy, bendy or one-&-done. What Hatha Yoga is: a systematic approach to uncovering the real, authentic YOU in body, mind & spirit. Hatha Yoga cultivates well-being, stability, clarity & ease in modern life through traditional, time-tested practices. I also recognize both our shared humanity & our differing privileges & barriers -- I am a cis-gendered white female with a graduate degree, who has dealt with family trauma & an eating disorder. My goals in my own practice include to cultivate awareness of my own privileges & social conditioning, unlearn & re-learn in order to be mindful & take compassionate action toward a more beautiful, just & peaceful world for ALL humans, creatures & our Earth. I'm making mistakes daily, & hopeful that I'm falling forward toward these goals & vision. I hope we can walk our paths & support each other along the way.

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