Sleepless in Seattle
I don’t know if it is the change in the weather, or the shift from summer awareness to winter awareness, but either way, sleeplessness has been a recurring theme for many of my students of late.
Insomnia is a plague for many of us. For some it is the struggle to fall asleep, for others, it is the waking up in the middle of the night, but either way, all insomniacs are desperate for more/enough sleep.
Can yoga help? There is a definitive yes. There are many asanas which you can do prior to bedtime to help relax the body. Also, having a regular yoga practice, which includes asana, pranayama and meditation will help to reduce stress, and thereby lesson the likelihood of insomnia.
Here is a link to a an article published in Yoga Journal over a year ago, which I have found to be very helpful for many of my students and friends.
If getting to sleep is the issue, it is important to try to go to be at the same time every night. Take a warm drink with you to the bedroom. Here is a wonderful ayurvedic recipe for a bedtime drink which is very soothing and soporific. On the asana front, do a few cat-cows, a couple of twists, and some forward bends. Shoulderstands are also very helpful but please make sure that you are both safe and comfortable in your shoulderstand before trying them at bedtime.
If the issue is waking up in the middle of the night (mine), I have found it useful to get up right away. Don’t hang out in bed, haranguing yourself, it won’t help. Go downstairs, make a cup of tea. Try to avoid going any where near your computer or desk. Chores are not allowed. So what to do with your wakeful self?
I have begun to look on these hours as a gift. No one is around to bug me, or ask me to do something for them. The house is quiet. The street is quiet. It’s like I have the world all to myself. I curl up on the couch and read and write in my journal. If after an hour, I find that I am still up, then I will deal with the things that are on my mind/to-do list. If I am still up, well, then it is time for a hot bath with lavender. But usually, the cup of tea and boring book do the job, and I am ready to go back to bed within the hour.
I hope this helps. If any of you have other hints and tips, please do add them as comments.
Shalom & Namaste,