As you might know, I’ve been running Yoga classes in Ealing for 10 years now and today I’d like to share with you some very simple tips on “Yoga for Sleep”.
In my previous article, I shared some tips for a good night’s sleep and today I’m starting a series of posts aimed at really helping you get the absolute best out of yourself by nourishing yourself at night.
The core principle of Yoga For Sleep is the deep nourishment of both body and mind.
The reason why we want to do that is to allow the body enough time to rest, to digest and to repair from your day’s activities. Actually, we want the mind to have the same opportunity to rest, to digest what experiences you’ve had and any sort of repair and restoration that you need. That can happen at night time.
The first idea that I really want you to take on board today is that
It is so unhelpful when talking about sleep, to obsess too much about how much sleep you got and whether it is good quality sleep.
When you’re having a challenging amount of sleep, you can really start to think:
“Oh, I only got 3 hours (or 4, or 6 hours…), I should be getting 8 hours every night”.
I’m going to ask you, as my first tip, just to put that obsession to the side. You don’t need to create performance anxiety around sleep. It’s not going to help.
Also, if you are perhaps only getting 3 or 4 hours at night, setting this target for yourself straight away to 8 hours, it’s just too much! It’s too much of a leap to go straight from 3 or 4 hours, to suddenly:
“I’m supposed to get eight hours of sleep”.
So, my tip number 1 on Yoga For Sleep is let go of an idea of how much sleep you need to be getting.
You should progress gently and steadily from wherever you currently are. For example, from getting 3 or 4 hours, let’s get you to 5 hours. If you’re getting 5 hours, let’s get you to 6 or even from 5 to 5 1/2 can make a difference.
My tip number 2 is: if you’re experiencing the feeling of just lying there, trying to sleep and you can’t sleep, if you’re obsessing about the fact that you can’t sleep, I want you to switch your mindset into:
“I am still resting my body”.
Yes, I’m not resting my mind so much, perhaps, but I am still resting my body.
“I’m just going to release the need and anxiety that I should be sleeping and allow my body to rest as best as possible. My body will rest better if my mind is more relaxed”.
It’s a core yoga principle that mind and body are really intimately intertwined.
So, if your mind is anxious and running fast and turning things over, your body can’t fully let go. We’ll talk a little bit more in the next articles about what’s happening hormone-wise.
Today, I wanted to begin this “Yoga For Sleep” series with the basic idea of: let’s start with releasing performance anxiety around sleep.
We just take wherever it is that you’re at now, and we’re just going to add a tiny bit.
So, tonight I encourage you, if you find yourself awake in the night, to tell you just:
“OK, so, I’m awake. Yeah, that’s fine. I’m just going to focus on resting my body, then, and allow myself to get as much as possible from just gently lying”.
Check the video version of this article:
I’ll be back with you next week with the next couple of tips on Yoga For Sleep!