Do you have trouble sleeping at night ? Maybe you can get to sleep easily, but a couple of hours later you are wide awake again. The first thing to do is look at your lifestyle, is your brain active, jumping from one task to the next right up until you suddenly realise you need some sleep ? This is a common dilemma and ideally it is best to slowly wind down for at least an hour before you retire. No caffeine of course for at least two hours before you turn in and try not to eat a heavy meal just before going to bed as well. But if you have tried to modify these aspects of your lifestyle and you seem to have created a cycle of insomnia then give the following tips a try.
Yoga Nidra is very popular in my classes and an important reason why many students come to my class. I am an Associate member of the Satyananda Yoga Teachers Association and for me their CDs with Yoga Nidra practices on them are invaluable for the yoga student or any insomniac with a willingness to give this practice a try. http://www.satyananda.net/shop/browse/audio/satyananda-yoga-nidra-and-meditation
But before you go down that path, maybe the following tips will be an indicator of whether you think you are ready for deep relaxation practices. What have you got to lose ? You are not sleeping anyway, so you have the time… why not give it a go…
Lie on your back and take your attention to your breath, just follow the flow of your breath and take note of the sound of the inhalation and compare it in your mind to the sound of your exhalation…make sure you are breathing deeply, expanding the abdomen below the navel on your inhalation and allow the navel to drop towards the spine on your exhalation. This in itself takes some practice, but don’t give up…keep your body as still as possible…the stillness of the body will transfer to your mind if you can maintain the stillness for several minutes.
Tell yourself you are happy to remain so still and take note of how the more silent and still you become, the more exaggerated the movement of the ribcage, chest and journey of the breath through the throat becomes. Now once you have synchronised the body and breath and are feeling reasonably comfortable with it,try the next step…
Start taking your mind back over your day…but not from when you got up this morning, but travelling backwards through your day. Mentally see yourself getting out of bed, going back to the bathroom and cleaning your teeth, having a shower and so on right back to when you got out of bed this morning.
Try and remember the main activities of your day and don’t stress if you forget something , just go back to that point and “slot” it in to the timeline and keep going backwards…
Avoid getting entangled in any of the events, such as “I went to the shop on the way home and bought some tomatoes” that’s fine but then, oh yeah and then that random guy practically sprinted to beat me in the queue !…Nooo…remember it as an event, but don’t let your emotions start getting involved. Imagine this whole scenario as if you are watching a video on a screen. See if you can make it all the way back to morning 🙂
You will find at first that you will drift off and start thinking of other things in the process of this exercise, quite normal, but don’t tell yourself that you can’t do it, like anything worthwhile it takes practice !
Let me know how it goes 🙂
Saraswati, Swami Satyananda Yoga Nidra Yoga Publications Trust, Bihar India 1998