How have you been sleeping?

December 18, 2018

We are so excited to celebrate the solstice with you this Friday, 12.21, from 3-5 at our clinic! If you are able to come, will you email us so we can estimate a baseline number of treats?

We have a special bedtime offering for you today: get ready for some solid sleep!

In honor of the insight that comes in the darkness, and in support of hibernation, we offer you a yoga nidra practice for these darkest days of the year. (Even if you are in the southern hemisphere, yoga nidra will feel great.)

Yoga nidra (yogic sleep or intentional sleep) is a restful and relaxing practice that you can do anytime (I’d steer clear at the very beginning of the day, but you could try it). It’s particularly nice at bedtime because yoga nidra gets you to stage two (of four) of sleep. If you have sleep troubles or are in need of a deep rest, you can set an intention at the beginning, saying, “I give myself permission to fall into a deep sleep.” This will mean that you miss the end of the recording, which is why it’s important to make sure your phone sound is off before you begin…

Even if you practice a few hours before bed, your practice will improve your sleep. You will notice that you get to sleep faster than usual and/or that you sleep more thoroughly, waking feeling more rested than usual. The first time I practiced yoga nidra, I had to walk home afterward (about 20 minutes in the cold). By the time I got home, the hazy dreaminess had worn off: I felt refreshed and alert and very annoyed. “What was even the point of that?” I grumbled. Despite my certainty that the promised relaxation effects had already worn off, in the interest of maintaining whatever liver love I had enjoyed during the practice, I decided to abstain from a glass of wine and just got in bed with a book. I crashed SO. HARD. I woke up to my alarm with the light on and the book open, but instead of feeling disoriented, I felt like I’d slept for 12 hours.

Needless to say, I love yoga nidra.

You can use this any time (it takes about 20 minutes), and it works wonders when you wish you had time for a nap. Especially this dark week, we invite you to use it at bedtime. To prepare:

  1. You want a quiet, unlit space where you can hear the recording without headphones. Set up your device so that it will be near your head. Make sure the sound notifications are off. Face the screen away from you (face down if it’s a phone or tablet) so that the blue light doesn’t permeate your brain as much. Check the volume before you commit: you want it audible but not loud.
  2. Set up a nest for yourself. You can do this on the floor, in your bed, or anywhere where you can stretch out with your feet up. If you are on the floor, set out a blanket that will be under you. Prepare a blanket to cover yourself, too. If you are in bed, smooth all the blankets and pull them back so that, when you cover yourself, they will not be higher than your shoulders. Set yourself up with pillows or rolled blankets/towels supporting yourself: under your knees, under your feet, under your head, and under your shoulders are examples of places where support can feel good. If you are in a place with windows, consider a washcloth or eye pillow to cover your eyes.
  3. If it’s close-ish to bedtime, make sure the stove is off and your alarm is set just in case you don’t get up after the practice 🙂

Once everything is set, cover yourself with your blanket(s). If you don’t want to cover your whole body, place a folded blanket over your belly button and hips. (For extra warmth and security, you can double up by covering yourself and topping it off with a folded blanket over your hips.) Press play and settle back.

We would love LOVE to hear how this goes for you. Reply to this email and let us know:

  • Have you practiced yoga nidra before? If so, how was this practice different for you?
  • Were you able to hear much of the recording, or did you “go away” quickly?
  • What time of day did you practice? What impact did you notice on your sleep, your stress level, and/or your insight?

As we approach the solstice and longer days, we are sending you coziness and rest. We are so thankful for all the courage, curiosity, and wisdom you share with us and with the world. We look forward to seeing those of you who can make it this Friday!