Yoga is already quite well known as an ancient Indian physical science that can help us in so many areas of our life, if practiced diligently.
Here I want to talk about one particular aspect which I have experienced with great positive effect. We call it Yogic Sleep.
We must also have heard about the power nap.
Men’s Journal calls the power nap, an investment with the greatest return in the least amount of time. A kind of super efficient sleep that fits in nicely in a high pressure schedule, say between business meetings or in the minutes before a game.
But just how do we fall sleep at will? Can we just “turn off a switch and go to sleep” or do we need another hour or so to “toss and turn” first.
To all the “power nap challenged people”, I say, have no fear, a solution is near.
Ms. Bijoylaxmi Hota in her book “Yoga for Busy People” provides a great solution. The book has a section on Yogic Sleep, in which she explains how deep relaxation and sound sleep which are essential for regeneration of body tissues can be achieved by yoganidra. This is a practice developed from an ancient tantric practice by her guru, Paramahamsa Swamy Satyananda Saraswati.
I am listing the steps suggested by Ms. Hota. However, just reading these steps may not do justice to Ms. Hota. (I hope I am not infringing any copyright issues here.)
Ms. Hota’s teachings are for us to :-
a) Lie down in the pose of Shavasana
i) Lie down on your back in a straight line
ii) Move legs one and a half feet apart
iii) Place hands on the floor,(palms facing up), away from the body,
iv) Close eyes,
v) Breathe naturally,
vi) Count twelve breaths backwards
b) Countdown 12 deep breaths while mentally saying,
i) I am inhaling – twelve,
ii) I am exhaling – twelve,
iii) I am inhaling – eleven
iv) Etc until we reach – one
c) Now breathe normally and repeat mentally “relax” after each exhalation,
d) Practice for 3 – 4 minutes,
e) Visualize each part of the body in the following sequence. Mentally repeat its name and imagine it relaxing. Do not move the said body part. “Right hand thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, little finger, palm, wrist, elbow, shoulder, armpit, hip, thigh, knee, calf, ankle, heel, sole, the big toe, second, third, fourth and the fifth.
f) Repeat with the left side,
g) Back – back of the head, top of the head, forehead, right eyebrow, left eyebrow, right eye, left eye, middle of the eyebrows, right cheek, left cheek, right nostril, left nostril, upper lip, lower lip, chin, neck, chest, stomach and abdomen.
She has also some further suggestions that we should make a short positive resolution such as “I will attain and maintain perfect health, or I am perfectly healthy in body and mind.” And imagining ourselves to be near a pleasant and relaxing environment such as a waterfall, a calm lake or a sea beach etc.
I have always fallen asleep somewhere between (f) and (g).
I bought this book a few years ago in an airport in India. Yogic Sleep is the only section that I have tried and it works.
Even if you feel that you are not going to fall asleep for the next 3 or 4 hours, practicing the simple steps listed by Ms. Hota just “switches you off” and instantly sends you to slumberland. Try it and see for yourself.
PS: Incidentally, sleep deprivation has been identified as one of the trends facing us today. Would keeping these people awake be the next business opportunity or would it be helping them take naps at will, every chance they get?
The picture above was taken from a really cool story on a dream written by Ms. NN in the Digital Journal. You have to read it yourself. The powerful impact of dreams and when do dreams happen…..when we sleep, of course…..