Sleep. Inevitably we all need to rest. A good nights sleep is, for me, one of the most treasured of experiences. Many of us struggle to get one, due to being busy and not getting to bed until late, or to having busy minds and not being able to let go and drift off. We all know that with a good nights sleep under our belt, life feels so much more manageable.
It’s generally thought that we need between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Personally, the amount of sleep I need seems to shift and change – sometimes I need many hours and sometimes I feel really energised and need a lot less. I try to make sleep a priority when I know it’s needed and try not to stress out about not getting enough sleep when I don’t get my eight hours.
I’d like to offer a few tips to help you fall asleep. They’re simple but useful.
LEFT NOSTRIL BREATHING: Directing breath through the left nostril only serves to stimulate the pranic channel that relaxes the nervous system. It calms and quiets the mind. Use the thumb of your right hand to block off the right nostril and breath long and deep for 3 to 11 minutes of through the left nostril. A great way to prepare for sleep.
Try lying on your right side as you drop off. This will automatically block off the right nostril so you will breath through the left side, helping to slow everything down.
HELP TO FALL ASLEEP WHEN THE MIND IS RACING: Lie on your back, legs extended. With the heels together, begin to flex the feet stretching the toes towards the head as you inhale, then pointing the toes as you exhale. Lengthen the breath. Combine the movement with the mantra Sat Nam. Silently, internally chanting “Sat” on the inhale and “Nam” on the exhale. Do this for 3 to 5 minutes, then just relax and go to sleep.
(Sat Nam means “Truth Name” or “I am truth”)
THE BIG GUNS: This meditation is brilliant for helping with preparing for a good, deep sleep. Try it for yourself.
Sit comfortably with straight spine.
MUDRA: Place the hands on the lap, palms up with the right hand over the left. The thumbs are together and point forward.
EYES: Focus the eyes on the tip of the nose, the eye-lids half closed.
BREATH & MANTRA: Inhale in 4 equal parts, mentally vibrating the mantra Saa Taa Naa Maa. Hold the breath, vibrating the mantra 4 times for a total of 16 beats. Exhale in 2 equal strokes, projecting mentally Wahe Guru.
TIME: 15 to 62 minutes.
The ideal time to practice this kriya is just before you go to bed at night.
Try it and see. Remembering to tune in first with “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” x 3 and finish with a gentle “Sat Nam”.
Recommendations taken from Kundalini Yoga Level Two Teacher Training manual, Vitality and Stress. Kundalini Research Institute.