I set myself a goal back in January to focus on being kinder to myself in 2017 and that meant taking time out for me which materialised in the forms of Yoga and Mediation.
I'd considered dipping my toe into these fields for some time but never actually got round to it but can now honestly say I haven't looked back. I'm totally hooked! So I thought I'd share with you some of my learnings about meditation and sleep from the teachers I have had the pleasure of meditating with along with some practices found when researching online
When you can't fall to sleep easily many people will tell you to 'just relax' which is easier said than done. In fact the worry of not getting enough sleep will often cause more stress which in turn leads to less likelihood of nodding off.
There are many apps on the market that you can download nowadays and some people find these work fine for them but as we all know we shouldn't have electronic blue screens in our bedroom so that's not the ideal solution. That said there's nothing to say meditating throughout the day can't be aided with these aids.
Being aware of your breath
In both Yoga and meditation we are told to focus on using our breath. In our day to day lives we often use shallow breathing. Focusing on deep meaningful breathing will transform your sleep if you aren't used to it.
Thinking of your breath in three stages is the way to do it.
Lie down, place your hands over your belly and focus on taking a deep slow breath, as your belly fills and rises take in more breath to expand into your rib cage and finally a little more so your chest is filled then slowly let it out in the reverse order, firstly your chest, then your rib cage and finally your belly.
This will take practice as the chitter chatter in our heads will keep trying to muscle in but focusing on these techniques will help take you to a much calmer place.
Picturing a relaxing scene in your head can help you to relax and drift off to sleep.
What you visualise is totally up to you but ensure it's something gentle and relaxing such as a mountain top, fields full of poppy's or even just a tree blowing in the wind (one of my teachers favourites)
If you live a very busy life where decision making is a frequent occurrence throughout the day it may be harder for you to switch off at night. If so it may help you to think about things that need action before you go to sleep. Acknowledge them, ideally write them down on a list for tomorrow so you can then put them to the back of your mind until morning. Then you will find relaxing a whole lot easier.
Counting can work effectively. In Yoga we count our breath as while doing this consciously you'll find your mind can't think of anything else.
Try taking a deep breath to a count of 1,2,3 then exhaling counting back 3,2,1.
A form of Yoga which is based around deep relaxation whilst staying awake - done well you're pretty much guaranteed a good nights sleep. This is where a full body scan is done, so while thinking about each part of your body you are less likely to et your mind wander.
This is my favourite and a class I never miss!
Ultimately it's all about finding what works for you and helps take your mind off your day to day thoughts.
Know of any other tips? Let us know at info@urban wool.co.uk