Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Yoga Nidra: The Natural Cure for Insomnia

Blame it on Mercury going retrograde, the build-up to the once-in-a-lifetime Solar Eclipse that happened on Monday, or maybe you too have a baby one bedroom over who loves to play between the hours of 2 and 4am. Whatever is currently going on in your life, it's safe to say you could benefit from deeper, higher quality sleep!

The truth is that most of us have a very strange relationship with rest. We are a society of over-doing and over-exerting -- mentally, physically, and energetically. We haven't been taught how to turn off or power down our beings. Most of us default to our iPhones, iPads, or turn on the TV to decompress, which is actually causing more harm than good. This constant bombardment of stimulation never allows the nervous system a chance to rest and re-boot. 

During an extremely sleep deprived 12 months of being a new mom, I discovered Arianna Huffington's book, The Sleep Revolution. As one of the most successful women in America, someone who has built a media empire, Arianna got totally burnt out and obsessed with prioritizing self-care and deep rest in her life. “By helping us keep the world in perspective, sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are. And in that place of connection, it is easier for the fears and concerns of the world to drop away.” 

If you struggle with your sleeping habits, or just want to find ways to drop into deep, healing REM sleep faster and more efficiently, here are my TOP 3 favorite guided meditations of a style called YOGA NIDRA. Think of it as someone talking you through a full body scan, guiding your mind into precise focus, allowing each corner of your body to relax, one piece at a time. I've heard experts say that 1 hour of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to 4 hours of deep REM. Try to stay awake and present for as much as the meditation as possible, at least for your first experience with it. But don't worry if you do fall asleep, I usually doze off around 10 minutes in, especially if I'm totally exhausted! Deep rest is the goal of this practice, so whichever road leads you there is perfectly OK.

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