A calming technique to help you sleep

31 Mar 2016 3 Minute Read Article by Jen Cuttance

I have personally experienced episodes of sleep difficulties. At one stage, I even resorted to sleeping pills.

But as the old saying goes, “everything happens for a reason”, and it proved very true in this case as it was one of the reasons why I took an interest in yoga. To cope with insomnia, I decided to try Yoga Nidra.

Yoga Nidra is a practice where you lay down and are guided into a deep relaxation while staying completely present. It’s been said that practicing 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra promotes as much restoration in the body as four hours of sleep!

So I thought, “Well, if I’m not sleeping then at least by listening to this CD I’ll be able to restore my body.” I practiced every day and eventually the insomnia just stopped. I had been taught how to completely relax.

When you completely relax the physical body while being awake you cultivate feelings of calm and peace, the more you practice those feelings the easier it is to draw upon those feelings to help you to relax enough to sleep.

A busy mind while lying in bed is something we all experience at some point in our lives. Writing down whatever is floating around in your mind is helpful. After you’ve written it down, it’s like it is out of your head, so you can change your energy to allow yourself to relax.

A visualisation technique is brilliant because it gives your monkey mind a branch to hold on to. You can draw in your concentration to something beautiful and relaxing. That shift in energy can then enable you to drift off.

Like Yoga Nidra, you first start with a body rotation. With each exhalation of your breath, feel your body slip deeper and deeper into relaxation. Bring all of your attention to your right hand thumb, and imagine all tension releasing from that right hand thumb.

Then feel a deep sense of relaxation in your right hand thumb, letting that feeling move through to the index finger and so on until you have your whole right hand in deep relaxation.

Then move up your arm and slowly down the right hand side of your body, finishing at the toes. Then start with your left hand thumb, and move through the left side of your body. Say these words to yourself: “I feel a deep sense of relaxation”.

After the whole left side of your body is relaxed, rest the back of your head and move over the face and down to the heart centre. Now that your whole body is relaxed, notice how that feels.

After the body rotation is complete, start with this visualisation technique.

Imagine a beautiful field with the sun shining and soft, green grass. Feel the soft, green grass under your feet. Looking up, see a beautiful big tree and slowly walk towards it, taking in the beauty of nature. When you reach the tree, sit or lay down, enjoying the peacefulness of nature. Notice how peaceful and happy you are. This is your garden of relaxation. You can continue looking around at your garden with beautiful flowers and bird song, and the sound of the tree leaves in the breeze. Exist here.

Cultivating and creating peace in your mind is essential for shifting your energy. Often giving ourselves the chance to relax is all it takes to drift off into a blissful sleep.

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