Sometimes, I struggle falling asleep. I think about work. I think about my parents back home in India. I worry about the safety of little sister in the US. I even think about philosophical things (!!) – am I making the most of my life? Am I going to be happy looking back at my life when I am 70? I think about all this right when I go to bed. Because my mind is idle and wants something to think about. And so it does.
I am not sure how people go about doing their work without a good night’s sleep. I can’t. So tonight, just before going to bed after a long long week at work, I give you what I have learnt through yoga and meditation over the years. Putting my body to sleep through meditation.
It might be daunting at first. But meditation comes through practice and every time I did this practice, I slept a little better.
Lie down on your back on your bed or wherever you’d fall asleep. Make yourself comfortable. Now start with one part of your body (I start with my right little toe) and concentrate on this part. Move your entire focus to that little toe. And consciously put it to sleep. By putting to sleep, I mean remove any kind of stress from the little toe. Mentally. Not physically by wiggling your little toe. Tell your little toe “Hey.. it’s been a long day, let’s go to bed shall we?”. Be mindful of any discomfort you are feeling in that little toe and ease it out. Mentally. You will be amazed at how much stress could be hidden in a little toe, and how powerful instructions from your brain can be to every part of your body.
Talk to each of your toes, the bottom of your feet, the top of your feet, your ankles, your shins, your calf muscles, your knees, thighs, pelvis, glutes, lower back, abdomen, each finger, thumbs, palm and back of your hands, your wrists, forearm, elbows, chest, upper arm, underarms, shoulders, middle of your back, upper back, front and back of your neck, back of your head, top of your head, forehead, eyebrows, ears, cheeks, lips, nose and your eyes in the end. When you are done, your body is at rest. And your mind, is also at rest.
This list might look like a repetitive one, but trust me, it will help. To know the sequence and to know which parts to talk to. It will help when you get down to business and start this practice. Also, when you reach the middle of your body, try to sense the difference between the parts you’ve put to sleep and the ones you haven’t. With practice, you will start noticing the difference. I noticed a tiny difference the very first time I did this practice in a yoga studio in India, back in 2011. Today, after 6 years, I see a huge one!
I hope this helps. I wish you a good night’s sleep!