Today I promised you to talk about two yoga hand gestures for sleep that I find helpful. Then, I’ll add in a little visualisation that I personally use when I can’t sleep.
These are 3 natural sleep aids that you might not have come across before and may be helpful.
First of all, though, try asking yourself why you don’t sleep.
Indeed, how you might not sleep could be different from how your neighbour doesn’t sleep or your friend or anyone else. We don’t experience the same thing. So, you need to consider whether for you it’s
- a lifestyle factor – for example, I wrote about alcohol and caffeine, eating and exercise, etc;
- a stress or emotional factor – something that’s happening at your work maybe that you can’t stop thinking about? or perhaps someone dear to you is ill and you are really worried? Is it grief? It could be all sorts of different things;
- an environmental factor – for example, it can even be there’s just too much light in the room;
- a hormonal factor – this particular affects women in perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause.
There are lots of different factors that impact on sleep.
Therefore, the 3 natural sleep aids that I recommend deal with different things.
The first yoga hand gesture is for tolerance.
It is for if you if you’re struggling with somebody who you feel is making life difficult.
Make sure that all your fingertips and the thumb tips are touching.
With this gesture, just rest your hands in your lap while you’re sitting. Now, breath up through the coccyx, through your tailbone from the ground up to your heart and then down into your arms and hands. Imagine the little empty space in your hands as if it was is filled with your breath when you exhale into little space.
This way, you build up some energy between the hands and you imagine the person that you’re really struggling with is in that little space. That space is a space of compassion. You’re just holding them in a compassionate space.
The beauty of breathing up from the earth is that you haven’t had to find that compassion in yourself if it’s not there right now. You can energise it from from the earth rather than having to find it in you. Indeed, if you’re really struggling with them, it can be very difficult to be compassionate towards somebody.
That’s one way to do it. If that’s too much, just sit with the hand gesture and watch your breathing. Don’t worry about anything else.
The second yoga hand gesture is to unburden your heart.
This is much more for you if you’re struggling with grief or there’s something that’s really weighing on your heart. It doesn’t have to be an enormous big worry: lots of little worries are often enough to keep us awake at night.
Curl the first finger into the base of your thumb. The thumb tip meets the next two fingertips and then the little finger is extended. You’re doing that with both hands: it looks a bit like a deer’s head.
Then, just rest them in your lap. I like to breathe up from the earth, so breath up from the earth to the heart. Then, imagine your breath dividing: some of it is coming down the left arm and some of it is coming down the right arm, coming out of the little fingers. If you have the little fingers pointing down at the ground, they will act as a drain. So, anything that you don’t need right now from your heart and that’s weighing on you, just allow it to come out through the fingers and to you just to be released.
I’m a firm believer in talking things through but I think sometimes we’ve done that and we just need to somehow ease the pressure. This hand gesture works amazingly for that. I find this hand gesture incredibly effective. In fact, I don’t have to talk about what’s weighing on me. I can just unburden my heart with it without having to analyse anything. Sometimes that’s what you need.
Now I’d like to give you the visualisation for sleep that I use when I’m trying to go to sleep and for some reason that night it’s not easy.
Lying on the bed on your back preferably begin to imagine that your breath is coming in through the feet and on the in-breath all the way up to the top of your head and then on the out-breath all the way back out through the soles of your feet. I like to invite people to think about when you’re watching the tide roll in and roll out.
You’re not doing anything. You don’t affect that tide going in and out. It just goes in and out. It’s the same for your breath. If you’ll let it be, just allow the breath to wash in like a tide and to wash out.
When it washes in, it’s bringing in relaxation, calm, anything you need it to bring in love, kindness, compassion, self-care.
When it is going out, it takes away anything you don’t need anymore. You can name that or you can just allow the breath to take away anything that you don’t need anymore or can’t carry anymore.
Try to do 3 to 4 minutes of the breath coming in through the feet to the top of the head and back out. Then, switch it so that you can do 2 or 3 minutes breathing in through the head down to the feet and from the feet back.
I personally tend to be asleep before I get to the end of the 3 or 4 minutes! So, I hope that that’s my personal magic trick and I figured it would be a nice one to end these tips on with my one that I’ve tried and tested for years and I really hope it works for you as well.
So, let’s just get us all resting better so that we can get on with our lives better and enjoy them more!
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