Ever been caught snoozing during savasana? (put your hands up people it’s ok). Some yogis may frown upon those who Zzz during savasana at the end of a yoga practice, but myself personally as a yoga teacher am flattered when my students fall asleep in the sacred corpse pose. Why? That means our yoga practice has gotten them to a head space where thoughts of past, present, future, planning, worries, scheduling are not bouncing around. They are at such peace, that they can fall asleep on a hard floor. (It could also mean that they are sleep deprived or just really tired, but I’m going to stick with my idealist vision that my yoga teaching is just so magical, ok thanks)
So about meditation. Meditation is the practice of focusing the mind’s eye on one thing. It could be a singular thought, a vision, an image, a candle flickering, an external noise, and commonly in a yoga practice - the breath. So really, the ancient teachings and teachers of meditation would not encourage folks falling asleep during a meditation. But here we are in this modern world, and many of us use meditation for its calming effects on the mind. We get stressed out; we want our brains to just. shut. up. ESPECIALLY when it’s time to claim those precious 8+ hours of sleep.
So follow along with these meditation tips and techniques to help you fall asleep and enjoy a deep rest all through the night.
The first step to any successful meditation, and certainly for falling asleep, is to make sure that you’re comfortable. Adjust your clothes, the sheets, flop the pillows around, get yourself in that sweet spot, so that when your mind is ready to shut it down, your body is in a supportive position to allow and welcome sleep.
A body scan is a simple meditation with an easy to follow process that will quickly quiet your mind from other distractions. Start at your toes, and bring your attention to them. Just think about them, feel what they feel like on your body, feel their weight, feel what’s touching them, visualize them. And then move up to your whole foot. Ankle, calf/shin, knee, hips… and so on. Hopefully before the time you get to your head, you’re already ptfo’ed. You can also start from your head and work your way down.
Another simple visualization technique uses your imagination to explore every color of the rainbow. Working your way through the rainbow, you’ll describe and visualize each color and things, places, people associated with that color. Here’s a helpful script to get you started.
Helpful Mindfulness Apps
You might need to have a voice guide you through your thoughts and meditation. There are tons of resources out there, but here are a few helpful mindfulness apps to get you started:
Here’s another concept from meditation that we should take to bed: unplug yourself from the external world. In non-yogi terms: get your face out of your phone and other distracting screens. The time you spend before getting in bed sets you up for a successful or frustrating sleep. Y’all know this... blue light is bad, screens stimulate, social media provokes.
So don’t go to sleep thinking your new pre-sleep meditation practice will cure all your sleep woes. You will still need to practice healthy sleep hygiene in all realms. Meditation is just one helpful piece of the puzzle. Happy snoozing!