Why to practice yoga when you’re sleepy.
No, this is not an article about yoga nidra or the benefits of relaxation for a good night’s sleep. This is why to get up out of bed after four hours of sleep to feel the sticky, squishy goodness of your mat underneath your feet.
First of all, let me say this: if you can sleep and you’re sleepy…. do it! Those of us who have wonky sleep cycles, are trying to sleep when the sun is high and three mornings a week race to be in bed before the burning hot orb rises and sears our retinas salute you!
I experimented for a while with shaving off sleep time to make yoga time. Bad idea, I found out. Yoga is not sleep. Shah! you say. But when you work 13 hour shifts that regularly reach into 15, sometimes 18…. well, you wring as much out of those 6-11 hours as you can. And you try some wacky things.
But when you’re not a natural day sleeper and you didn’t take your ambien before bedding down this morning (cr, not regular) and the dogs bark at the meterman or the kids next door are groovin’ to their tunes on a friday afternoon, what’re ya gonna do?
First, turn on the AC. That may drown them out. Then put on that NPR podcast with the really low monotone voice… maybe that’ll put you to sleep. Eat some chicken for the tryptophan?
Or, how about yogic breathing? Deep, three part inhalations, exhalations longer, pausing in the fullness at the top and the spaciousness at the bottom of emptying….
When you realize you’re still in bed, you’ve adjusted the pillow twice… why not? Get up, get out of the lovely billowy bed and see what’s on the mat.
You might realize you like the kids next door music. You’ll have an acute sense of where you’re really hiding your tension. You’ll have plenty of edges to work without really chasing them… they’ll be right up front. Sivasana will be untold bliss. And the bags under your eyes will be less when you do see your first patient that night. You might even react differently, with more quietude and reflection to some of the rank comments, insinuations and inuendo that night. Or you might find you have more courage and remain calm in the face of bad behaviour. Calm enough to be effective, to see the roots of both the behaviour and your own reactions. Now that’s meditation in action! Calm enough to notice the lovely full moon rising over mountains framing the bloody scene in front of you. No, they don’t cancel out. But they do both matter.
That’s why after the guided meditation, the zzzzmusic and yoga nidra techniques don’t work, I’ll go to the mat and find out what surprises it holds.