I used to teach these two lovely ladies once a week at 6:30 in the morning. Every week, they would show up like clockwork, them and them alone. My morning class went from that of a general open level setting, to a very friendly, and personal semi-private – to the point we carried our friendship off the mat, and out into the world. Every now and then, when the weather was terrible, or someone had worked too late the night before, I would receive a text that said, “Sorry, Aryn. Today we’ll be practicing sleep yoga.”
Now, they were just letting me know they were going to sleep an extra hour, and they would see me at my next class, but in the realm of yoga – sleep yoga does actually exist. Yoga Nidra is a style of yoga that helps you glide into a sleep like state, by means of guided meditation. By concentrating on our breath, and following the instruction of a Yoga Nidra teacher, Sleep Yoga can helps us, simply, let go of the stress and tensions of every day life.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra include: Improved concentration and focus, a clear mind, and improved performance at work and in other areas of life. According to The National Sleep Foundation it also helps improve menstrual problems, and even helps relieve post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD).
Personally, I love yoga nidra. It is something I do at least once a week to help ensure I am getting the amount of sleep that I need. As the Dalai Lama said, “Sleep is the best meditation.” But remember, sometimes meditation is the best way to get a full nights sleep.
I’m Aryn, a mother of one born in Ohio, living in California. I love ice cream, but I don’t eat it and couldn’t even if I wanted to, and I hate popcorn. I love carnivals and summer, the beach and ocean, I love yoga and to live every moment the best that I can with my family, and I really, really love to write.
You can find Aryn at her wonderful blog Weekly Adventures. Ordinary Girl.
or she is quite active on Twitter at @ArynYoungless
A special note from me to to Aryn:
From the very beginning of my blogging journey (about three years ago now) you have been there. You are someone I can always share things with about my writing, my yoga practice, and life. Thank you for being a guest blogger here at The Warm Milk Journal and
most of all,
thank you for being my friend.
A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world. ~ Leo Buscaglia
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~Kahlil Gibran
I highly recommend sitting outside as much as you can (weather permitting).
Spending time outdoors gives us many benefits including:
1. Fresh air
2. A connection to the natural world.
3. A connection with neighbors if you live in a community with people nearby.
4. Feeds our physical senses and our spirits.
5. Calms our minds and nervous system.
6. Many times new ideas and bursts of creativity spring from spending time outdoors.
7. Being in a more relaxed state of mind and taking in all that wonderful fresh air will result in your sleeping well.
Here are some ideas to get in the habit of spending time outdoors:
1. Dine al fresco. If you have patio furniture, great! Even if you don’t you can bring out a camping table or some other table outside so your family can enjoy a meal together outside. You can have a picnic too (either in your own yard or at a park or beach). Many restaurants these days have nice areas set up to eat al fresco. Eating outside is one of my favorite activities!
2. Take your morning cup of coffee outside with you. I have begun enjoying my coffee time outside on my back patio. I may read the paper, write in my journal, or write for The Warm Milk Journal out here (I am outside now as a matter of fact as I write this). It is also nice just to sit and listen. I am currently hearing crickets and birds.
3. Take your evening glass of wine outside. I do this as well. Enjoy a little unwinding time when you come from from work. Spending time outside during your “cocktail hour” is a lovely way to transition from the challenges of the day to a more relaxed evening mode.
4. At work, take your lunch and other breaks outdoors. Back when I was in the corporate world, I would use my lunch time to get away from my work cubicle and walk around outside. Now, as a classroom teacher I still get outside daily. I make sure I take my students out (the kids need it and so do I) to play and often we will go outside to read or write as well.
5. I’ve started to practice yoga outdoors and it is wonderful. Whenever I feel the need for a little stretch i will step outside to do some of my poses. Also when I am taking my walks on the beach I am getting in the habit to stop and do some stretching while gazing at the ocean. There is great energy at the beach with the sounds and sights of the ocean waves and the breezes….wonderful for your yoga practice!
6. Look into events that your community has to offer. Many places offer free outdoor concerts and outdoor movie showings. Great family fun!
7. Go on a nature hike.
8. Take the family camping! It is wonderful if you have young children to instill in them now a love and appreciation for the outdoors.
9. Take walks. Walking may be one of the best habits we can to do promote good health. Experiment with going out during different times of the day.
10. Get a dog! Dogs will certainly get you outside.
11. Plant and maintain a garden.
God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars. ~ Martin Luther