Body awareness helps to bring you back to the present moment. Among the numerous benefits are- physical and emotional relaxation, decrease in pain, lower stress, calming to the nervous system.
The body scan It is quite effective to use at night when you cannot sleep.
Try this short Body Scan: If you cannot feel any part of your body, imagine the specific area. Let go of judgment and simply notice and breathe naturally into each area.
- Notice your toes and the spaces between your toes.
- Notice your feet including your arches, tops of your feet and heels.
- Notice your lower legs, knees and knee creases and thighs.
- Notice your hips and across your pelvis.
- Notice your belly and the rise and fall of your belly.
- Notice your chest, across your shoulder and collar bones.
- Notice your back, including your shoulder blades, ribs and the entire back.
- Notice your hands, including your fingers, tops and palms of your hands.
- Notice your arms up through your underarms and shoulders.
- Notice your neck, including your throat.
- Notice your face, including your eyes, nose mouth and around to your ears.
- Notice your head, including the top sides and back of your head.
- Now notice and breathe throughout your entire body, from your feet through your head for a few moments.
Let me know in the comments below how this went. What effect did it have on you? If you could not do it, what do you think happened?
It is not only the quantity of sleep, but the quality of sleep that is important. Even if you have interrupted sleep, you can have a more restful night, and generate more stamina throughout your day.
A focused breathing practice will help. The benefits of focused breathing are:
- Quiets your mind, bringing you back to the moment
- Brings more oxygen into your body, increasing stamina during the day
- Lowers your heart rate and calms your nervous system
1. Lie on your back in bed, with a pillow under your knees and begin breathing through your nose.
2. Put your attention on your breath without judging or influencing it in any way.
3. Notice the entire breath cycle of inhalation and exhalation.
4. Notice where your breath is most evident to you:
- Is it the movement of air into your nostrils?
- Is it the movement of air in your nose or throat?
- Is it the rise and fall of your belly and chest?
- Is it the entire cycle of your breath?
5. Wherever it is, keep your attention there, staying aware of your breath. There is not right way to notice, simply be aware.
6. As you follow your breath you may notice your attention wandering to your thoughts. If it wanders simply and kindly bring it back to the breath.
Use this technique anytime you wake up in the night, or to get to sleep.
Let me know in the comments below how this worked for you. If it did not work, what do you think happened?
I taught a sleep workshop the other day and the recurring theme was the inability to shut off thoughts. It seems to be an epidemic stemming from our busy, stressed out lives.
Many use medications to help with this problem, and even if they help they produce side effects.
It is a vicious cycle- less sleep at night, less energy during the day.
The twist below has many benefits:
- Calms the nervous system.
- Massages your internal organs, increasing the blood and oxygen supply
- Lengthens and twists the spine.
- Turn off the television and computer and try some bed yoga. It is a simple twist and the benefits are:
- Lie on your back with your head level, and bring your knees to your chest.
- Hold your knees and roll over to the right side, keeping your knees bent at a right angle and let them rest on the bed.
- Slide your left hand to your waist and allow your elbow to rest back, creating a gentle twist to your spine. You can lengthen your arm out beside you, if that is comfortable. If your knees come apart, put a pillow between them.
- Your head will turn toward the right side.
- Stay here for 2-4 minutes noticing your breath, and then do other side.
*If this in any way hurts, come out of pose.
Let me know in the comments below how this works for you. Were you more relaxed going to sleep? Was your mind quieter? If it did not help, what do you think happened?