How to Nap Like a Yogi
A simple variation of yoga nidra (yogic sleep) taught by Swami Rama can help you restore your energy.
By Rolf Sovik
When travel (or everyday life) wears you down, a simple variation of yoga nidra (yogic sleep) taught by Swami Rama can help you restore your energy. This practice helps you settle into a profound state of rest while remaining alert at a deeper level of consciousness. By drawing your attention to your heart center, you will become a silent witness to your sleeping body and mind.
- Choose a room where you will not be disturbed. Sit on the floor against a wall, stretching your legs out and crossing one ankle over the other. Cup your palms in your lap and, with your eyes closed, either allow your head to hang forward or to rest against the wall.
- Feel the relaxed movement of your breath, letting it flow easily and smoothly. Then observe 3 to 5 breaths at the nostrils, to center your mind.
- Next, one by one, rest your awareness (and breath) at the eyebrow center, then at the throat center, and finally the heart center.
- Keeping your awareness at the heart center, quietly resolve to let your body and mind sleep for a specified length of time (say, 10 minutes). Trust your mind to awaken you when that time has elapsed.
- As you sleep, continue to be aware of the merest sensation of the breath (but no mantra). You are simply letting your body sleep, with awareness.
- Stay in this state until your mind wakes you up. Then slowly shift your head and stretch your body. Draw your attention outward, opening your eyes into your hands and then to the room around you.
Rolf Sovik, PsyD, is co-author of Yoga: Mastering the Basics and is the director of the Himalayan Institute of Buffalo, New York.