Are You Feeling Sleepy?
In the middle of the work day, an incoming call interrupts you nodding off at your desk–again. During the afternoon meeting, you struggle to concentrate and keep losing focus. At the end of a long day, head against the pillow, you lie awake listening to the tick of the alarm clock, exhausted but unable to fall asleep.
If these scenarios sound familiar to you, you’re not alone.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that 60 percent of American adults suffer sleep-related problems a few nights a week, and more than 40 percent adults experience daytime sleepiness that interferes with their daily activities. In addition, about 1 in 3 people will experience insomnia at some point in their lives. Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling asleep, awakening frequently during the night, awakening too early or not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
Having difficulty sleeping is more than just frustrating – loss of sleep can lead to lost productivity, poor mental, physical and emotional health, and even physical danger such as nodding off while driving. Chronic insomnia is also a major factor in the development of obesity, depression, anxiety, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
When friends see you looking tired and worn-down, they may offer you the well-meaning advice, “You just need more sleep!” But even a full night of poor sleep can still leave you feeling fatigued. What you really need is better quality sleep. But how can you get it?
Meditation for Better Sleep Quality
When sleep problems become a never-ending nightly struggle, many people are forced to turn to sleep medications to get precious rest. However, these drugs are usually costly and highly addictive. In fact, due to their habit-forming tendency, most of these medications can only be prescribed for a few weeks at a time, with no guarantee that they will provide a lasting solution.
More natural methods of treatment include dietary and behavioral changes such as getting more exercise and avoiding naps and stimulants. These methods pose less risk and can prove beneficial in alleviating insomnia symptoms. In addition to these simple changes, regular practice of yoga and meditation has been shown to be effective in relieving insomnia, primarily by reducing stress and anxiety, resulting in better quality of sleep.
Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya is a powerful and purifying energy technique using the breath. This practice aligns your entire system so that your body, mind and emotions function in harmony, establishing a chemistry of blissfulness within you.
Kriya is type of meditative yoga which uses the breath and the body’s own energy. Practiced in a simple seated asana, or posture, the Shambhavi kriya gives you the access to your deepest life energies and makes it vibrantly alive. It does not require any physical fitness or previous knowledge of yoga and is easy to integrate into any lifestyle.
The Shambhavi meditation takes just 21 minutes a day to practice. Right now, you may be losing several hours of your day to lost sleep and lost focus. But by investing just 21 minutes, you can regain those lost hours and, even better, you’ll perform all your activities more efficiently and effectively. Additional benefits of Shambhavi include:
- Improved sleep quality and increased energy levels
- Helps purify the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, space) in the body leading to pleasantness in the body, mind and emotion
- Relief from chronic ailments
- Access to the intelligence and competence within, which is the very source of creation
- Greater peace and joy in everyday life
Shambhavi is taught as part of a process called Inner Engineering. You can learn the Shambhavi meditation two ways – either during a live Inner Engineering course offered by an Isha Yoga teacher, or at a live Shambhavi program after you finish the Inner Engineering Online course. Inner Engineering Online is a powerful and comprehensive program by itself; however, incorporating the daily practice of Shambhavi can help you to deepen the experiential aspect of the course, and it offers additional supportive health benefits.
Shambhavi and Sleep Research
Surveys and scientific studies have been conducted on practitioners of Shambhavi Kriya (SK), demonstrating the practice’s numerous benefits for health and wellbeing, including improved sleep quality.
A study was conducted with 21 practitioners and 21 non-practitioners of SK for sleep quality. Parameters for percentage of REM sleep, REM latency, and sleep onset latency were significantly improved for practitioners. REM (rapid eye movement) sleep has been associated with greater learning and mood stability. The numbers for REM sleep indicated a 2-fold improvement amongst practitioners. Similarly, REM latency (the amount of time to get into REM sleep) was reduced 3-fold amongst practitioners. Finally, the Sleep Onset Latency (the time it takes to fall asleep) was reduced almost 8-fold. Taken together, this data demonstrates that those practicing SK have a greater percentage of REM sleep, take less time getting into REM sleep, and take less time falling asleep.
A separate health survey was conducted on Isha yoga practitioners regarding the impact of the practices on their health. For those suffering from insomnia, 41 out of 49 respondents indicated an improvement in their condition. Out of those indicating improvement, 40% partially reduced their medication while another 30% were able to stop their medication. These numbers indicate that regular practice of SK could be very effective for those suffering from insomnia.
Considering the research and survey findings, it’s clear that regular practice of Shambhavi Kriya has a strongly positive impact on sleep for the majority of practitioners. It improved the quality of sleep and reduced insomnia. The average adult’s sleep consists of 20% REM sleep whereas the average infant’s sleep consists of 50% REM sleep. Therefore, it’s likely that regular practice of Shambhavi Kriya could help you “sleep like a baby”.
How Meditation Helps You Sleep
The Shambhavi meditation helps you to achieve better quality sleep by keeping the system relaxed throughout the day and night. When the body and mind are kept in a deep state of relaxation, no matter what your daily activity is, you will experience increased energy throughout your day and more restful sleep at night.
Sadhguru Vasudev, creator of the Inner Engineering program, explains further:
“What is necessary right now is to keep your system in such a way that it is relaxed by itself, and activity does not take a toll on it. You may be physically exhausted, but you need not be stressed. It is necessary to keep the system this way. You can’t slow down your system at the cost of activity. But you’re so relaxed that you can’t do any activity – that’s no good either. For this, there is a technology; there is a whole system to make this happen. If you start certain simple practices of yoga, I would say that within 3 to 4 months your pulse rate would have dropped by at least 8 to 20 counts. The body would run more efficiently and at a relaxed pace.
What time you go to bed depends on your lifestyle. What matters is the number of hours of sleep you need. I know there is a lot of talk that you must sleep for eight hours a day. What the body needs is not sleep, but restfulness, relaxation. If you keep your body very relaxed and loose throughout the day, if your work, your exercise, are all forms of relaxation for you, your sleep quota will go down naturally. People want to do everything in tension. I see people walking in the park tensed, you know. Now this kind of exercise may be causing more harm to you than well-being, because you are going at everything like it’s a war. Why don’t you walk easy? Whether you walk or jog, why can’t you do it easily, joyfully?”
“Participating in this Isha program was nothing short of life transforming. During the program, I could see shifts taking place within me at many different levels…Over time, I found that the quality of my sleep was so much better than it had ever been. I also needed only about 5 hours of sleep. I stopped having the afternoon crashes and my energy throughout the day was much higher and also consistent. I found myself able to concentrate better on everything I was doing and not be so anxious about the things I needed to do. I used to dwell in the past so much that it had become debilitating. Over time, I experienced a certain lightness and freedom within as the number of thoughts decreased and found myself able to just ‘be.’ ” – Daxa Patel
“Since incorporating Inner Engineering practices into my life, I have experienced many health benefits. I sleep soundly now after years of interrupted sleep. I find I need less sleep but am more energetic throughout the day. I had some problems with gastrointestinal discomfort, which has completely disappeared. I had a reasonably weak immune system-I would catch every cold/flu my daughter brought home, plus exposed to illness working in health care. In the past several years since practices, I rarely get sick. I’m in the best shape of my life.” – Leslie Crespi
This month, on Oct 24-25, Sadhguru will be offering the powerful Shambhavi Mahamudra kriya in Santa Clara, California. This 1 1/2 day program is a rare opportunity to learn this life transforming practice directly from Sadhguru. The program has been experienced by thousands of people in North America and worldwide. Click to Learn More or View other Upcoming Shambhavi Programs