Sweet Dreams: yoga breathing to help you switch off, by Kirsty Gallacher

I hope this finds you all well and growing wonderfully bright babies by keeping up your iodine intake, as per recent BBC news. I'm tempted to add that we should take it with a pinch of salt :-) but let's see what further research has to say...

There are some very useful yoga technqiues to help you with a better sleep. Just a word of caution - with any breathing techniques your breath should always be smooth, even, and comfortable. Ujjayi breathing is a great technique to help you connect to your breath, hearing softly ebbing and flowing. No straining or forcing. If you do experience any discomfort, tension or unease, stop the practice, return to your natural breath, and let me know via the yogahome email: info@yogahome.com


Another yoga technique you can try is counting backwards - a bit like counting sheep in fact. Once you've spent a few moments settling your body, as we do in class for relaxation, become aware of your natural breath. Simply follow the flow of breath in and out, notice the coolness of the air around the nostrils as you breathe in and the contrasting warmth of the air as you breathe out. When you're ready begin to count down with silent repetition, like this "27 breathing in, 27 breathing out, 26 breathing in, 26 breathing out..." and so on.


In the Satyananda yoga tradition, where I learnt this technique, you begin at 27, or 54, or 108, because these numbers are considered ausipicious. But you could equally begin with 10, or 50, or 100. If your mind drifts off after a few repetitions, don't worry, acknowledge any thoughts that have arisen, then let them go and return '27', or whatever number you began with, and begin to count backwards with the breath again. Sometimes you experience a moment of hesitation, uncertainty about the next number, again don't worry, it's an indication that you were about to drift away from the counting, so begin again at '27'. It doesn't matter if you never reach the end of your countdown, hopefully, after a few restarts, your mind will give up thinking about stuff, and you'll drift off to sleep.


Go well everyone.

Hari Om