Trouble falling asleep, hours after hours lying awake at night, tossing, turning, feeling restless, worried or stressed? Meditation might help.
From my own experience as a yoga teacher and evident in my classes it has happened numerous times that students have complained about difficulties going to sleep at night only to fall asleep during Savasana (relaxation/meditation). Despite the aim of Savasana being to stay consciously awake whilst resting, there is nothing wrong with someone falling asleep during the relaxation and meditation phase of a class.
If you are worried or a specific matter is in the back of your mind, set a few minutes aside, focus on what it is, write down your thoughts or worries, figure out what the worst outcome could be if it was to play out the way you think or worry about – in most cases it is never as bad as it seems – and then let it go. At least for a while. You can always come back to it later.
Lie down in a quiet, comfortable, (if possible dark) space where you feel safe and undisturbed. Turn your mobile phone on silent or even better keep it away from your chosen space.
Close your eyes and start to focus on your breath. Breathing in through your nose and out through your nose. Take a few (20 or so) rounds of breath to find your own rhythm of breathing. If your mind is (still) busy, try silently saying to yourself “I am breathing in” as you are inhaling and “I am breathing out” as you are exhaling. Continue breathing in your own rhythm and start to notice the quality of your breath. Notice whether your breathing is short and shallow into your chest area or long and deep into your belly area. Maybe even try placing your left hand over your chest and heart space and your right hand on your belly. Observe your breath for a little bit longer and notice whether your abdomen is relaxing and your belly swelling as you breathe in and then feel it flattening down as you breathe out. Try to notice and connect to your heart beat. Maybe feeling, maybe even hearing your heartbeat. The intention is to stay aware focusing on your breath and your heartbeat.
Whilst it might be difficult during the first few attempts, keep trying and simply come back to your intention of letting go of thoughts yet staying aware of your breathing and your heart beating. Even noticing that your thoughts are drifting is progress.
The more you practice the easier it will become.