Can't Sleep? Try This Yoga Breath Sequence

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This is what I've been doing the past few nights to help put myself to sleep. Whether it just works very, very well or I am just very, very tired... I can't say. Probably a combination of both. Either way, this is a good tool to help students (and yourself) focus on your breath during final relaxation or Savasana.

1. Begin by closing your eyes and bringing the breath into and out of the nose. Start by focusing on the breath and the sensation of the breath entering and exiting the nose. What part of the nostrils does the air touch on inhales and exhales? Do you smell anything while you breathe? Is there a different smell on exhales? Be fully present in your breath.

2. Now take the awareness into what you see while your eyes are closed. Do you see splotches of light? Colors? Dots? What do you still when you eyes are closed?

3. Against the back of your eyelids, see the numbers 1-10 lining up against the back of your eyes. The number one appears to be in the right corner of your right eye, the number 10 on the other side, appearing to be in the left corner of the left eye. The rest evenly line up in between.

4. Beginning with an exhale (that part is important! Have to begin on the exhale) count the number one and "see" the number one with your eyes closed. Inhale, keeping the "gaze" on the number one. Exhale, and shift the gaze to the number two that you are envisioning. Inhale on two. Exhale move to three, and continue until you inhale with your eyes seeing the 10 that you visualized in the left corner of the left eye.

5. If your mind wanders during the count, begin again at the number 1.

6. If you can make it to the number 10 without passing out, start again at one. If you can go through it twice without the mind wandering or with lots of restarts, are you really tired? Are you trying to go to sleep just because you think it's a good time to? Sleep can't be forced, but we can bring our bodies and minds into a state more open to it.

7. If you start to have those weird, loopy half-sleep thoughts as you count, don't push the counting. Isn't sleep the point?

I hope this works for you! I have a really lovely class intro meditation that pairs well with this... coming soon!

Sleep tight, my sweet yogis and yoginis!