What Yoga Does to Your Sleep. ~ Max Zografos

Via elephant journal
on Feb 8, 2012
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Have you slept enough this year?

I just finished a Jivamukti Yoga master-class week in New York. Didn’t have much time for reflection, let alone writing. Upon completion I left the studio and rushed to JFK for my flight. I played an audio book for an hour, and watched a podcast until my brain gave up. I took a nap.

Twenty minutes later. Eyes opened. Expanded wonder.

Life is temporary. I have another fifty years, sixty even (best case scenario…if I stay vegan and don’t get hit by a bus).

 I occasionally woke up with existential panic over the years.

4AM, stillness, eyes wide open, alarming questions bubbling up,

“Am I really going to die?”

“What does this mean?” Uncertainty, despair.

But it was different this time around. A twenty-minute nap in a noisy cabin was enough for such profound thoughts to manifest. And it was nothing like panic. It was serene, beautiful, liberating. I was more receptive. Never experienced anything like it.

During the course, Sharon Gannon described the gift of sleep in a particularly insightful way. Sleep is our link to the source, our connection to God. Our body needs this connection. Can’t survive without it. Sleep is a form of meditation.

Practicing Yoga four hours each day for a week opened me up. Sure enough the spine feels more supple, posture straighter, focus sharper. Yet what made all the difference was the vibrations, my consciousness.

I love yoga.

What about you? Has Yoga created any new meaning to your sleep?

Creatively maladjusted author and blogger, Jivamukti yogi, ethical diet advocate and corporate drone, Max Zografos loiters internet cafes, libraries (anywhere with a roof and Wi-Fi really) for hours on end until he finds inspiration to write or gets kicked out, whichever comes first. You can find him on his website.
This article was prepared by Aminda Courtwright, Assistant Yoga Editor.


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8 Responses to “What Yoga Does to Your Sleep. ~ Max Zografos”

  1. ray says:

    Interesting. When I awake in the middle of the night, my thoughts tend to be: "am I going to be able to get back to sleep?", "how annoying", "why can't I sleep better?".

  2. maxzografos says:

    Thanks for your comment Ray, do you practice Yoga? After exercise I usually have no trouble sleeping… its the days I don't that I have trouble with sleep.

  3. Harleigh Quinn says:

    The true purpose of sleep is to reset the brain.
    To allow it to tabulate, organize, and delete (the unnecessary) information accumulated during the day.
    It can be argued the same thing can be done in a deep meditative practice, yet I have rarely met anyone that has actually accomplished that….

  4. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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  5. maxzografos says:

    Thanks Harleigh. I tend to feel so much refreshed and focused after meditation (when it goes well), almost as if I had a long nap. I'm nowhere near able to replace my sleep with deep meditation of course. But I've heard people do that (Yoga Nidra for example?)

  6. I use yoga nidra as a supplement to sleep — changed my life! and like you I usually feel refreshed after meditation.

  7. maxzografos says:

    Thanks ! interesting… how do you incorporate yoga Nidra in your day? I'd love to try it out at some point…

  8. […] Yoga will will help you sleep because it reduces stress, which is usually a major part of keeping us awake at night. […]