If you’re living a high-stress life (who isn’t right?) and 2019 is the year you tell yourself you’re finally going to put self-care at the top of your list of to-dos, do this. Sign up for a sleep yoga class where you’ll receive a guided session on dealing with your problems, and also get take-home techniques you can practice to relieve stress and sleep better.
We tried the Sleep Yoga and Sound Healing class at OhanaJo Studio recently, and the techniques we learnt taught us how to “let go”, so to speak, and wind down. Herinspirasi asked wellness expert, yoga teacher and the owner of OhanaJo Studio, Jojo Struys, to tell us how we can use sleep yoga and sound healing to relieve stress and sleep better.
First, do I get to sleep in class?
Jojo: “I always tell people not to be ‘fooled’ by the title because it’s not a sleeping class. Yet it can be scientifically equivalent to four hours of sleep! It’s amazing how much healing occurs when the body is in a state of complete relaxation. It’s not easy to ‘let go’ because the mind is always so busy, which is why this session covers a variety of mindfulness and meditative techniques to help people wind down and really connect with themselves.”
Describe the class for us
“Our Sleep Yoga sessions are much like an event as they only occur once in a month and they’re like inner journeys with different themes each time (for example, we’ve covered themes like gratitude, connecting with your inner child, bringing in the energy of the ‘new’ or a letting go session that works with a specific emotion, like anger or jealousy, which needs to be released in one’s life. They last about 2 hours and 15 minutes and they finish off in an immersive sound bath with gongs, crystal bowls, Tibetan bells, chimes, etc.”
So how does it help me, exactly?
In the class, Jojo took us through several stages, from seated and standing poses, breathing actions and then, to a visualization exercise. During this exercise we are seated with eyes closed (and later lying down) and listening to her soothing words guiding us to imagine images, scenes and actions that are meant to evoke a sense of acceptance, letting go and serenity.
Jojo says “In this state of relaxation and bliss, you have the power to subconsciously plant new seeds of positive energy and fresh ideas to reprogramme and break negative thought patterns from the past. It’s truly all about letting go of everything that no longer serves you so that you can be completely immersed in the present moment in total mind-body relaxation & internal peace.”
We eventually reach the ‘savasana’ pose, where Jojo says the heart rate slows down, and “you completely relax the body, mind and soul.”
If you’re looking forwards to wake up fresh and full of energy, try these yoga moves you can do in bed.
How does this help me relieve stress and sleep better?
“Being in a state of total relaxation can alleviate anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia and hypertension. It can also improve the quality of your sleep and the body’s immune system. When we let go of stress and surrender to this deeply relaxed state of consciousness, physical, mental and emotional healing occurs right down to the cellular level. Endorphins, which are the body’s happy hormones, also get released. These natural painkillers are triggered by states of joy and studies have claimed that they can expedite healing and reduce pain.
Jojo showed us two techniques to help us sleep better and alleviate stressful situations at work:[tps_header]
What can I learn from class to practice at home to get better sleep?
“Slow down your breath and start relaxing all the muscles in your body, starting from the soles of your feet and making your way up the legs, the spinal column. Then, imagine relaxing all the muscles around the jaw, the cheeks, even relaxing the muscles behind your eyelids. Even relax your thoughts. Let them pass without any hold over you. Watch them like a witness.
“Really pay attention to your breath. The mind goes to wherever its attention is focused, so focus on your breathing and all things positive. What we think about just before we go to sleep can really affect the quality of our sleep. So never go to bed angry and review moments in your day that made you feel grateful. We often practice gratitude in our opening grounding meditation and this really helps to melt away anger, resentment and tension because it also opens the heart chakra or ‘energy center’. It’s a much better frame of mind to be in at bedtime.”
Swipe for a great tip on relieving a stressful situation at the office: