When Rest Doesn't Feel Like Resting
Despite going to bed early after a long day, you may still wake up the next morning feeling tired. Is the 7-8 hours of sleep you get at night sufficient enough to be your only source of "rest"? It goes without saying that our minds and bodies endure a lot each day. We are bombarded with tasks and responsibilities that leave us feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Our minds remain active, shuffling through the list of to-dos in our brain even while relaxing because of our need to feel productive - but this is your reminder that resting is productive.
Notice habits which are enabling this overactive mind. While doom scrolling through social media on your phone or watching television while relaxing on the sofa may seem relaxing, your brain is still being stimulated throughout these seemingly restful moments. Taking the time to sufficiently rest our minds and bodies so that we can feel rested and rejuvenated is possible and can be achieved with habits which truly allow you to disconnect from the outside world, focus inward, or think about absolutely nothing at all (which is highly encouraged too if you're able to!)
The Bhramari Pranayama yogic breath work practice is a simple technique that can replace poor habits when you notice them hijacking your ability to truly rest. In Sanskrit, Bhramari is the name of a bumble bee. With this particular exercise, you actually buzz like a bee. It is an approachable breathing method that is very calming. It helps to slow down your breathing, heart rate, and pulse. This will allow you to fully relax and eventually fall asleep. Try this just before going to bed. Start in an upright seated fashion. Cover your eyes with your hands and gently plug your ears with your thumbs. With your mouth closed, draw in a breath through your nose to fill your lungs. When you exhale, create a humming sound with your mouth still closed. You will notice a buzzing vibration resonates through your head and body. Complete 7 rounds and take note of how you feel afterward.
Al Om, try the 52 Weeks of Pranayama on the YOGA365 App. This is a progressive course in the Yogic science of breath. Five minutes breathing segments, for daily or weekly practice.