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The end of September:

These last couple of weeks of September have been INSANE! It’s just assignment after assignment and I can just barely keep up with everything that I need to be doing between all the readings in each class and all the assignments. Because of this I have been having trouble prioritizing any time for myself at all, let alone to do a full yoga class.

I found that a lot of my stress typically piles up at night as I see my unfinished to-do list but still chose to go to bed because sleep is very also very important (and it’s usually around midnight anyway). I find myself tossing and turning as I worry about the things I should have done throughout the day and how on earth I will find the time to catch up because there is already another full to-do list waiting for me tomorrow.

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Alleviating Night-Time Stresses

I recalled my learnings from my initial yoga research and my Indigenous-minded yoga class about how breathing and controlling your breathing is a crucial component of yoga. So, I decided if I can’t prioritize a full yoga class, let’s break it down and focus on just one part. So, I chose breathing.

Where to start?

I remember in the yoga class I did we did a lot of “Siitkari Kumbhaka or the hissing breath” which is where you “Inhale through the nose, hold your breath for eight seconds and exhale through the mouth, while resting your teeth on your tongue and producing the sound s-s-s with your tongue. In addition to reduced pitta (heat), benefits include purification of the senses”

I decided that I didn’t really want to do this breathing to calm myself down at night because I felt like there was maybe other breathing strategies out there that could be better AND I don’t want my roommate to think I’m crazy for hissing every night before bed.

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So, I decided to keep looking and found a site that has yoga breathing specifically for sleeping. This site suggested three different ideas:

  1. Couting your exhalations
  2. Lengthening your exhalations
  3. Left nostril breathing

In case anyone is as confused as I was, left nostril breathing is all about how “The left side of our body represents the moon channel; the more cooling and introverted aspects of ourselves. The right side represents the sun channel with more heating and extroverted characteristics. In this technique, lie on your right side, and with your right thumb block your right nostril. As you breathe in and out of your left nostril, feel how you are cooling and calming your body.”

Giving it a go:

I sort of have mixed feelings about each of these strategies. When I first start doing them, I can definitely feel myself calming down and my heart rate slowing. But then even if I am really focusing on my breathing or counting my exhales my mind still seems to wander off and think about everything I am stressed about. I realize that this is my first time really focusing and working on it so maybe it takes time?