March 2013 : Rest and recover
Personally I think life is beautiful and great. An underlying understanding from many philosophies is that life is full of suffering. Which it is, especially if you really look at all we go through. However, how do you approach this? I realize the temporariness of life. I am personally going through the difficulties and challenges of life. Yet somehow, everyday, I feel great and very upbeat, from deep within. This past week I got quite sick and a chest infection arose as a result. The real reason for getting hit hard was from not allowing myself enough sleep. And I knew this. In a way, I did not take good enough care of myself. Though I can get by on less sleep I will still push it. And by doing so all I do is add to the stress and challenge of this life. By giving myself enough sleep I can be in ‘la vita bella’. In fact, If I have 6 hours of sleep regularly it is almost dangerous, I can have too much energy! (For others, 7 or 8 hours maybe optimum). My point is, take care of yourself, nicely. Get enough sleep. Obviously I am talking to myself. There’s an old saying I used to hear growing up, “an hour before midnight is worth two after”. Along those lines, a recent report I read on sleep, based on scientific research, noted that the only way to make up for sleep deprivation was to go to bed early. Going to bed and sleeping long did not take care of it. Only early.
People often think I am an early morning person because of my yoga lifestyle. I have become so and choose to do so, as I see the value in it. However, by nature I am not and never was as a younger man and boy. The years of yoga training instilled early rising in me and I came to understand the beauty and benefit in being up early. Even now, I am still drawn to staying up late and going to bed even later. Based on the day in question, I get up late-ish (which to me means around 8am at the latest!) But on a regular routine of bed by 10:30 and rising at 4:30, I benefit the most. Recently, I would get up at my regular time but go to bed closer to midnight. There’s only so many weeks you can do that for. So have enough sleep and your brain and body will function better. As a result your spirit can express itself. (Through smiles at the least). Though your diet may be wonderful and you may do plenty of yoga practice, without enough sleep, fatigue will build up and undo all the benefits. So, on top of drinking enough water and making sure you breathe well throughout the day, (particularly watching the exhale), get enough sleep. Even a savasana in the middle of the day can help a lot. Something I have recently added in.
Finally though I must say, I will still get up and leave myself enough time to do pranayama, even if sleep has been reduced. The value I can get from 30 minutes of pranayama is worth much more than that time in the bed, given that I have to get up anyway. So sleep but make good use of your practice. And lastly, sleep well tonight.