Did you know astronauts nap? While two fly the plane one takes a 40 minute nap. NASA found that for 26 minutes of that time the astronaut was asleep and the entire 40 minutes boosted their performance by 34% and their alertness by 54 percent.
This got me thinking about all those “stop” signs I went through when my kids were young and I was severely sleep deprived and how a 40 minute nap could have been my ticket to… well, less tickets.
Lately I’ve been obsessed with napping, of sorts. Not the fall flat-on-your-face-and-collapse nap (I know those all too well). I’m obsessed with a lesser known nap, a nap that has the power to knock-your-physical/mental/spiritual socks off called yoga nidra.
Every time I mention “yoga nidra” I feel like a school girl who has developed a really big crush on the high school star quarterback: I can’t stop thinking about it.
What is yoga nidra? I thought you’d never ask! (can you see me jumping up and down with my cheerleader skort on?). Yoga nidra is a powerful ancient relaxation technique originating from the Tantras. If you do yoga think shavasana, those final 5 or 10 minutes where the instructor has you lying flat-out on your back and you’re thinking “more, please give me more.”
In yoga nidra the body, mind and intellect are completely relaxed and one appears to be sleeping but the consciousness is functioning at a deeper level, and the subconscious and unconscious realms of mind get opened up. And once that happens – watch out -the mind is much more receptive than when it’s just in a wakeful state. Just about anything can happen.
Like what? Yoga nidra has been known to increase creativity (yes, I wrote my play while doing regular yoga nidra!), cure disease (I haven’t met anyone personally but I’ve read lots of anecdotes), heal trauma (OMG – this is essential for moms with birth trauma), and to realize your True Self, which I understand doesn’t mean much to many people but believe me when you’re on the journey to True Self life is a lot happier.
But if none of this interests you, if you think, I’ll pass, I’m fine without a nap, I don’t have time for a nap, I’m not a napper, which is everything I felt before napping, then consider this:
A SINGLE HOUR OF YOGA NIDRA IS AS RESTFUL AND REFRESHING AS FOUR HOURS OF CONVENTIONAL SLEEP.
I don’t know about you, but for this mom (me!) the concept of getting four hours of sleep for one rocks my world.
I know this and yet I’m not napping every day. Work, kids, laundry, soccer practice, dinner, and maybe a peak at American Idol were my excuses last week. And now I’m wondering what are going to be my excuses this week?
This weekend I finally had enough of my napping pity party. No more excuses! Here’s my challenge to myself, but also to you moms out there. Let’s take one yoga nidra nap every day for one year and see what happens. Starting Mothers Day this year I’m going for it. If you want to go for it too keep reading this blog and I will post more about yoga nidra and what yoga nidra tapes I’m using every week and we can do it together. Heck, I even think I’m going to invite moms in my neighborhood over to nap with me. Why nap alone?
Over the next few weeks I’ll teach you the principles behind yoga nidra and help get you started on your home practice. And then on Mothers Day we’ll start. Or I’ll start. But hopefully you will too.
Yoga nidra is superb for pregnant moms, exhausted mom (I know, that’s all of us), older moms (that’s you, grandma) and any woman mothering someone. We deserve this nap.
Astronauts don’t have to be the only ones who take power naps.