MEditation before bedtime benefits both the physical body (helps it to relax) and the spiritual state of a person, bringing the psyche into balance, dumping all the negative accumulated during the day, in order to start a new day from scratch in the morning emotionally and spiritually. In this article, we will briefly explain what meditation is for and what types of it are best to practice before bed.
What is meditation? Meditation is yoga. By doing meditation, you are practicing yoga! Surprised thought that meditation – this is not yoga, is it meditation? You think correctly, but in yogic teaching there is also a place for meditation, and it does not take the last place there: the practice of dhyana – preparation for samadhi, the state of oneness with the Absolute – is nothing but meditation.
Remember that yoga has eight parts, and not one, as is often assumed when associating the word “yoga” with asanas. Asanas are just one aspect of the practice of yoga teaching, and through asanas you prepare for meditation practices and pranayama, which in turn is also meditation using control and concentration on the breath as a tool for immersion in the state of dissolving your ego while concentrating on the breathing process, but we’ll talk about this later. And now let’s return to where we started – to yoga and to what Patanjali himself, the founding father of this teaching, writes. He, being a practitioner, at the same time explained his teaching theoretically, gave him a description in yoga sutras, the first of which begins with the words “Athayoganushasanam”, which can be translated as “now begins the study of yoga,” where atha means ‘now’, yoga – ‘the science of yoga’, anushasanam – ‘discipline, or set of rules’.
Just look, analyze the beginning of the sutras: “now the study of yoga begins”, or “comprehension of the discipline of yoga.” “Now” is the word that all spiritual teachers constantly talk about, and they quite justifiably emphasize its importance, because there is power in the present moment, and at this moment we begin to comprehend yoga. Through the practice and discipline of body and mind, we understand ourselves and the world, since it is impossible to know the world without knowing ourselves. It is when you come to oneness with yourself that you truly understand others. For you, the words about the unity of all things cease to be a simple, beautifully spoken, pretentious phrase that often sounds at spiritual seminars without any practical support.
Through yoga practice, mastering meditation, the power of the present moment will finally open up to you, because you will learn to be alone and not be eaten by boredom. After all, why then, when we are alone, do many thoughts swarm in our head? This comes from our inability to be alone, in real loneliness, when even thoughts cannot keep us company. Scared to be alone with emptiness? It is good that you are brave to admit it to yourself. Many people are scared because they have never experienced anything like this in their lives. But once you find yourself in this emptiness, you will never be afraid and understand that there is neither loneliness nor boredom. They are just excuses for our mind in order to again make it do something, think hard, stay within the existing logic and not accept the possibility of comprehending the world, making a quantum leap in consciousness.
You will understand that through meditation you come to real freedom of the mind, freedom from the thought process, which is so difficult to stop. Are you free, thinking constantly, hourly – even about little things, but your mind is constantly loaded with the scrolling of some thoughts? It cannot be freedom, you are trapped in the thought process. In the practice of meditation, you will learn what real spiritual freedom is in this place and in the present moment. Therefore, repeating “Ata yoganushasanam” after Patanjali, now we begin to study yoga through its aspect – meditation before bedtime.
Taking into account the fact that only through meditation a person makes discoveries, comes to an understanding of the truth, you need to consciously practice it. Perhaps the great scientists and inventors, poets and musicians did this unconsciously, creating their works and making discoveries, but at the moment of condescension to what we call a brilliant idea, they were in a state of meditation.
It is not at all necessary to sit in the Lotus position, padmasana, with your fingers folded in jnana mudra on your knees. Being in a state of meditation can be spontaneous. You most likely experienced this when it seemed to you that time had stopped, but you realized this not at that very moment, but later, when you had already left this strange state and, looking back, realized that something unusual had happened. This state, which is characterized by the fact that the flow of thoughts is stopped and your mind becomes clear – then there is space in it for understanding something truly great. When the bowl is full, there is nothing to add to it – this is a well-known aphorism. You need to empty the cup from past experiences and ideas in order to fill it with new and true.
The best meditation before bed is the practice of mindfulness, controlled breathing, or yoga nidra; it will be discussed in the next section. Meditation before bed will be of great benefit to the mind and body, it will help:
- calm down,
- relax the body,
- get ready for bed,
- clear thoughts,
- become aware of your current state,
- feel the connection with the higher “I”.
Conscious meditation and the transition to the state of emptiness of the mind, its original emptiness, is the state that is achieved through long-term practice. You cannot get great results from listening to meditation music. You can listen to it, but this is only a process of preparation for a more serious stage of practice. Music will help calm the nerves, slow down the internal rhythms, but the task of the meditation process goes much further than the usual physiological and psychological rest.
It is about the complete dissolution of consciousness in the One, the Absolute, the Universe. You can call it what you want, the meaning does not change from this – you and the universe become one, but in order for this to happen, you need to practice meditation on a regular basis.
One of the best practices of meditation before bedtime will be the practice of yoga nidra – it is called “yoga for sleep”, because it is even recommended to do it for the coming sleep, and this will contribute to a more fulfilling sleep and a conscious process of falling asleep, preventing “falling through” into a dream. Practitioners of this type of meditation before bedtime agree in their responses that, from a purely practical point of view, their sleep has become deeper, they wake up vigorous, and the time spent on the dream itself is significantly reduced. It turns out that the quality of sleep only benefits. This saves sleep time.
These are only the effects of the execution visible on the surface. yoga nidras before bedtime. Others are hidden from view, but their power lies in the fact that in the process of meditation you find the key to your subconscious. By immersing yourself in meditation before sleep, but not allowing the brain to go to work in deep theta rhythms corresponding to sleep, you remain aware, while your senses are disabled: they do not respond to external stimuli, thereby not interfering with the process of access to the subconscious …
The release of complexes accumulated in the subconscious, the removal of blocks is what the process of psychotherapy strives for, but this takes many months of many hours of sessions, leading to mediocre results, because often the psychologist is not able to reveal the problem, working with the client completely at the level of consciousness … In yoga nidra, the process is aimed at reaching directly to the subconscious without intermediaries, so the results are overwhelming.
Those who once felt the effect of removing at least one block will understand what state of lightness we are talking about here. With the help of yoga nidra, access to the depths of the subconscious is open, and many psychological problems can be resolved on their own in a short time.
However, yoga nidra is not the only meditation tool to help you fall asleep. A very effective remedy can be the practice of some soothing pranayamas performed in the evening before bed. The very focus on the breathing process already calms and slows down the physiological rhythms of the body.
Concentrating on inhaling and exhaling helps to calm the mind, its mental activity decreases, at the same time thoughts cease to fill the head. A big plus of meditations using pranayamas as a tool for concentration is that you do not need to consciously control the thought process, observing thoughts, letting them calm down and gradually, in the pauses between the appearance of one thought after another, catching this space of silence, falling into which and there is the goal of the meditator.
With the help of meditation, where pranayama acts as the main tool, there are initially no side thoughts, since you completely concentrate on the breath and observe only it. As long as you are really doing this, no other thoughts can arise. As soon as you are distracted, you will immediately notice that some thought has crept into consciousness; but it’s okay, just switch back to observing, feeling the breathing process and continue this meditation.
With the help of the practice of pranayama, you will achieve significant results in meditation, bringing closer the goal of merging consciousness with the Supreme, when thoughts generally cease to exist for you, as well as consciousness itself. But this is already the final stage of meditation practices, and you yourself must decide for yourself whether you want to go so far or whether you will be completely satisfied with the results already achieved to calm the mind and move to a new level of awareness.
Practice meditation regularly – and the results will not be long in coming!