This is a guest post by Suzanne Selby Grenager. Suzanne is the author of Bare Naked at the Reality Dance, a real-time look at the guts it takes to strip down, step up and make the difference we’re all born and dying to make. A former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist, published in Yoga Journal, Suzanne was an early Kripalu Yoga teacher and leader and is certified in the body-mind-spirit Rubenfeld Synergy Method. She invites you to enjoy audio clips and PDF downloads of her new book at www.suzannegrenager.com
The single most important resolution, the Queen of resolutions, is well within your grasp, any night of the week.
It’s a far easier habit to form than skipping cookies or skipping rope. And it’s helped motivate me to do those harder things like dieting, working out and working hard.
It’s even got the imprimatur of double blind scientific studies to back it up.
It’s called sleep, of course, and I’m here to tout it, and a related practice, as the next best things to sliced bread, and less fattening, too.
You’ve likely read the boring research suggesting people who get enough sleep are more efficient at work, safer drivers, have sexier skin—better sex—and the list goes on. But it doesn’t include the single most important benefit, which effects absolutely everything. And I’m going to speak altogether personally here. When I get enough sleep, I get inspired.
And when I get inspired, whatever I do all day long is sparked by a deep inner connection to Source that keeps me motivated and happy to be alive. When I skimp even a little on my eight to nine hours a night, I become a whole different woman whom I don’t love to be.
An example just this week:
I am in the hugely challenging throes of promoting my wild and woolly new book Bare Naked at the Reality Dance. The good news is I am very happy with the book itself. I love the design and I am now confident about the content, which I used to fear was so honest it would put readers off.
Now enough people have finished it for me to know they find my honesty empowering. The problem is, only seven weeks in, I find myself way too attached to how well the book sells.
I can’t stand to look at my Amazon ranking or view the weekly sales results my consultant sends. Yesterday, when I did look and saw the dismal numbers for the week before, I went into quite the funk. I hadn’t slept well the night before and I hadn’t done the deep breathing exercise that is my icing on the cake of a good night’s sleep.
This morning after a better sleep, I did the critical breathing, and the bad news that bothered me yesterday, which got compounded by more not so great news today, is barely interfering with the inspiration I feel as I write this post.
What’s the breathing? It’s called the Ujjayi yoga breath. After I wake up, I roll over onto my back and support my knees with pillows. Using the throat as a suction pump to draw air in, I take deep controlled breaths through my nose, making a soft sound in the back of my throat.
I fill and empty the chest fully and, when I am done, I have often moved from the mild sense of dread I can wake up with to a feeling bordering on exhilaration. The sleep, together with the Ujjayi, make my day, by making a new woman of me. If you want to join me and aren’t sure how, take a yoga class, or connect with me through my website.
Here is a video demonstrating Ujjayi yoga breath: