Monday, January 12, 2009

Feeling sleepy while meditating

A visitor friend to this blog, Mitra, commented in the previous blog that a meditation which leads to sleep wouldn't be a right way of meditating. I pondered on it and here are my thoughts on when I actually fall asleep while meditating:

1) If you go back to my first formal experiment on meditation in February 2008, in most of these meditations, I was falling asleep. I didn't know why that was happening then.. now I do. I was sleeping 4-5 hrs a day during that period during the week and around 10 hrs a day during the weekend.
The lack of sleep was intensified when I meditated.
So here's my intuition or insight on falling asleep during meditation: If you are very tired or have a sleep deficit (i.e. not having slept properly during the past few days), then when you meditate, you would tend to fall asleep almost immediately.
This is good, it is a sign from your body, that you need to give it the adequate rest, which for some reason, you have been evading.

2) Today morning for example, I woke up refreshed and when I meditated for 25 minutes, I felt relaxed and alert, no hints of drowsiness. Ofcourse, I didn't just jump to meditation, I did my usual morning rituals and got down to meditation.

3) Meditation can be used as an aid to fall asleep if for some reason, sleep evades you. I had some problems falling asleep during the time I began meditating (Feb - March 2008), so meditating in the night helped me fall asleep quicker.
Another aid to fall asleep is deep relaxation/shavasana. Shavasana or corpse posture in yoga is usually performed towards the end of a yoga session to relax and refresh the body.
This blog has some nice relaxation/meditation techniques including the shavasana technique.
A good article on staying awake during meditation.

Establishing a meditation routine
A good online course on meditation, which I subscribed to through email is Jeanie Marshall's Meditate now course. This course helped me establish a daily meditation routine. The meditation technique in this course is based on focusing on your breath, also known as ana-pana-sati, a buddhist meditation technique. So if you are reading this line and are interested in meditation, my suggestion would be to jump right ahead and subscribe to this course; it is free and will give you a taste of meditation.


mitra said...

As you mentioned, a good sleep can improve the quality of your meditation and vice versa. But as far as I know, meditation is not a substitute for sleep. They are different states and one cannot be replaced with the other.

Binaural beats maybe helpful in inducing sleep.

karthik said...

Hmm.. some yogis have been known to live on meditation.. literally... but that is too unpracntical.
Practically, meditation is known to be as restful or even more restful than sleep... it has to do with theta waves being generated in the brain during meditation.

pragathi said...

initially when i started out with meditation i had very good visions, signs, symbols been given and past life visions too
there was a happy feeling and would not feel like coming out of the meditation.
but recently im feeling sleepy all the while
its disappointing.
i think the weather also matters and the vibration around