Let's face it, we live in a society that values how much we do. While checking something off a list can feel close to euphoric for some, so can a good balanced night of sleep. Or ten. That's where Eli Cohen comes in. On Saturday, he'll be teaching a series of Qigong - a moving meditation practice for energy management - at The Center SF geared towards promoting good sleep, and better energetic balance overall.
Why does this work? While the science of Chinese Medicine is technical and detailed, generally speaking, one could say that our sleep patterns can become interrupted when the body is out of yin-yang balance. When we're over-running our fiery heart energy - doing a lot without periods of contemplation and relaxation between - we become over-exerted and it's difficult to cool down. And when we're in the season of summer, which according to Chinese tradition is the season of fire, understanding how to cool ourselves down is crucial. And if the fires are already burning up here in SF...? Well, I'll just see you at Eli's class on Saturday.
We asked Eli, who couples his Qigong teaching with private health coaching, for his 4 essential tips for good sleep:
1. The first and most important step towards healthy sleep is giving yourself 6-8 hours every night, which may mean a lifestyle change or re-prioritization especially if you’re working late hours close to your bedtime. Set boundaries for yourself and avoid too much mental stimulation within 2 hours of bedtime, so as to not raise Yang in your body.
2. Don’t do things that are emotionally agitating before bed -- like having an argument or watching a horror or violent film. In TCM Emotional stress is Yang, lighting the fire and increasing inflammation in the body and taxing the kidneys.
3. Eat the last meal of the day during daylight hours, which is important to ensure your body isn’t spending all of its energy digesting food during the critical first few slow-wave sleep hours.
4. Turn down the lights and avoiding exposure to bright light a few hours before bed will allow your sleep hormones to kick in, preparing you for Good Zzzz’s.
Post written for SFYogaMag.com