Sleep is the moment of rejuvenation and the space of timelessness to incubate our mind. Yogic sleep empowers the mind to expand in consciousness.
Sleep quality affects the quality of our mind’s abilities to perceive, remember and produce optimal thoughts. Sleep resets our mind. The quality of sleep matters and is directly proportional to the wellbeing of our mind and body.
For a Yogi, sleep is a sacred moment. The vaster Consciousness is expanded, the deeper the sleep and lesser the time required to sleep.
Yogic deep sleep has no dreams. Time condenses requiring shorter time of needed sleep. Upon awakening from a yogic sleep it should feel a brand new moment filled in optimism, mind supercharged, body healed and each thought from clarity.
Turiya is attainment of yoga. Superconscious states of mind.
Yogis who master Consciousness are able to condense sleep to the extent of going beyond “sleep”, the state of turiya, called the sleepless sleep.
My experience of the states of turiya was with my Guru Ayya who meditated atop near the peak of Arunachala mountain. He drank a glass of milk a day, never moved and he never slept. I would climb up the mountain to be near his cave enclosure through the night to meditate. In the beginning of my need to sit near Ayya was my curiosity – what made Ayya love his solitude and inner journey so much that made him cut off completely from the external world and journey within? Once a day, early in the morning, his devotees would remove thorn bushes that blocked Ayya’s cave entrance and Ayya would start a fire to make herbal tea. All pilgrims who came to see Ayya were served Ayya’s tea. He seldom spoke to anyone other than his helpers. After two hours, the helpers would again close up the entrance of the cave so Ayya to enter back into his solitude, until the next day.
I spent my time sitting outside the cave through the night wanting to absorb his meditative energies. Through the night I heard Ayya speaking to the Divine. Sometimes he would burst into ecstasy singing. He was in a vortex of powerful energies- in states of perpetual overflowing joy. It was now easy to understand how Ayya had transcended sleep- he was in realms of turiya, the super consciousness state of the mind. It was this sublime ecstasy experience that inspired me to create my music Turiya Nada. To know the states of turiya is to know the three states of mind- sleep, dream and awake- as an observer. Sleep and mastery of sleep is the vital element in attainment of states of turiya.
My quest to learn more about sleep made me eager to ask enlightened Masters. In my pilgrimages during my years seeking my light within through solitude was another of my Gurus, Siddha Maha Siva Swamy. Maha Siva Swamy lived in a forest shrine of Nambi Hills, a tiger sanctuary all by himself. I enjoyed every moment with him as he was alright taking my questions and he would answer me. I remember walking with him through the jungle to reach Nambi Hills. It felt eerie initially. It felt unsafe as I knew this was a tiger sanctuary and only a few would walk into this forest. I asked him if he ever felt afraid walking in this forest all by himself mentioning how frightened he should be of the tigers. He smiled at me and mentioned, “Tigers walk away from human sensing us. But some tigers are too old. One old tiger would sit over there and roar. Its roar was so weak unlike others. But they never will harm me.” I did not tell him how that old tiger could have become a maneater. I felt safe with him knowing he must have the higher vibrations safeguarding him.
When we reached this sacred shrine after a five mile walk through the forest, we bathed in the sacred jungle stream and in the evening, did our puja (worship). As night time came, I told Maha Siva Swamy I needed to learn how to sleep. I had watched him enter into samadhi many times, with ease. Any time he entered into samadhi, the whole area around him would buzz in light. I was certain that if he could enter into samadhi with so much ease and meditate through days and nights, he must have mastered the art of sleep.
We lay side by side near the ancient Temple entrance on the ground with cloth underneath me. He did not need anything underneath him. I asked him what he was doing with his breath and how he was preparing his mind for sleep. He said, ” Go into the mantra fires. Surrender your breath. Descend into your heart. Fall asleep there.” I spent the next few minutes trying what he told me. A few minutes later I was ready to ask the next few questions. I said, “Swamy, now that I am in my heart, now what?”… and all I heard was his snoring. He was fast asleep. In another world. Soon I fell asleep too.
What I learnt from these ultimate moments with Guru Ayya and Guru Maha Siva Swamy the mind in its journey. The mind in its states of being awake, sleep and realms beyond sleep is states of Consciousness. These Yogis had mastered Consciousness itself by being able to enter the sleepless sleep realms of Turiya. Ever since, I have delved deep to make sense of sleep to understand sleep as a tool of wellbeing, an instrument to intense meditation and a proponent to enhance the mind’s clarity.
Practical steps to Yogic Sleep- Yoga Nidra:::
– Now we are ready to sleep. Put away the book. Flip over to the right side. Start reciting a mantra that makes us feel connected to Source God. Enter into the heart like allowing ourselves to float away into the womb of Light.
– Step into timelessness of sleep like meditation. The mind flows into states of deep sleep where dream occurrence is rare. With practice, in this womb state we gradually activate more awareness of our mantra vibration of our unconscious mind connected to Source God. In this sleep our mind is incubated like a caterpillar turning to be a butterfly, we transform our human to Angelic. This yogic sleep reduces in time due to its depth and intensity and ability to serve the mind and body in rejuvenation.
– Upon waking up, the first thoughts on arising out of sleep is reaching out to the mantra recitation and connecting our mind to Source God. Our first thoughts, “Please God Source give me the right thoughts.” Our first prayers- rub both the palms thinking of our Mother as our left palm and our Father as our right palm in gratefulness. Feel every cell in our body grateful to our Mother & Father. Place it over our eyelids in gratitude.
Let gratefulness be our vibrancy gifted by the depth of our sleep. We are now the vibrancies that aligns and manifests all that our heart intends.
Gratitude Beloved Sleep Goddess who gifts our mind the grandness of our Now.
Interesting observations of yogic sleep: