Most sleep issues are caused by nervous system disorders which manifest from life force energy blockages. According to Ayurveda the mind and nerves are connected to the energy of the subtle body and when this goes out of balance, stress disorders like insomnia and stifled breathing start to manifest.
Curing these disharmonies is not particularly complex, some of which we are able to do ourselves. For example adjusting our diet, adding herbs and extra nutrition, lifestyle changes, yoga and meditation are all things we can do on our own. Whatever we can do for ourselves to improve our health will be more effective than giving the responsibility to a third party and instructing them to ‘heal us’. No one can really heal us, we have to commit to our own healing from the heart.
There is no substitute for living harmoniously. As long as we continue to live a frantic Western lifestyle constantly connected to the internet and dashing from here to there without taking a breath, we can’t expect to be really healed by any method at all. Drugs don’t really heal us, they manage the symptom which means the cause is still manifesting without you being aware of it.
In Ayurveda, the goal is to give the patient the tools and knowledge to live in accordance to their constitution. Holistic natural healing can only succeed with time, effort and dedication. Unfortunately, in our modern world, it often deprives us of the time we need to take care of ourselves. We continually lose our energy without replacing it and run along on empty feeling exhausted all the time. If we truly value our health however, we will find the time.
I spent the last ten days at Swaswara, an Ayurvedic centre in the county of Karnataka, near the town of Gokarna on Om beach in India. It’s a spectacular location and a place of deep harmony with nature. Swaswara means inner voice of the self and being there at Swaswara definitely allows you to reconnect with that space in your heart.
Swaswara has great respect for nature, it harvests water from the monsoon for its water supply, uses discarded newspapers to make bags for the shop and any food waste is recycled in a bio gas digester to provide gas for cooking. Swaswara aims to keep her footprint on the earth small.
As an Ayurvedic sleep therapist, I can’t stress enough how valuable taking time out and just being at a place like Swaswara is. You’ll be eating super healthy, organic, freshly prepared food. Alcohol or any other sugar filled beverages are not really available. If you ask, Indian wine is available, but I personally recommend a complete alcohol cleanse. I can’t really see the point in coming to a place like this and drinking alcohol!
One of the causes of insomnia and stress is the lack of emotional nourishment and mental grounding. Here at Swaswara, you will get the grounding you need with all types of yoga practices including meditation, yoga nidra and trataka (candle gazing meditation). You’re submerged in the forest on the edge of ocean and there is no noise other than the waves crashing on the shore and animals chanting their song in the evening.
Managing sleep issues takes time if you want to do it the natural way. I say managing because if, like me, you have been plagued with insomnia, it’s likely that you will suffer again. My point is bringing yourself back into balance is often all it takes. Insomnia is in fact your personal message that something is out of balance and you should take a look at your life holistically and be honest with yourself about where the imbalances lie.
For example, are you eating too late in the evening or working late on your computer without taking a minute to wind down? Computer to bed is not conducive for sleeping. Is your phone constantly switched on? I recommend putting your phone on aircraft mode so that you get a sense of being disconnected to the world as part of your wind down routine. Take a long hard look at your lifestyle and ask yourself, ‘where are the imbalances’?
If you are deeply stressed and have been suffering from insomnia for years, I recommend you take a break of a minimum of two weeks somewhere like Swaswara. Whilst you are there, you’ll need to think about how you are going to make enough changes in your life to bring yourself into balance. There is no point at all taking a break, and then going back to exactly the same life as you left…that is a waste.