I’ve been dodging a question lately. Before any social function or gathering, I’ve paused and said to Eugene, “But what if someone asks how he’s sleeping?”
That’s it. That’s the question. My nature is to research the heck out of whatever isn’t making sense in my life at any moment. But, infant sleep? I can’t wrap my head around it. And, when you’re baby wakes up 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 times a night...it makes you a bit weary and a bit weepy and it’s really hard to understand such a deeply important and controversial topic, while also powering through your own work, taking care of your relationships, heck...even eating.
You might be asking, but why dodge the question? I usually am honest when it comes up, but super brief. “No, he’s not sleeping through the night.” “Yes, he has had pretty terrible reflux.” Insert a smile. I think I’m so brief about this question because sleeping well is associated with a “good” baby. And, he’s not “bad” by any means. He’s a beautiful baby. He’s become this pure bright light in my life. He adores books about zoo animals and playing "airplane." I can’t wait to kiss his cheeks every day. As I write this, I have big teardrops rolling from my own cheeks. I think another reason is that when I answer the sleep question honestly, I’m not sure whether I’ll get a hug or advice...and I’d much rather have the hug.
As with any great challenge in life, this one has really tested me. If you’ve had a baby before or you’ve dealt with sleep deprivation due to insomnia, military training, illness, etc., then you know...sleep is no joke.
I want you to know you are not alone in this challenge or another. I also want you to know (and I’ve totally said this before), my yoga practice is what saves me. 100%. As I read the blogs, the books, listen to the podcasts about infant sleep in order to try and support our little man, I’ve pondered, but how can I support me, too? The answer for me is yoga. It’s almost always yoga.
In re-reading the Bhagavad Gita, I came across this passage:
“When your mind, which has been tossed about by conflicting opinions, becomes still and centered in equilibrium, then you experience Yoga.”
And another, “In these practices no effort made is lost, nor are there adverse effects.”
Essentially, still the mind and calm your worry. Still the mind and come back to your true self, that which is peaceful and thoughtful and loving. Still the mind, move through asana, and/or practice breathing for any amount of time at all - five minutes, 15 minutes, 55 minutes - and know that a yoga practice is never wasted, even if it’s short.
I’m moving slower, more thoughtfully these days with my practice, focusing on restoring energy rather than going as hard or as fast I can which might deplete it. I’m practicing A LOT more Yoga Nidra, yogic sleep, to bring some more rest into my life whenever I can. And, I’m remembering that a regular practice, no matter how long, is always beneficial. This connection to my soul, to spirit, surrendering up what’s going on in my life is keeping me grounded...and awake.
How is your practice supporting you lately? How could it benefit you during life’s ups and downs? I’d love to hear from you. As for little man, please know he’s so precious to us. We’ll get through this and he’ll sleep better one day. Even through a restless night, I’m grateful for at least a few hours of sleep, my family, and the ability to serve you everyday. I mean it with all my heart.