Night is a sacred time to process the day’s experiences and recharge the body. It’s an opportunity to let go of stress, cultivate gratitude, and gather our energy to rebuild and grow.
In Chinese Medicine and Qi Gong, we view night as the most Yin time of the day. It’s a time when the world slows down, creatures rest, and transition occurs.
Even though humans are a part of nature, we sometimes get out of sync with earth’s natural rhythms. As part of western culture’s imbalance towards Yang, many of us find it difficult to slow down and really enjoy deep, nourishing sleep. Too often, our day’s stress, busyness, and movement seeps into our evening hours.
Have you ever gone to sleep only to find yourself in a stressful dream about everything you need to get done? There’s deadlines that are overdue, tasks that won’t be accomplished, and an overwhelming feeling that things just aren’t right. Such dreams are manifestations of stress and anxiety that we haven’t left behind.
Bringing stress into our sleep is unpleasant and takes away from the rest and healing that must occur to regain our strength. When we’re not able to fully relax and direct our energy towards its Yin process of growth and rebuilding, our body and mind can become depleted and unbalanced.
Although many people may think of someone who is sleeping as ‘unconscious,’ there is a lot happening after we’ve closed our eyes and relaxed onto the pillow.
Deep, rejuvenating sleep doesn’t just help the body tissues to heal, it also recharges our Qi and helps bring a healthy balance between Yin and Yang energy.
If you can bring a positive intention into your sleep, your mind and body will be able to grow and re-energize in a much more healthy and powerful way.
Since the evening is such an important time for digesting our experiences and getting rejuvenated, we decided to offer a simple meditation practice to help you finish your day with peace and tranquility.
Like all of our meditations, we suggest that you read through this before beginning your practice.
Evening and Sleep Meditation:
After you’ve prepared to go to sleep, sit or lay comfortable on your bed or in a chair. It can be a good idea to make sure you’ve completed all of your day’s activities before starting this meditation so you can go right to sleep after you complete it.
Once you’ve gotten yourself comfortable, start by taking slow, deep breaths. On your inhale, breath in through your nose and allow your belly, ribs, and chest to fill up with air. On your exhale, breath out through your mouth and allow your chest, ribs, and belly to release the air from your body.
As you inhale, imagine white light entering your body, filling you up with vital, nourishing energy. On you exhale, imagine cloudy grey energy leaving your body as you let go of any stress or anxiety from your day.
Have your intention be to release anything you don’t want to take with you into your sleep. Continue focussing on your breath for a few minutes until you feel that you’ve entered a peaceful and relaxed state.
Now, start to think about something you’re grateful for from the day you just completed. This can be something simple like a delicious meal or a conversation you enjoyed. Love, health, and general wellbeing are always wonderful gifts to feel appreciation for as well. Just allow yourself to feel gratitude for whatever feels important to you.
As you focus on what you’re grateful for, start to smile into your heart center. Feel the blessings that have been bestowed upon you for that day. Remind yourself that each day is a gift that you’ve granted.
In your heart, feel your appreciation grow and build. Orienting towards gratitude doesn’t just help you return to what is important, it also helps your body release old energy and come into flow with the world around you. When this happens, your body becomes a vessel that is ready to be filled with nourishing Qi in the night ahead.
You can continue this meditation and include as many things as you’d like. Nothing is too small or too large to feel grateful for.
Allow gratitude to grow and flow within your mind, body, and heart. Let it fill you up and help you to further enter a state of relaxation and peace. When you’re ready, you can release your focus and allow yourself to drift into sleep.
Gratitude is a wonderful feeling to cultivate before sleep, but don’t be afraid to practice this meditation whenever you want. Also, as always, feel free to modify this meditation in whatever way is best for your individual needs.
We hope this meditation helps you enjoy many nights of nourishing, restful sleep.
Written by Ian Drogin