Before I began practicing Bikram Yoga, I awoke each night at 2 or 3 in the morning grinding my teeth and worrying about something. As my eyes snapped open, I knew I should drift back to sleep — I had things to do the next day — but often I laid awake for an hour or two with my mind racing. Sometimes I would even get up and walk around the house, trying to clear my head and reboot my thoughts. I hated it.
My Bikram Yoga practice changed all that. At first, I was simply so physically exhausted from the practice that I slept like the dead. After several months, I was getting into the groove of my practice, but my sleep stayed sound. It was life changing and remained so for years.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when I escaped on a wonderful family vacation to a Caribbean island. The weather was sunny, the food delicious, and I felt incredibly soothed by the sound of the ocean waves. I attended the resort yoga classes whenever they were offered and hiked or walked the beach almost every day.
Yet, I began to wake up in the middle of the night.
The first night I slept well. The second night was fine, but after a few days, I started waking up at 2 or 3 in the morning. I wasn’t grinding my teeth and full of worry like my pre-yoga days, but I was still awake — staring at the ceiling and wishing I were asleep. Uggh.
Was it the strange pillow? The silence that amplified every slight creak of the floor? The barely audible click of the air conditioner coming on and off? The bottle of wine at dinner? Or was it the lack of Bikram Yoga?
As the trip went on, my sleep settled into a reasonable pattern, but it wasn’t the deep, dark, dreamless sleep of my normal practice.
As I write this on the plane on my way home, I am already missing the sound of the ocean and the heat of the sun, but I am looking forward to returning to my Bikram Yoga practice, and with it a good night’s rest.
Fellow yogis, do you sleep better when you practice Bikram Yoga?