• Manish Singh

How do I stop falling asleep when I'm practicing?!

Falling asleep is definitely one of the main challenges in practicing mindfulness meditation (also included under this umbrella are drowsiness, spaciness, torpor, etc.). You are not alone! There are a few common reasons for this, but they mostly boil down to our minds not wanting to be tamed and trained and putting up barriers in our way.

First of all, It’s possible that you’re simply sleep-deprived. One way to tell if that’s the issue vs your mind playing you, is, before and after your practice, are you equally sleepy? Often people will experience no sleepiness until they start practicing, and then it disappears once they’re done.

Another issue is that many (most?) people are used to running on stress, which keeps you awake (among many other effects). The only time many of us regularly experience being relaxed is on the way down to sleep. We often don’t spend much time in a state of relaxed alertness, which is what you’re building as you practice. I think you are having a learned and grooved-in response to calming down.

You could try the same exercise while standing up, or with your eyes open, or with heavier, more deliberate breathing. You could do the same practice while doing yoga or exercising, or hanging out the washing. As you get more familiar with the state of relaxed alertness, over time you’ll be able to find and sustain it for longer, while doing less. Eventually, this will become your background resting state. Relaxed alertness is a state of enormous potential...)

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