As part of the June-July 2023 issue of Renaissance (Click here for Renaissance) focusing on the theme of “Food, Sleep and Yoga”, a special experiential online session titled ‘’Preparing for Conscious Sleep’’ was organised by the Renaissance team. The aim of this session was to translate some of the learning from Sri Aurobindo and The Mother on sleep into real daily life practices.
The session was conducted online via zoom on 4th August 2023, Friday from 9:30pm to 10:30pm. The facilitator for the session was Raamkumar, who also serves as the Research & Editorial Assistant at Renaissance.
A simple registration form was circulated a few days prior to the session date. Some simple instructions were also given to the participants so that they came prepared for the session. About 50 people registered, more than half of whom joined the session.
The session commenced with a brief introduction by Dr. Beloo Mehra, the Editor of Renaissance, about the double issue of Renaissance journal on ‘Food, Sleep and Yoga’, with a particular focus on the practical activities organised as part of the Renaissance team work on this theme. She also introduced the facilitator to the participants.
Raamkumar began by contextualising the practice-based session, emphasing the significance of good sleep whether one wants to lead an ordinary life or aspires to live a more conscious, yogic life. He highlighted that both the quality and duration of sleep are greatly influenced by the state in which one enters sleep.
Raamkumar then recalled the advise of the Mother to enter sleep with a calm mind, quiet vital and relaxed body to get deep rest as well as to stay in higher levels of consciousness during the sleep and not fall into the subconscient or inconscient realms. He elucidated how the two practices of the session, free-flow journaling and relaxation of the physical body, helps one reach this state prior to sleep. He also detailed the preparations and instructions for these practices.
The session continued with a guided 5-minute grounding exercise, aiding participants in fully immersing themselves in the practice space before starting the 20-minute free-flow journaling. Following the journaling practice, a few participants shared their experiences. Feedback from participants indicated that journaling facilitated a transition from outer to inner awareness, enabled a shift into silence, promoted the observation of thoughts, and helped various aspects of their being to express themselves.
Following the sharing session, participants were given 5 minutes break to settle into their sleeping and listen to the facilitator’s guided instructions from the sleeping position. These instructions focused on slowly relaxing the entire physical body, from head to toe, paying specific attention to muscles and nerves in each region.
Subsequently, a feedback form was sent to participants the following day to know about their experiences. Participants shared that the session was an amazingly practical session and it helped in getting peacful sleep.
About the facilitator: Raamkumar is a young aspirant on the path of Integral Yoga and a member of the Renaissance journal team working as Research & Editorial Assistant since Nov 2021. On the verge of completing his PhD in Engineering, he discovered his purpose in creating spaces for finding joy in work, self-acceptance, and self-transformation. He has also facilitated collective practice sessions to transition peacefully into sleep.