When Savasana Smells Like Pee

When Savasana Smells Like Pee

My yoga teacher, like most yoga teachers, is always going on about how five minutes of savasana is equal to three hours of sleep. How they do that calculation I have no idea but this morning I could really do with an extra three hours of sleep. It’s been one of those weeks.

So I decided, screw it. Instead of spending another five minutes staring blankly at my screen trying to remember what I was working on, folding washing or throwing something in the slow cooker, I’m going to try it.

I opened my meditation app (which apparently needs to be updated because I haven’t used it in I hate to think how long) and set a timer for five minutes. I lay down on the ground, in the corpse position. It was quite easy, really – I kind of feel like a corpse most of the time anyway. I brought my attention to the tingling sensations of my muscles relaxing, the supportive feeling of the carpet beneath me. I made my mind body-shaped.

And each time my mind started to wander, I remembered the subtle threat in my yoga teacher’s tone when she explained how the magic five-minutes-for-three-hours-time-swap works – you have to really do savasana. Not just lay there thinking about whether or not the baby’s about to wake up, or if she’ll take a bottle later today, or the blog post you’re gonna write in a few minutes. So I took heed and let it all go, melting into the ground, bringing myself back to the present moment time and time again.

By the time the gong went off I was actually totally relaxed, tingly and floating. I slowly stretched my neck, turning my head from side to side and took a deep breath. Left was the baby’s change mat, so I probably rubbed my face on poo. Right was a distinct aroma of urine, and I was reminded that my toddler had an accident in that very spot a few weeks ago. Oops. Back to reality.

Do I feel like I had three hour’s sleep? Who knows. I can’t really remember what that feels like to be honest. But I do like to think my eyes are stinging a tiny bit less than they were earlier, and I might just lay on the floor and pretend to be dead for a few minutes tomorrow, too.

My Cinderella Sleep Realization

My Cinderella Sleep Realization

After a few weeks of some pretty dodgy sleep on the part of our five-month-old baby, and a week of getting back on track (more on that soon), I’ve been mulling the significant effect slumber can have on our waking lives.

I know most of you are probably thinking, “duh,” but sleep has never been a massive priority for me. For better or for worse I’m one of those people that can function well and get by on minimal amounts of sleep – and even enjoy the buzz of feeling overtired and a little loopy. I’ve worked night shifts and long hours and pulled countless all-nighters for reasons ranging from warehouse raves to university essays to long chats with good friends and West Wing marathons. It’s taken years of conscious work on the “value” of sleep (and lots of pressure – ahem, encouragement – on my husband’s part) to get to a point where I prioritize it at all. By now I’m convinced that the amount and the quality of the sleep we get is crucial to emotional stability.

But delving into some of the (completely circumstantial, non-scientific) data, it’s become clear to me that the time I go to sleep – rather than how long I sleep for or how many times I’m woken to feed – is actually the strongest indicator of my mood. Find a date that I feel like everything sucks, that my husband and I fight, that I demolish an entire block of cooking chocolate – and I can almost guarantee you that we went to sleep later than usual the previous night.

Going to bed past midnight (read: 10pm) is taking the zzz out of my zen – just like Cinderella. There’s something about those hours of uninterrupted sleep before midnight (Gadi usually sleeps from at least 8pm-2am straight) that make my glass slippers (read: yoga pants) extra sparkly, boosting a positive outlook and strength of conviction that I’m finding crucial right now.

So that’s my big realization. As a result I’m making a concerted effort to cheer on my inner Sleeping Beauty – so as not to turn into a pumpkin (or worse – the Evil Stepmother!) right when I most need the magic.