Getting a good nights sleep is some what of a myth to those of us who suffer with Insomnia. Anandi aka The Sleep Guru suffered with insomnia for 15 years before she discovered sleep practices that would transform her life. I caught up with her to learn more about how she overcame her Insomnia and how you could too.
Emma: You are a real beacon of hope for people like myself who’ve suffered immensely with insomnia. You suffered with insomnia yourself for many years and like me, didn’t want to be medicated to fall asleep – how did you manage to lift yourself out of this holistically and become ‘The Sleep Guru’?
Anandi: I started practising Yoga and eventually went to India and lived in an ashram for 5 weeks which kick started my healing. I learned how to breathe there with, Yogi Vishvketu, who is now my guru. I started applying The breath and Ayurvedic principles to my life to create balance. I now have a daily routine and rituals that keep me in balance.
Emma: We are living in times that are fast paced, noisy and predominantly digital. Everyday our social media bombards us with news, updates and reminders of where we are (or aren’t) in life. We are addicted to a degree and many of us find it hard to disconnect, switch off or simply breathe. Our pro-longed working hours or work demands mean we are using our phones, laptops and tablets long into the night – are we suffering with digitally-induced sleep deprivation and what can we do to improve sleep hygiene if our lives are so digital?
Anandi: I do believe that this digital age is partly to blame as we are never ‘finishing’ for the day. It starts as soon as you wake up as you switch off your alarm on your phone and start checking emails to the evening when you’re still on Facebook at 11pm at night. It’s important to have digital boundaries. Instead of starting the day headlong into email and Facebook, start the day from a peaceful spiritual place. That’s a bit like washing your hands before you eat….cleaning your mind before you interact with the world.
Anandi: It’s absolutely fundamental. I believe that sleep is up there with water and food, you can’t live without it.
Emma: You speak a lot about the healing power of breathe. This really interested me and made me aware of how little I do actually breathe (correctly anyway). How can we utilise our breathe to alleviate anxiety and promote healthier sleep patterns?
Anandi: The breath reflects how we are at any moment, equally you can change how you are at any moment using the breath. Not by trying to control the breath, but by surrendering to the breath. Just by resting your awareness on the breath will deepen the breath, if you do that, your mind will start to settle. You can make a difference by just sitting and watching your breath for 60 seconds!
Emma: Through your work you draw upon many things including Yoga Science, meditation techniques and nutritional therapy. You also work with Ayurveda – for those of us who’ve never heard of this – what is it?
Anandi: Ayurveda is based on being in balance with nature. It’s a huge subject, but to make it easy to understand it works with common sense and balance. It includes daily habits, rituals and the food we eat.
Emma: Let’s talk about your new book ‘Breathe Better, Sleep Better’! Is the book specifically for people who suffer with Insomnia or can anyone looking to improve their overall wellbeing benefit from your book?
Anandi: My book was written to help insomniacs but the principles are based on bring the body and mind back into balance using the breath. Anyone looking for better wellbeing would benefit from reading my book.
Emma: I must talk about your Sleep Retreats located in the Umbrian forest in Italy, the whole retreat looks absolutely breath taking. I don’t think I’d be able to sleep with so much beauty surrounding me! I imagine you are able to offer people a life altering experience, could you paint a picture of what a day at your retreat looks like?
Anandi: One of my participants this year described it as “Enlightening, informative, restorative and inspirational”. The day starts in silence. Everyone comes down for the morning practice at 7am and stay in silence until breakfast. After a nourishing breakfast we have a workshop on the topic of the retreat, this year was the breath. This goes until lunchtime where we have a green juice and a little space before lunch. After lunch people drift off into the countryside for a walk, have a massage or a steam before the afternoon session. The afternoon session is a workshop with a meditation or perhaps a gong bath. Dinner is served in silence and there is a bedtime meditation before bed…! Bliss!
Emma: I listened to your free breathe demonstration audio before bed last night and couldn’t believe how relaxed I felt after just a few minutes of focusing on my breathing. You offer some great Audio’s and Step-by-Step guides, which one do you recommend we start with as a complete novice to everything sleep related?
Anandi: The guide to the breath is wonderful to get the novice to understand that the less you do with the breath, the more you get. Controlling the breath as a beginner is not useful, one needs to learn how to surrender to the divine breath.
Emma: I find essential oils, especially lavender pillow spray, extremely helpful when trying to get to sleep. Are their any essential oils or blends you use that could help promote better sleep?
Emma: I sincerely hope our readers suffering with insomnia are as inspired as I am from speaking to you about the possibilities of living an insomnia-free life. You are due to speak at The Mindful Living Show this year at the business design centre London on Saturday 3rd June. What can event goers expect to learn about reducing symptoms of insomnia or simply improving their standard of sleep?
Anandi: I’ll be talking about being mindful of your individual constitution and make choices that are nourishing and conducive to improving their sleep pattern.
Emma: What does the future have in store for ‘The Sleep Guru’, what can we look forward to?
Anandi: I’ve been developing my Personal Sleep Review which encompasses Ayurveda and breathing as healing tools. I’ll be increasing the number of retreats I run as they fill very quickly and more workshops in the London area.
If you want to catch Anandi’s talk at The Mindful Living Show then you can click here to purchase your tickets!
To find out more, visit The Sleep Guru website here. Alternatively, you can catch her on the socials below: