The Explore Series | Part Seven – Sleep for the soul

The constant hum, cramped seats, artificial light and regular disruptions of airplane travel don’t exactly create the ideal sleep sanctuary, resulting in your internal ‘circadian’ clock going out of balance.

Travel enriches every part of our being, though there’s no denying that the actual act of travelling can be quite depleting and destabilising. With that in mind, it’s no surprise to hear that any disruption to our sleep-wake cycle can bring about days of jet lag once we arrive at our destination.

A simple online search will bring up plenty of tips to help get you back on track – adjusting your sleep routine before travel and avoiding caffeine or alcohol during the flight are just two. Having spent most of her career hopping between time zones, Senior Trainer Nicola Baillie has tried them all. Her advice? Turn to something a little more enriching for life, soul and wellbeing both at home and away – the ancient Indian practice of Yoga Nidra.

What is Yoga Nidra?

Also known as ‘yogic sleep’, Yoga Nidra is one of (if not the) easiest type of yoga practice. Easy, accessible and so effective, it instils a real sense of internal peace and leaves you feeling spiritually and physically relaxed, rested and grounded – perfect for helping to relieve the feelings of exhaustion and anxiety heightened by jet lag, and ultimately aiding sleep.

Spa Inspiration | The Leela Palace, Udaipur, India

The Leela Palace, Udaipur

I’ve been lucky enough to visit India on numerous occasions, training ESPA therapists at The Leela Palace properties. Each time, it strikes me just how much yoga is an integral part of Indian life and culture – they practice yoga to rid the body of stress and keep mind and body in balance.

Nicola Baillie, Senior Trainer

We Recommend | Be the creator of your own inner calm

You can freely enjoy self-practice or guided yoga classes at all The Leela Palace locations, though my personal favourite is The Leela Palace Udaipur, says Nicola. Each morning, a man sits by a holy statue at the spa entrance performing the morning mantras. It sets the scene perfectly. Simply being in such a spiritually centred place is so special and I find the location – on the banks of Lake Pichola – especially peaceful and calming.

At Home | Yoga Nidra… no mat required!

Nicola Baillie

Nicola Baillie, ESPA Senior Trainer

Whether you have five minutes or an hour, if you’re at home, mid-flight or in your hotel, all you need is a Yoga Nidra audio guide (lots are free to download) and these simple steps:

  1. Follow your normal night-time prep routine – cleanse your skin, brush your teeth, put on your PJs. If you’re at home or in a hotel, also take a warm bath first.
  2. Sit or lie comfortably. Have a blanket or two to hand, in case you start to feel cold.
  3. Place a small face cloth or eye mask over your eyes to block any light.
  4. Take some deep breaths. To optimise, warm some Soothing Body Oil in the palms of your hands, cup them towards your nose and inhale deeply.
  5. Put on your headphones and start your Yoga Nidra guide.

During a yoga retreat in early 2017, I was given a small cup of warm milk infused with ginger, cardamom and turmeric each night before bed – another Indian tradition for aiding sleep. Try it, it’s bedtime bliss!

Nicola Baillie,  Senior Trainer


Sleep well

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Caro Dooling

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