A secret to a good night's sleep lies in your daily rituals. Yoga guru Miki Ash talks to us about how meditation and yoga can have a positive effect not just on your sleep but overall wellbeing too. Read on for some great advice as we delve a little deeper into our Q&A with Miki.
Q: So what was it that made you want to become a yoga and meditation teacher in the first place?
A: I started practicing yoga when I was 18, after leaving college early and not knowing what to do with myself. After only a few months, I became completely immersed in the practice and wanted to learn as much as I could about it. Not intending to teach, but simply to deepen my practice, I signed up for yoga teacher training. After completing the course, teaching came naturally to me, and now I have been sharing this practice for the last 10 years!
Q: How do you begin each morning and do you have any rituals that you simply can’t go without?
A: Before I even get out of bed in the morning, my partner, puppy and I always make a least a few minutes to snuggle and start the day with lots of love. We always walk, every morning, either on the way to coffee or with our coffee. Meditation is a ritual that I cannot live without! It has transformed my life for the better in so many ways.
Q: Starting meditation can feel a little daunting, do you have any advice for newbies?
A: My advice is to get rid of the notion that your meditation practice needs to look or feel any kind of way. Each sit is different. It’s not about cultivating some out-of-body meditation practice where you receive divine messages every time you close your eyes. It’s about the “eyes-open experience.” How the practice starts to show up in every other area of your life. It happens naturally - all you have to do is keep showing up!
Q: Yoga has so many known benefits but why is it particularly good for those who are struggling with things like insomnia?
A: When I used to struggle with insomnia, it was because my mind was unable to stay present - I was either anticipating the future or replaying the past, neither of which allowed my mind to rest. Yoga teaches you how to be present with your body. How to use your breath as a tool to calm the body when you need to. It also just feels so good to move and stretch and prepare the physical body for rest.
Q: We spoke about your morning rituals, what about your evening rituals do you follow any and do they help to unwind before sleep?
A: Putting my phone on airplane mode is a must. And always drink a glass of water before bed!
Q: Currently, the world is going through a tough period and it can be overwhelming for many especially as most of us are facing lockdown. Do you have any tips for creating a safe and nourishing space at home?
A: The first thing I would recommend is to clean your space and to get rid of any excess clutter. A clean space = a clear mind! Invest in fewer, more high-quality items that will last over time, rather than more inexpensive items that you’ll have to replace sooner. Bring in some life, with plants and crystals and even herbs that can grow on your window sill. Create a space that feels nourishing and peaceful. A space that inspires and refuels you!
Q: What is the first thing you are going to do once the lockdown is over?
A: Coffee shops & yoga studios & the gym! I miss going to new restaurants and working out in an environment with other people - it fuels me so much more! I’ve done my fair share of traveling over the last year and I’m excited to be in my new home and nest.
If like us you are feeling inspired to give meditation and yoga a go at home then we would recommend downloading Miki's wellness app 'The How'. It is filled with everyday tools and practices to uplift and inspire you. And for those who love great content on Instagram, you can find Miki's page here.
We hope you have a wonderful journey of discovering new practices that bring joy and peace to your daily life no matter where you are.