How to Sleep Well in India

How are you? I'm in India and I'm doing ok, but last night I did the unthinkable. It's hot and humid, and I chose to sleep with the AC off.

I know, gasp, right?

Here's why. This week we started learning about Ayurveda from Chennai-based Ayurveda Dr. Vijaya Seshadri. She's a petite woman who radiates good health, from her gorgeous skin and hair to her beautiful posture and grace. She wraps the loose end of her sari snugly around her shoulders like a shawl. She's so elegant, I can't even begin to guess her age. She's ageless.

Anyway, Dr. Seshadri has been teaching us about swasthasya swasthya rakshanam - what we need to do to maintain health and prevent disease. And the basic message is pretty straightforward. According to Ayurveda, we need to have the right eating habits, the right sleeping habits, and good moral conduct.

Dr. Seshadri explained that, as healthy adults, we should get six hours of UNDISTURBED sleep (yes, just 6!) . She explained that sleep is undisturbed if it is not interrupted by dreams (!) or needing to get up to pee (!), AND we should wake up feeling fresh (!). Well, I have lots of vivid and sometimes crazy dreams, and I usually do need to get up to pee at least once (TMI, sorry!), plus, my Indian AC has been disturbing my sleep.

A little context... In the US, and perhaps especially in Texas, we have central AC, and it pretty much runs year-round to keep our homes at a comfortable temperature, and it's really very quiet. In most places in India, they use something like what we in the US call a window unit, but it's mounted in or on the wall, so they only cool the rooms that need to be cool.

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In my apartment bedroom here, the AC is a little bit old. It cools very well, perhaps too well, and it's pretty loud. I've been waking up multiple times per night because it's too noisy or I'm too cold, and in the mornings I wake up feeling exhausted and cranky, not exactly the "fresh" feeling Dr. Seshadri says is an indicator of good health.

So I decided to follow her advice and figure out how to improve my quality of sleep while I'm here. My plan was to run the AC in the evening to cool the room, then shut it off at bedtime and sleep with just the ceiling fan on.

I did it, and I can't believe it worked! The AC noise didn't disturb me, the fan cooledthe room enough, and I slept through the night (well, I might have had one dream). I woke up feeling WAY better than I did the morning before. I'm going to keep this up!

What about your sleep? Are you sleeping soundly for at least 6 hours? What could you do to reduce your sleep disturbances and improve the quality of your shut-eye time?

In other news, I'm having a great time here, despite the heat, humidity, and long days in the classroom. I'm learning so much. In the past week and a half we've completed our classes on Course Planning, we're learning to chant the 4th (and final) chapter of Yoga Sūtras, I'm learning more than I ever imagined possible about breathing, and we're learning from two classical Indian texts. And Ayurveda, of course. Next week we resume philosophy and begin Meditation and a class about how to observe our yoga students. Can't wait!

Yoga Teacher Training is a journey SO well worth taking (even if you feel called to travel to the other side of the earth for it!). We learn so much about yoga, but also so much about ourselves. It's an opportunity for incredible personal growth and it changes the way we view the world, our relationships, and even ourselves.

I've got three and a half weeks left of learning over here and I'm so looking forward to bringing all this knowledge and wisdom from the Krishnamacharya tradition back home to Round Rock.

If you're interested in embarking upon yoga teacher training of your own, we'd love to have you join our 2019 program at The Yoga Room. Classes start in January and we're accepting applications now. If you have any questions at all, I'd love to hear from you. Please shoot me a note at

All the best!

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P.S. We're still inside the window for Early Registration pricing for 2019 Yoga Teacher Training. If you're thinking about registering, it's a good idea to apply sooner rather than later!

Sleep Deprived? 4 Easy Steps for a Good Night's Sleep

This week we launched the 4 Self Care program with more than 110 people participating via our private Facebook Group or on their own with emailed worksheets. The first week of the program focuses on getting adequate, good quality sleep, and together we've had some great learnings in these first few days. My main takeaway is that just like babies and small children need sleep routines, we as adults do, too! Here's a simple 4 Step Plan (created with help from all the awesome 4SC peeps) to setting yourself up for a good night's sleep:

1. Make a Plan

  • Decide what time you need to wake up and how many hours you need to sleep, then do the math to figure out your bedtime.
  • Keep a simple sleep journal to see whether or not you're really sticking to your plan.

2. Prepare Your Brain

  • Stay off the computer/TV/tablet/smartphone after dinnertime to let your brain wind down.
  • Keep a notebook by your bed. Write down important thoughts that pop up so your brain isn't burdened with trying to remember them.

3. Prepare Your Body

  • Take a relaxing bath (or a quick shower if you're short on time) so your body will be fresh and clean. A bath is also a great opportunity to detox with Epsom salts and/or essential oils, or you can luxuriate with bubbles :)
  • Lay down on the floor in your bedroom for few yoga poses to further relax your body. Draw your knees up into your chest and rock slowly side to side to release tension in your back, then elevate your legs (up the side of your bed or up a wall) to bring calm and peacefulness to your body and mind.

sleep4. Prepare Your Bedroom

  • Set the thermostat to a cool enough temperature
  • Dress your bed in fresh clean sheets
  • Eliminate distractions. Leave the TV switched off (or better yet, move it to another room). Turn your phone to silent.
  • Make the room dark. Address any visible LEDs and lights, like security alarm panel, the light on the iron or on your electric toothbrush, and the alarm clock. Cover or turn the devices so the light doesn't wake you up between sleep cycles.


Life is busy and things come up. You may not have time for your full sleep routine every night, but if you can get great sleep most nights of the week you're going to notice a huge improvement in how your body and mind feel.

Your energy level will be better, you'll handle stress better*, you'll be more mentally focused and sharp, and you'll be so much more productive.

Within a couple of weeks you'll feel so amazing that you'll crave going to bed early for a good night's sleep.

What's your favorite tip for a good night's sleep? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Zelinda Red TopXO, Zelinda


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