The Best Meditation Style for Better Sleep—and 5 More Practices to Try
The Practice: Guided visualizations done while lying on a mat in the dark. A deeply restorative practice known as "psychic sleep."
The Goal: Your body slumbers; your mind stays awake. They say 30 minutes is equal to two hours of sleep!
The Journey: The teacher took us on various mental travels to a green ocean, the dwelling of a chipmunk...or so she told me later. After my mind woke up. Oops.
Level of Enlightenment: Even after a late night of binge-watching Fit to Fat to Fit, I jumped out of bed the next morning raring to go.
Try It If... You have trouble sleeping—or you're just a slacker. (YogaNidraNetwork.org)
Antigravity Cocooning—Crunch Gym
The Practice: Weightless yoga/guided meditation/return to the womb. You hang in a sling hammock for stretching and resistance, then crawl in and curl up, larva-style.
The Goal: The suspension exercises release hip, neck, and shoulder tension so you can chill out in blissful weightlessness.
The Journey: Trying to do bicycle kicks in midair made me feel like a blob of Jell-O that had been spooned into a tube sock.
Level of Enlightenment: It was invigorating. But I'm not sure how enlightened you can get when somebody's telling you to "booty drop" into a cocoon.
Try It If... You have Cirque du Soleil fantasies. (AntigravityCocooning.com)
Himalayan Salt Room Meditation—Breathe Salt Rooms
The Practice: A guided meditation in a "salt cave" made of 24,000 pounds of pink salt; a "halogenerator" grinds up the stuff so it can float through the air.
The Goal: The salt supposedly emanates negative ions to counteract the positive ions given off by some electronics. (No need for that tinfoil hat!)
The Journey: The shaman wafted smoke from palo santo wood with a bundle of turkey feathers. There were rattles. And I now know that my spirit animal is a hummingbird.
Level of Enlightenment: I felt like my mucus blockages went away. Plus, I got foxy beach hair.
Try It If... You're Stevie Nicks. (BreatheSaltRooms.com)
Kundalini Yoga—Hari NYC
The Practice: A hybrid of yoga and meditation; chanting and a lot of breath work.
The Goal: You awaken the Kundalini energy coiled at the base of your spine, then use breath to move it up through your chakras and out the top of your head.
The Journey: Try lying with your legs six inches above the floor as you do the rapid "breath of fire," moving your navel in and out. I felt the burn.
Level of Enlightenment: One thing Kundalini yoga is supposed to do: activate sexual energy. LOL! Afterward I was too sore to even get my clothes off.
Try It If... You're in touch with your inner goddess. (KundaliniLive.com)
Sound Bath—MDNFL Meditation Studio
The Practice: A sound therapist plays gongs, chimes, and resonant "singing bowls" (rub the rim and they make music—it's like playing water glasses).
The Goal: The concert of harmony, sound waves, vibration, and unusual notes lures you into tranquillity.
The Journey: I entered an out-of-this-world state of semiconsciousness. When it was over, I felt like I'd spent a restful night on the astral plane.
Level of Enlightenment: I've already been back for another class!
Try It If... You loved those whale-sounds tapes in the '80s. (SaraAuster.com/sounds)
5Rhythms—Martha Graham Studio
The Practice: Ecstatic trance dance with five different rhythms to which you wiggle or gyrate, depending on what the music tells you. And your embarrassment level.
The Goal: You "embrace your tribal longings" by giving yourself over to whatever your body wants to do.
The Journey: Imagine a roomful of sweaty, half-naked Elaines from Seinfeld screaming "Woo!" The teacher asked what our hips wanted to "say to the sunset."
Level of Enlightenment: I was ready to make fun of those lunatics, but it turns out I'm one of them. It was truly meditative: I felt absolutely present in each moment.
Try It If... You're a dancing machine who wants to get her ya-yas out—with the added bonus of watching grown men skipping and giggling. (5Rhythms.com)