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Honouring Hispanic Heritage Month in Your Yoga Practice

(while getting a good night's rest)

3 ways to honour the Hispanic heritage in your yoga practice and focus on getting a good night's rest.

By Monica Le Baron

Between 10% and 30% of adults struggle with chronic insomnia, and the U.S. population comprises more than 62M Hispanics. This is 19% of the population! Chances are that you or someone you know is Hispanic and may struggle to get a good night’s sleep. Like me, for example! 

A few years ago, I struggled with chronic insomnia and anxiety that led to severe depression. Most of the things that kept me awake at night were related to “should’s,” “could’s,” and judging myself for my decisions that were contrary to what was okay with society.  

Thanks to my yoga therapy practice, I learned that these differences were my most valuable assets. I’m proud of my roots and to be the unique person I am, and thanks to my background and yoga practice, I was able to send insomnia and depression to deep sleep. 

Here are some ways to honour the Hispanic heritage in your yoga practice and focus on getting a good night's rest.

#1 Salsa your heart out

Create a Spanish music list and let the music guide your practice. Music has its way of lifting the spirit, it helps to connect to your body and supports removing stuck emotions and feelings in the body. Shake the bootie with a salsa song or allow Mayan drums to support your meditation practice.  Some of my favorite songs are La Fiesta from Pedro Capó, Amarillo from Shakira and Verde Más Allá from Jenny and the Mexicats.  

I like to play loud music and sing it in the shower, then change to my yoga pants, continue the flow on my yoga mat and finish with my yoga Nidra audio en Español. When I dance and have cheerful music in my life, my soul is happy, and my sleep benefits exponentially from this practice. 

#2 Journal with love

Don Miguel Ruiz, in his book The Mastery of Love, said that “the real mission you have in life is to make yourself happy, and in order to be happy, you have to look at what you believe, the way you judge yourself, the way you victimize yourself.”

Journaling is such a great way to release unhealthy thoughts that might be keeping you awake at night. I encourage my clients to journal in the morning and be curious about their judgment towards others, their upbringing, the stigma around practicing yoga or other alternative healing modalities, and how these thoughts affect their sleep. 

Keep it simple. Journal for five minutes, then transform any negative thoughts, if any, into a positive affirmation or a lesson.  Write this affirmation in your bathroom mirror and repeat it often, especially in your centering meditation. 

Journaling at night? Focus on what you’re grateful for to avoid unnecessary stressful thoughts and remain grateful instead. A happy, loving, and kind mind promotes sweet dreams.

#3 Taco about it

Family is an essential part of Hispanic culture, and yoga is not only about the Asanas. The physical aspect of yoga is just one of the 8 Limbs of Yoga that offer guidelines for a meaningful and purposeful life. So why not take your practice off the mat and connect with your loved ones this week?  Take a walk in the park, call your best friend and practice active listening while icing your vagus nerve or make avocado toast and invite friends for a meditation practice in your living room. 

Did you know that avocados are not only a good source of magnesium, which is helpful in relaxation, but they also contain more potassium than bananas? Boosting your potassium intake and having good company can help you to feel more connected, improve sleep efficiency and reduce nighttime wake-ups.

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Monica Le Baron

Monica Le Baron, MBA, is a sleep coach and certified yoga therapist who specializes in helping women with sleep disorders get a good night’s rest.