Lela Beem

Lela Beem, E-RYT 500, RPYT, C-IAYT

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Lela Beem is a yoga therapist and the co-founder of Grateful Yoga of Evanston. Lela is also the co-founder of Amala School of Yoga, which specializes in training yoga teachers how to teach prenatal and postnatal yoga yearly in Chicago. She is a graduate of UMASS Amherst, a certified Kripalu yoga instructor and a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner. Lela is a certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT) through the International Association of Yoga Therapy.

What is your bedtime ritual?

I drink peppermint tea and do some spinal twists and leg stretches. I try to get to bed by 9:30 or 10p and stop with screens at least 30-45 min before getting into bed.
What do you do during the day that has the biggest impact (positive or negative) on your sleep?
I sleep the best and feel the best when I have a physically active day. I have noticed the benefits of cardiovascular work as well as taking
long walks. I also sleep better when I do some calming yoga before bed.
In the last 5 years, what new belief, behavior or habit has most improved your sleep?
I sleep really well when I take a 20-30 min nap sometime between 1-2:30p. I also feel more rested in the morning when I do a 20-30 minute guided relaxation recording between 5:30-6am when I first wake. This is the practice of yoga nidra, or conscious, progressive relaxation.
If you have had a particularly challenging day and your normal bedtime routine isn’t enough for you to fall asleep, what do you try next?
Belly breathing! Long, slow exhales. Or visualizing an inhale coming up from the soles of my feet to the crown of my head and an exhale moving down from the top of my head to the soles of my feet- like a wave washing over me. Ten of those and I usually fall asleep.
What purchase of $100 or less has improved your sleep the most?
A subscription to my teacher Rod Stryker’s app Sanctuary. There are so many great yoga nidra and meditation practices on there. I can use them whenever I want. He even has a yoga nidra to help you fall asleep. $10/month is definitely worth this invaluable resource.
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