Yoga for a better bedtime


Who am I?

I’m a journalist and part-time yoga instructor in Las Vegas.

Heidi Kyser, yoga instructor

Photo by Haoyuan Ren

I took my first yoga class in 2000, at City Yoga in Los Angeles. In 2004, I moved to Las Vegas and began practicing at Sherry Goldstein’s Yoga Sanctuary. Two years later, I went through a basic instructor training and took on a few classes at Yoga Sanctuary.  I knew right away that I wanted to keep teaching yoga for as long as I could.

In 2007, I completed a 200-hour Anusara teacher training with Noah Mazé and City Yoga founder Anthony Benenati, and received Yoga Alliance RYT 200 certification. From 2008 through 2011, I was an Anusara Inspired™ instructor.

All this time, I’ve continued my career as a writer and editor. After a decade of senior editing positions at two different trade publications, I started freelancing full-time in 2010. In 2014, following a year-plus stint as senior writer at Vegas Seven magazine, I joined Desert Companion, the monthly magazine of Nevada Public Radio.

Why Pajamasana™?

I’ve never been a good sleeper. My parents enjoy telling stories of my childhood adventures in sleepwalking, which continued into my 20s. Not so fun to recall are the night terrors I experienced – episodes of fear and panic so severe they’d leave me standing up in bed, screaming and pointing at swarms of bugs, masked intruders and other things that weren’t really there.

I eventually grew out of those episodes, but they were replaced, in my 30s, by a peskier problem: insomnia.

During the time I was commuting between L.A. and Las Vegas for yoga teacher training, I was also going through some painful life changes that kept me up many nights. On one of those occasions, I decided to get out of bed and try some of the techniques I’d learned in training. Maybe it would help me go back to sleep, I thought. And it did!

I started doing yoga not only when I lay awake, but also before going to bed. Seeing me squatting in malasana (garland pose) in my PJs, my boyfriend once joked, “Oh, you’re doing Pajamasana again, huh?” From then on, that’s what we called my nighttime yoga routine.

Since then, I have continually refined this practice, developing a canon of sequences and techniques to choose from, each one adapted to different circumstances of sleeplessness.

In 2011, I started teaching Pajamasana in private lessons, gauging its effectiveness on others and tweaking it based on their feedback. I’ve also put my journalism skills to work researching sleep disorders and talking to physicians and therapists, to make sure my advice is well-informed.

This website, launched in 2012, is another way for me to share Pajamasana with those who may benefit from what I’ve learned. Insomnia affects tens of millions of Americans, whose work and relationships may suffer because of their inability to sleep. I know what it’s like to watch hour after hour tick away on the bedside clock, frustrated to the point of tears, knowing you won’t be your best for something important the next day. My goal with Pajamasana isn’t to jump on the product bandwagon chasing after insomniacs’ money. It’s to help others alleviate for themselves the stress of sleeplessness, which I’ve endured.

I’m still not a perfect sleeper. Factors outside our control affect us all sometimes. But knowing what I do now, I definitely sleep – and feel – better. May you, too. Namaste.

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