How To Perk Up!
We are a humble few. At 7:30 AM no more than a dozen of us monastics sit down for listening to a message from the Bhagavatam (on the weekends, of course, participants swell in number.)
We have implemented a method for those who display sleepiness. No, we don't have a system or a program for martial arts to stimulate blood and muscles. But we have found a rather fun device that works. Before the class we decide what will be the penalty for starting to dose even though the speaker may be lively enough.
Jumping is one method and since yesterday's verse described the lost soul as being like a monkey always engaged in foolishness, the candidate caught in slumber was asked to jump like a monkey. Two of our monks were delinquents and they were mildly penalized by asking to portray the mischievous critters, all in good fun. The devotees became perky. The technique worked.
Every day requires creativity. One technique will get monotonous. The traditional push-ups is on the list for solutions. Another method that works is for the speaker to throw the flower garland at the person doing the head dive-bombing. In the past a love-poking in the ribs by a kind monk sitting next to the doser (or hoser) can be effective.
When I joined the ashram in '73 the summer was hot and sticky and we shared a small space in our rented house at 187 Gerrard St. E. The monks who worked hard during the day, and got up for the early rise, naturally would sometimes get hit by sleepiness. The going method then was the use of a powerful spray bottle of water. The colder the water, the better. It was a magical shock treatment. Hey, monks can have fun too!
Another very effective approach was being singled out by the speaker in the middle of the class. In the Manhattan ashram in '76 I recall a very dramatical swami who humourously pointed his finger at a dozing monk and said in front of all, "Stay awake or blood will flow!"
One method that I find works (more seriously) is a yogic approach. As I have learned form my walking along the Trans Canada Highway when sometimes I would encounter fatigue was to indulge in pranayam, a powerful respiration method which enhances air flow. Also I've found that if I do a couple of yogic salutations to the sun, I get energized if I am about to enter a meeting room knowing that the topic may not have a particular appeal.
In this way you utilize your innovative and creative abilities and dovetail them in the service of the Supreme. Hearing is so important after all, especially in relation to the soul. Om Tat Sat!