Most of us experience or have experienced insomnia, commonly due to anxiety. Yoga’s focus on peaceful relaxation can be used to overcome that, whether you’re an occasional or chronic insomniac. Insomnia interferes with our health, our concentration, heightens our stress levels, and worsens our moods.
In general, insomnia follows one of two patterns: difficulty in falling asleep or difficulty in remaining asleep, though an insomniac can easily suffer from both. Yoga can be used as help for insomnia, though it might not have the immediate effects of medication. Some of the techniques take practice for them to accomplish their goals.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try a relaxation pose such as the “Corpse Pose”. This pose involves lying on your back with your eyes closed, your feet and arms slightly separated from your body. Gradually tense and relax each part of your body individually to relax your entire body. If that doesn’t work, you can also try imagining yourself falling through the bed or floor as you exhale. This or another relaxation pose can help relieve the tensions and tense muscles you’ve built up throughout the day or week, easing your way into sleep and hopefully keeping you there.
If you have trouble staying asleep, when you wake up in the middle of the night, practicing the Complete Breath can help you fall back asleep. It’s a rhythmic and gentle breathing cycle, so it guides you into sleep with minimum effort. This technique can also be used during the day to interrupt your stress.
Some people find that yoga meditation (or prayer, depending on your religion) contributes to falling asleep, because it clears the mind of clutter and worries, and focuses it on relaxing. Given practice, you learn to keep your mind devoid of clutter, or to at least clear it at will.
Daily practice of a 15-30 minute yoga routine can also minimize an insomniac’s symptoms. The physical exercise stretches and relaxes the muscles for stress reduction, while contributing to bodily health. Yoga also stimulates the brain, allegedly increasing blood flow to the brain and decreasing sleep requirements because of its rejuvenating properties. At any rate, less sleep will be needed if you practice yoga because it’ll make what sleep you do get more restful. Other stress-reduction methods can also be used, like a warm shower or lavender bath, to help in conjunction with yoga in battling your insomnia.
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