Yoga addresses a multitude of disorders, illnesses, and ailments. Much like any other disorder, insomnia is often the result of an imbalance within the mind and body. Yoga has been proven, over centuries, to help center the mind and body, while providing enough relaxation to help you sleep.
Anyone who has ever experienced insomnia knows how awful it can be. Whether the episodes are occasional, or regular, insomnia can disrupt your daily life. Insomnia sufferers often are depressed, anxious, and irritable; it can cause an overall feeling of helplessness.
Desperate for sleep, many turn to sleeping pills and other quick-fix solutions. In an emergency, most people opt for a sleeping pill. This multi-billion dollar industry thrives off this sense of futility. The biggest problem with choosing a sleeping pill is that these drugs often disrupt regular daily rhythms and can result in dependence. As it is, with all drugs, there are the side effects.
As long as a person’s insomnia is not a result of a medical problem, which needs professional attention, yoga can provide relief. Most bouts with insomnia are a result of stress and anxiety over personal life matters.
Yoga’s main focus is creating balance within the body and mind. Yoga also focuses on the present moment. This is especially true of yogic breathing exercises (Pranayama). With steady Pranayama practice, most stress, which keeps people from falling asleep, or wakes them up in the middle of the night, is over.
Regular exercise, of any sort, helps a person sleep at night. Vigorous exercise, done during the day, leads to looser, more relaxed muscles, at night, and creates a natural drowsiness at the end of the day.
This is, in part, due to endorphins released from the activity.
Highly active exercise is not recommended right before bedtime. It stimulates the body and raises the heart rate. These are not the conditions under which to try to fall asleep. Therefore, sun salutations would not be a good option at the end of your day, but would fit well into the early part of the day.
Yoga is an excellent choice, because performing the correct poses, actually prepares the body for sleep. Hatha Yoga poses are generally divided between those that give energy and those that relax. The soothing category influences the nervous system to respond with calm. Yoga relaxation incorporates breathing, focused mental imagery (or visualization), and slow, deep stretching movements.
Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. To receive Free Yoga videos, Podcasts, e-Books, reports, and articles about Yoga, please visit: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/member-offer.html