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Yoga for Insomnia

Introduction
There is common myth about sleep hours. Ayurveda states that different people have their unique constitution of body which determines the requirement of sleep e.g. vata prakriti people need least sleep. Pitta people need about 7-8 hours sleep and kapha people may feel fresh only after 8-9 hours sleep.

Causes
Many things, such as stress, hormonal changes, medical or emotional problems, and certain medications, can cause insomnia, the sleep disorder.

Symptom
If you suffer from insomnia, whether it's only occasionally or if it's chronic, yoga might be one way of overcoming it without resorting to sleeping pills.

If you have trouble falling asleep when you first go to bed, try about 30 minutes of slow yoga stretches and meditation about thirty minutes before bedtime. This will give your mind a chance to rest from the continual bombardment of thoughts and worries.

If you have a tendency to wake up in the early hours of the morning and you cannot get back to sleep, try some deep breathing exercises. Concentrate on the sound and rhythm of your breathing. Another good idea is to use a chant to drowned out your thoughts. "Ohm" is the sound many practitioners use, but any simple word or phrase will do - Love, health, I am. Concentrate on the sound of that word to the elimination of all else from your mind.

Treatment
There are many things you can do to ensure you can get a good night's rest. Make sure that you take some kind of physical activity during the day, so the body is naturally ready to rest. Yoga is perfect for this. Do not take your worries to bed with you. Live your days well and make decisions that will cause you no sleepless nights.
Yoga will help you fall asleep sooner and improve the quality of your sleep because of the stimulatory effect yoga has on the nervous system, and in particular the brain so that you need less sleep. You will have a more restful sleep because of the relaxing aspect of yoga and the subsequent relieving of stress, tension and fatigue. The practice of certain yoga postures will increase the blood circulation to the sleep center in the brain, which has the effect of normalizing the sleep cycle. You will wake up every morning ready to go instead of wishing you could stay in bed. You will need less sleep because yoga increases the elimination of toxins from the body and rejuvenates the entire body right down to cellular level.

Avoid stimulating drinks containing caffeine before bedtime and avoid alcohol - this is mistakenly believed to be a relaxant but can actually fuel sleep problems. Not to mention destroying your body. Make sure you eat your last meal at least three hours before bedtime.


Yogasana
With its gentle movements, deep breathing and long stretches (like an animal preparing to bed down) it's an ideal method of relaxation for your pre-bedtime routine. Strenuous exercise near bed time is not recommended as it is stimulating and can keep you awake. Yoga, on the other hand, promotes a slowing down of the body and mind and encourages sleep.

Light exercise has so many stress management and health benefits, and for many of us, nighttime is when it best fits our schedules. Light exercise like yoga or walking at night can also help sleep as it releases tension without overstimulating the body. Simple stretching and relaxation exercises of yoga can increase suppleness, enhance mental and physical relaxation, and improve the quality of your sleep. Yoga is suitable for people of all ages. Do the exercises every evening.

Yoga exercises for insomnia are organized into a three-part sequence. They are designed to help you unwind mentally and physically and prepare you to sleep. Do gentle stretches for ten minutes. When doing the exercises listen to your body and be guided by it. Stretch only as far and as often as is comfortable. Do only those asanas or postures you can achieve comfortably. Use breathing relaxation or yoga nidra for ten minutes.


Standing stretches
Stand with your legs hip width apart, feet parallel, and spine Lifted up with head and neck in a straight Line. Push your heels and toes into the floor. Inhale and exhale deeply a few times.


Whole body stretch
Inhaling deeply, raise your arms above your head with hands clasped, and come up on to your toes. Stretch the whole body upward. Exhale and bring your arms to your side, and lower your heels to the floor. Repeat once more.


Gentle swings
Stand with feet slightly apart and knees slightly bent. Gently swing both arms first to the right, turning your head to the right. Then swing to the Left, turning your head to the Left. Repeat several times in a continuous movement. Relax with your Legs together and arms by your sides.

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Pose), and Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend). Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand), Halasana (Plow Pose), Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose).

If the cause of your insomnia is hormonal, these poses and forward bends are particularly effective viv. Sarvangasana, Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose), Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose), Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose), Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand): When practiced immediately before bed, it prepares the body for sleep. And if done during the day, it may help compensate for some lost sleep. You can also practice it supported on a chair.

Finally, don't forget to practice the very important Savasana (Corpse Pose). Corpse Pose closes out every yoga class, and it's a good way to close out your day too. Lying in bed, soften each part of your body from the toes up to the crown of your head. Then spend a few minutes just breathing. This will help create a break from your busy mind and allow you to relax for sleep. Good night!

Pranayama
The practice of breathing allows for more oxygen in the body providing clarity in the mind.It has been claimed that on average, for every minute you put into yoga you will need one minute less sleep. This makes yoga an excellent time investment. Three-Part Breath is very helpful for clearing the mind of the day's clutter. Use this simple exercise to prepare your body for sleep.

Alternate nostril (nadi sodhana)
It is great for relieving stress, depression and other mental and physical problems.

Meditation
Meditation has been used by many, many people to relieve stress in the body and mind. Itís a great technique to use before bedtime because it segues so naturally into sleep: it relaxes the body, clears the mind, and creates inner peace. Be patient with yourself enjoy the process of meditation.

Learn a relaxation technique, and either do it sometime during the evening, or just before bed, to wind down. Breathing techniques are perfect.Having a warm bath with lavender will also help.Remember your bedroom is for sleep, and keep it free from clutter and mess. Keep the temperature below 24 degrees and have some fresh air circulating. If you follow these recommendations you should have no problem getting a good night's sleep.

Yoga Nidra Relaxation
In Sanskrit, nidra means sleep. Breathe deeply and evenly through both nostrils for several seconds. Feel the breath flow right down into your abdomen. As you exhale, let any remaining tension in your body flow out with it.

Visualize a relaxing scene. Focus on your feet. Tense and release your toes, then flex your feet hard. As you relax them, feel all the tension drain from your feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, buttocks, and abdomen and breathe it out.

Focus on your hands. Tense the muscles in your arms and hands by clenching your hands into a tight fist, release and let the tension flow from your fingertips up your arms to your shoulders. Breathe it out. Focus on your shoulders. Tense your shoulder blades and relax them three times.

Turn your head to right and left to free any tension in the neck muscles and let your neck relax. Finally tense your facial muscles and as you release them be aware of all the tension draining out of the areas of tension, around your jaw and mouth, the eyes, and away from the forehead.

 

 


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