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.
Many things, such as stress, hormonal changes, medical or
emotional problems, and certain medications, can cause insomnia,
the sleep disorder.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
Alternate nostril (nadi sodhana)
It is great for relieving stress, depression and other mental
and physical problems.
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
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.