Insomnia is one condition affecting several thousand people worldwide and perhaps the biggest culprit is stress. Both sleep deprivation and stress are vicious cycles that lead to a number of health disorders. Insomnia can really get you down and is one of the primary conditions of stress affecting so many US adults today.
Our fast paced lifestyle is a major contributing factor causing over stimulation of the nervous system thus causing restlessness, tension and insomnia. The key to managing insomnia is to reduce stress levels in the body and what better way to achieve that than Yoga.
Besides the theological and spiritual factors surrounding Yoga, it is also a healthy form of exercise coupled with breathing techniques that can reduce the symptoms of several disorders. Here are 5 easy yoga poses for insomnia that can help you sleep. Yoga poses can help you reduce the stress and tension by calming and relaxing your body thus inducing a favorable physiological condition conducive for sleep.
1 Shishusana or the Child Pose
Favored by many because of its relaxation pose easy to perform, the child’s pose can be done by almost every healthy individual.
Kneel on the floor and gently enter a sitting positon resting on your heels. Separate your knees to hip width. Now exhale and bend forward placing your torso on your thighs. Extend your arms out in front of you hold the position and breathe. Now slowly return your arms alongside your body with palms facing upward. Hold and breathe. Then return back to sitting position and repeat twice. The child pose relaxes the back and improves digestion.
Benefits of Shishuasana: Calms nerves and relieves stress and anxiety. Relaxes the back, relieves constipation. Avoid doing this if you are pregnant or suffering from diarrhea.
2 Shavasana, the Corpse Pose
In the corpse pose your body needs to remain in a neutral position. Lie flat on your back without pillows. Close your eyes and place your legs a comfortable distance apart. Your hands should be placed alongside your body with palms facing upward. While breathing slowly focus on every part of your body starting with feet upwards. Relax your body as you do so. As you focus on your feet, knees thighs, and move upward breathe slowly and gently relaxing each potion as your concentration travels upwards. Breathe gently and slowly while even focusing on every breath. Remain in the position for about 10-20 minutes.
Benefits of Shavasana: Stimulates blood circulation, relaxes muscles, releases stress and tension. Improves concentration and calms the mind.
3 Marjariasana, Cat Stretch
Place yourself on all fours in the shape of a table so that your back is parallel to the floor. Knees should be hip width apart. Look straight ahead of you, while inhaling raise your chin and compress your buttocks while stretching your back and pushing your abdomen downwards in an inverted arch. Now after exhaling follow with a countermovement by arching your back like a cat. You should now relax your buttocks. Hold for a few seconds and repeat the exercise 5 times. Remember for the maximum effect performs the exercise slowly and gracefully like a feline.
Benefits of Marjariasana: Improves digestion and circulation. Relaxes the mind. Tones up your abdomen and strengthens your wrists. If you suffer from back problems do not try this exercise before consulting your doctor.
4 Uttanasana, Intense Forward Bend
An easy enough yoga pose for insomnia to relax your body and mind. Stand with your feet together and slowly bend forward hinging at the hips. Your head should move forward as low as your body will allow. Your knees should have a slight bend as there is no need to keep it straight. Place your palms at the side of the legs on the ground. Alternately if you aren’t flexible enough to place your palms on the ground fold and hold your elbows. Breathe 10-15 times while holding the pose. Release your elbows and resume your standing position.
Benefits of uttanasana: Relives tension in the body as well as hamstrings and calves. Improves postures and reduces fat. Soothes the central nervous system. Calms the mind and rebalances the senses. Avoid the pose if you suffer from head, leg or shoulder injury, stiff hips and chronic back pain.
5 Supta Baddha Konasana, Recline Bound Angle Pose
Usually this asana or yoga pose for insomnia is performed without props but when performed with pillows or blankets it becomes one of the best restorative poses for relaxation and sleep. It is the ultimate position to rid your energy points or chakras of negative energy after a hard day’s work.
Place a small pillow or stack of blankets behind you. Now in a seated position recline backwards gently onto the props. Spread your knees at the sides, fold your legs and bring the soles of your feet together. Your arms should be extended at your sides with palms facing upwards. Gradually focus on your body and breathe slow controlled breaths. Hold the position for at least 30 minutes. During the asana you can even rotate your hips gently as an enhancement to the exercise.
Benefits of sputa Baddha Konasana: Restorative and rejuvenating. Increases abdominal blood circulation. Calms the nervous system. Do not perform the unsupported version of this exercise of you suffer from knee injury or knee pain. Those suffering from low back pain should avoid the exercise.