By Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 250
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, you are not alone. Insomnia affects more than 30% of the general population, and more than half of Americans say their sleep patterns are affected by anxiety and constant worry. Twice as many women suffer from the affliction than men, and almost everyone who is depressed is also affected by the inability to get enough sleep.
Detrimental Effects of Insomnia
• Linked to weight gain and sleep apnea
• Results in 10 million Americans taking sleeping pills
• Affects sex life
• Costs billions to treat sleep disorders
• Causes up to 1,500 deaths in vehicle accidents annually
• Affects absenteeism and productivity in the workplace
For centuries, anecdotal evidence has supported the use of Yoga training for better sleep. Now medical research is validating these claims. In a Yoga study at Harvard Medical School, patients with insomnia were taught meditation, breathing (pranayama), and postures. They were then monitored for two months. Sleep quality and time significantly improved within the Yoga group.
As its claims for creating better sleep habits are further investigated and scientifically documented, this ancient practice, we know as “Yoga,” could have a far-reaching impact on the health and wellness industries.
The advantage of aerobic exercise for overall well-being is generally accepted; and strenuous asanas, likewise, help to relieve tension and calm the body. If done immediately before bedtime, however, they are apt to create alertness rather than sleep.
Gentle asana practice is all about balance; and the benefits of restorative asanas are often under estimated because of their simplicity. These gentle stretches and relaxing poses are highly effective for reducing stress and inducing sleep as listed below.
Yoga Techniques for Insomnia
• Pranayama, especially three-part or single nostril breathing
• Mantra Meditation
• Child’s Pose
• Cat Pose
• Cow Pose
• Extended Puppy Pose
• Reclining Bound Angle Pose
• Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
• Corpse Pose
Is Yoga a natural remedy for insomnia? Because people who practice any style of Yoga are usually more relaxed, they are less prone to experiencing insomnia on an ongoing basis. For the practitioner who is suffering from serious sleep deprivation, a private consultation with a certified Yoga instructor or a physician may be needed in order to establish a routine that addresses individual issues. Good sleep habits require a balanced life, and Yogic methods are time-honored remedies for achieving equilibrium and poise.
© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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