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Restless Leg Syndrome
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June 28, 2008 - 6:18 pm
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Namaskar,

I have restless legs syndrome for many years. The symptoms are now worse and now it has spread to my arms. Can you pin-point some asana that might be helpful?

Om Shanti,

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July 8, 2013 - 6:15 pm
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Yoga Exercises for Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS is a common sleep disorder that can cause a restless itching and tingling sensation in the legs and can make it very difficult to fall asleep or get a good night's rest. There are certain medications that can help alleviate the discomfort of restless leg syndrome that your doctor can prescribe. There are also several yoga exercises that have been proven to relieve the symptoms associated with this condition.

Types of Asana Exercises that can treat RLS

Therapeutic Restorative yoga poses have been shown to greatly reduce the discomfort that comes along with restless leg syndrome. These yogic exercises can help your body to relax when performed before bedtime. By doing restorative poses your body will start to settle into serene stillness as you prepare for rest. You should do a few warm up exercises before you start doing restorative yoga poses since they require staying in one place for a long period of time.

Practice the Legs up the Wall Pose

Start out by lying on your back facing the wall. Place your legs in a straight upwards position against the wall. If lifting your legs upwards is difficult for you, you can start in an alternate manner by sitting against the wall in a sideways position and move your legs upward as you lie down on your back. You can place a pillow or folded up blanket underneath your lower back for support. Hold this pose for several minutes. Start out with five minute holds and then work your way up to fifteen minutes over time.

The Reclining Bound Ankle Pose

For this yogic pose you will sit in the butterfly position with your legs folded and the bottoms of your feet together. Slowly lean backwards using your hands to lean on for support at first. You may use a folded blanket or small pillow for extra support under your head or knees if necessary. Allow your arms to rest at your sides at an angle. Do not give in to the need to push your knees down to the floor. It is not required in order to perform a proper stretch. Hold this pose for one minute during your first session and increase gradually up to five and later to ten minutes at a time.

The Uttanasana or Standing Forward Fold

Stand with your feet spread apart at hip distance. Bend forward at the hips and straighten out the spine as you fold. This pose is meant to help you stretch out the back portion of your legs while the spine allows gravity to take control. You should hold the pose for five to ten breaths.

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Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

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March 8, 2016 - 3:05 pm
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Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is an unpleasant, itching sensation that causes stressful situation mostly during night time. The condition can keep an individual wake up for almost whole night and sleepy all day. According to health experts restless legs syndrome is a neurological state thought to be prompted by disturbance in the way of neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger the brain uses. When the neurotransmitter dopamine functions normally it will support muscles of body to move in a smooth and controlled manner but when the pathway of these neurotransmitters are interrupted or disturbed can cause uncontrolled movements of muscles.

To avoid problems originated by restless leg syndrome experts advised that, it is better to keep a regular bed time routine and adopt the habit of exercising daily. In a study it is stated that, regular routine of physical workout can lead to less RLS with longer and deep sleep. The ancient practice of yoga is referred as an excellent and effective physical activity that is helpful in easing conditions related to restless legs syndrome. According to a research published in a Journal named as Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, regular practice of yoga poses, stretches and breathing techniques are beneficial in getting relief from symptoms of restless legs syndrome and also offer better sleep, decrease in blood pressure level and feelings of stress.

The therapy of yoga is a combination of three basic remedies stretching, relaxing meditating with controlled breathing which aids in reducing effects of RLS efficiently and naturally. As reported in a study conducted by West Virginia University of Public Health for 8 weeks, in the investigation all participants were women, ages 32-66 suffering from symptoms of restless leg syndrome. These women experienced problems rated from moderate to severe due to continual day and night symptoms. After practicing 13 classes of gentle Lyengar yoga most of them noticed improvement in their condition and those women who concluded 8 weeks complete study by practicing yoga techniques found consistent relief from their issues. 9 out of 10 women found reduction in symptoms to lowest level.

Some of the therapeutic yoga postures with controlled breath helpful in getting relief from restless legs syndrome are mentioned below,

  • Legs up the Wall Pose (Vipariti Karani): This posture is a wonderful restorative and muscles relaxing pose, easily performed in evening for those who sit or stand throughout the day.
  • Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana): This standing forward bend can be practiced at any time as it provides stretch to back side muscles of legs and spine foothold with gravity. Hold the pose till 5-10 breaths.
  • Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottonasana): This seated forward fold engages feet and legs muscles for stabilizing lower body. Taking deep and calm breath hold the pose for 5-10 breaths.
  • Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhanasana): The posture is performed in reclining position by lying on back with bent knees and feet flat on surface with hip distant apart, a block or pillow is used as a support. This pose can be practiced at any time in morning or evening.
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