Many of us live a hectic and fast paced lifestyle and that can lead us to experiencing long sleepless nights tossing and turning. There is nothing worse than having a busy schedule and working through it on no sleep or rest. Insomnia is the inability to sleep or to sleep well. Yoga teacher training can guide you down the path to learning some yoga techniques that will bring you rest and relaxation.
Many times medication is prescribed by a doctor to treat chronic insomnia but there are healthier strategies like behavior modification and relaxation techniques such as yoga to help you. We can begin by learning some yoga poses that will relax your mind and help you relieve your insomnia. Yoga teachers can assist you with poses if you are new to yoga practice.
Insomnia and some causes
Many things can cause you to have sleepless nights. Stress, hormone changes, emotional or medical situations and even some medications can take your sleep away. There is not one easy fix or solution to insomnia but adding a yoga practice into your schedule may help you more than you can imagine. You need to be able to practice some calming poses in the evening or just before bed to guide your body to relax and rest.
Poses for Rest
Cat and Cow Poses are both great to relieve your stress. They can also help stretch out your neck and back muscles while gently massaging your belly and spine area. To increase the effect of relaxation and increase you breathing awareness, those poses can be paired in a smooth sequence.
Begin on your hands and knees. Your hands placed directly under your shoulders and your fingers spread apart. Make sure your knees are about hip-width apart and that the tops of your feet are on the mat. Pay attention to your inhale and lift your tailbone slowly toward the ceiling while you drop your belly toward the mat. This creates an exaggerated arch in your back. While you are doing this lift your chin up and look at the ceiling. Now you are in a Cow Pose.
Slowly move into Cat Pose by exhaling. As you exhale start to arch your back toward the ceiling as you drop the top of your head toward the floor and you tuck in your tailbone.
*Continue this sequence for awhile and focus your movement with your rhythmic deep breathing.
There are many benefits to forward bends such as reducing stress, anxiety and headaches. Forward bends are also therapy for problems like high blood pressure and insomnia. To begin this pose, stand straight facing your mat with your arms resting at your side. This is called a Mountain Pose. Place your hands on your hips and slowly start bending from your waist. Make sure that you are bending from your hips and not rounding your back. If you are limber enough place your hands on the mat next to your feet. Keep your knees bent so that you do not pull on the hamstrings and to protect your knees. This pose is called standing forward bend.
You can also practice forward bends in a sitting position. You begin by sitting on the floor with your legs stretch out in front of you. Then you start to reach forward. This pose is called seated forward bend.
*yoga teachers can assist you or give you modifications to these poses to make sure that you do not cause any hyper extending.
Corpse Pose and Meditation
This pose is normally used for relaxation and meditation in yoga teaching. You begin by lying on your back on your mat. Place both arms slightly away from your body with both palms facing up. Your feet should be apart and falling naturally to the side. In this pose you can practice relaxation techniques or meditations.
One technique that works in this position is to tense each body part one by one and then exhale while releasing the tension and increasing relaxation instead. If you have trouble turning off your mind during this process focus on the sound of your breathing. If a thought enters your mind think of it and then expel it on the exhale. You can also use this pose to meditate using a mantra. Carefully select a word or phrase that you repeat as you breathe.
Yoga teacher training will tell you that the next time you are lying awake all night, get up and grab your yoga mat. This ancient form of exercise may be just the thing you need to find your rest.