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Can Yoga Help Cure Insomnia?

Dec 20, 2007
Many people suffering from insomnia are looking for ways to overcome their problem, or at least get some relief from it. While a visit to your doctor is an absolute must, there are some everyday activities and habits that can also help. In most cases you'll want to look for some kind of natural treatment. On hearing the words "natural treatment for insomnia", most people immediately think of herbs, but there is another, very useful, natural treatment - yoga.

Yoga is a great way to relieve stress and lessen the effects of insomnia, or not being able to get to sleep or stay asleep at night. Getting regular exercise and following a regime of vigorous yoga, such as power yoga or Ashtanga, at least three times a week, can help to allow the body to relax and to drift off to sleep more easily.

However, you must be careful when to do your yoga exercises. Exercising within the three hours before bedtime can cause overactive blood flow and increased brain activity that can stimulate the body to stay awake, so plan your exercise early in the day.

Following the three part breathing technique, commonly used in yoga, helps to clear the mind of the day's stresses and thus help with sleep and relaxation. The alternating nostril breathing technique called Nadi Sodhana is a great way to alleviate stress. It allows the body to absorb oxygen to promote positive energy and relaxation to relieve nervous tension, depression and other stressful mental and physical situations.

Some Yoga positions have been reported as very effective for helping people affected by insomnia. One of these, called Happy Baby, can be done in bed; it will relieve tension from the lower back and hips as you hug your knees or feet while lying on your back.

Another very useful position is the Corpse Pose, where the person lies flat on their back gently breathing - this is one of the final poses during a Yoga class to instil relaxation. Yet another is the Supported Forward Bend, where one inhales, exhales and then bends from the hip without arching the back, moving one's head from side to side, slowly raising one's knees to one's chest to support muscle release and give a calm feeling through the body.

For experienced yoga participants - or adventurous first timers - posing in the Shoulderstand and following through with the Plow also increases blood flow to encourage a restful feeling in the person by stretching the muscles out.

Lying on the floor, crossing your leg over your body and gently pulling it across to the other side of the body while breathing out is referred to as the Opposite Side Twist.

All these positions encourage and train the muscles and body to react to daily stresses and to encourage a healthy rested body. Yoga promotes circulation, and the removal of toxins, body chemicals and stress, which can help with relaxation and ultimately with sleep. With the release provided by yoga, the body is allowed to rest, which in turn will provide a more soporific feeling and the possibility of a cure for the problem of insomnia.
About the Author
Terry Roberts is a professional linguist and translator with a variety of interests. To read more about insomnia, its causes, symptoms and treatments, visit his website at Facts About Insomnia.
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