Having trouble getting good, restful sleep? This could be due to excessive stress, poor eating habits or an unhealthy lifestyle. Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems like irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and even heart failure.
But don’t worry, insomnia can be easily cured with yoga. Yoga asanas and breathing exercises can help address the problem of insomnia, at the physiological as well as the psychological level. Researchers have found that yoga significantly reduces the severity of insomnia and improves both your ability to tolerate stress and your quality of life.
Here are six soothing yoga poses that will help treat your insomnia, relieve stress and restore sound sleep:
Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Twist)
Start off lying on your back with your arms out at shoulder level. Bend your legs so that your feet are flat on the floor, a few inches apart. Twist your legs to the right side and turn your face to the left. Hold the position for a few minutes and then repeat the same thing on the other side. This is an extremely relaxing posture that will help dispel the stress from your lower back.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Pose)
Start on all fours with your knees on the ground and your arms directly under your shoulders. Tuck your toes and lift your hips upward. Keep your feet hip-width apart. Pressing your shoulders inward, shift your weight from your arms to the centre of your body. Breathe from your belly and hold the position for 4 – 5 breaths. This position helps release the tension in your shoulders and scapula, which tends to builds up due to long working hours.
Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand)
Place your knees on the ground your head upside down, next to a wall. Interlock your fingers behind your head to support it. Tuck in your toes and raise your hips. Walk towards the wall and with the help of a partner or your teacher. Lift your legs up and straighten them against the wall. Hold for a few breaths, so that your blood flow reverses itself. This is an advanced posture, so do not attempt it without the supervision of an experienced teacher.
Shishuasana (Child Pose)
The headstand should always be followed by the Child Pose. Keep your knees on the ground and sit back on your hips. Kneel down, touch your forehead to the floor and extend your arms forward. Take a few comfortable breaths and relax.
Lie down in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) and focus on your breath. Place your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your navel. Breathe from your belly, ensuring that only your left hand moves up and down. Inhale deeply and exhale completely each time. This breathing exercise will relax your heart and brain, relieving the tiredness from your mind.
Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through your left nostril for four seconds. Then close your left nostril with the ring finger of your right hand and exhale through your right nostril for four seconds. With practice, you should be able to stretch it to eight seconds. This exercise helps relaxes your nervous system and gives you a sense of balance.
*All the yoga practices should be done under the supervision of an experienced yoga trainer.
*The causes and symptoms of insomnia may vary; consult a doctor before taking any drugs or medication.
*Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Courtesy: Manisha Kharbanga