Yoga For Stress/Anxiety Related Insomnia

Sharon Rekieta, Fitness and Wellness Director - 1st October 2012

Restful and restorative sleep is essential for physical and psychological health. Chronic lack of sleep or lack of refreshing sleep can lead to depression, muscle aches and pains, and impaired physical and mental functioning.

Insomnia frequently occurs if you are worried or if you are feeling so stressed and anxious that it is difficult to relax—subsequently, you lie in bed tired, yet unable to fall asleep. Yoga can be very beneficial for alleviating or minimizing insomnia. With its restful, comfortable positions accompanied by calming breathing patterns, your body learns to relax and your mind learns to easily drift into tranquility.

Some suggested poses that facilitate rest and relaxation are Child’s Pose, Extended Child’s Pose, Eagle Spine Twist, Seated Forward Fold, and Legs Up the Wall.

The physical practice of yoga has been well documented as an antidote for insomnia, especially when accompanied by the practice of deep and steady breathing. However, merely focusing on breathing rhythmically often leads to peaceful and restful sleep.

Breathing Guidelines

Wear loose clothing

Lie down in a comfortable position

Close your eyes

Begin inhaling and exhaling through your nose only

Focus on expanding the diaphragm and bringing in as much oxygen as possible with each inhale and then emptying the lungs with each exhale

If you have difficulties turning off your mind, count the seconds of each inhale and exhale

Alternative Breathing Pattern:

Inhale and exhale through your nose only as described above

After a deep inhale, hold your breath for five seconds

Slowly and completely exhale

Repeat as many times as necessary until you feel your body letting go