Why Yoga Matters Part 8

Last time, we talked about the benefits and practice of Bikram (hot) yoga! Today, we are going to talk about how the practice of yoga can help you beat insomnia once and for all! As we all know, sleep is an essential part of good health. A good night’s sleep can help you feel energized, think clearly and work more effectively.

But, the simple fact of the matter is that for some of us, sleep is not always so easy to come by. If you sometimes have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you’re not alone. According to a recent study more than one-third of all Americans suffer from occasional or chronic insomnia.

People are often surprised to learn that daytime drowsiness is not an inevitable, harmless, by-product of a busy lifestyle, but rather a symptom of an underlying sleep problem that can be very harmful to your health if not treated properly.

Recent studies show that nearly a quarter of the population regularly cannot go to, or remain asleep, and every year doctors write more than 14 million prescriptions for sleeping pills alone.

While the general cause of insomnia varies from person to person, it is often related to some type of underlying medical condition, such as chronic pain from arthritis as well as outside stimuli, such as drinking tea, coffee or alcohol. Environmental factors certainly contribute to the inability to sleep properly. Chronic or long-term insomnia is also associated with depression and anxiety.

Sleepless nights, staring wild-eyed into the darkness, are often worse than having bad dreams. For many people getting a good night’s sleep seems impossible. One of the main side effects caused from a lack of sleep is fatigue, which can lead to the inability to think clearly and this could result in accidents in the car, at home or at work. People who suffer with chronic insomnia may also experience depression as I mentioned above as well as being put at risk for other mental and physical illnesses.

As we well know, yoga is a great way to relieve stress, but did you know that it can also be of great way to alleviate the effects of insomnia? It’s true, by practicing a regimen of vigorous yoga (power yoga) 4 times a week you will be able to train your body to relax which will enable you to drift off to sleep easier.

Of course you will want to make sure that you don’t perform your work out too close to bedtime. Power yoga is very stimulating. It allows the body to absorb oxygen more efficiently, releases nervous tension, and promotes positive energy, so you will need at least 3 hours after a vigorous workout before going to bed, so that your body has time to relax and your blood flow can return to normal.

While a regular yoga routine will be very beneficial, there are certain poses that are believed to be more affective when it comes to relieving insomnia. These include the Standing Forward Bend, the Happy Baby, the Cat and Cow (a combination of two poses) and the Corpse Pose.

Breathing is also an essential part of helping to alleviate insomnia symptoms. So don’t forget to include rhythmic breathing exercises as a part of your yoga routine. The best thing about using yoga to help get restful night’s sleep is that you can practice it in the comfort of your own home. So the next time you’re having trouble sleeping don’t forget to strike a pose before you go to bed.

Next week, we will be talking about yoga poses especially for busy professionals that are stuck in front of the computer all day.

To another issue of Why Yoga Matters,

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