Stress can cause sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can cause stress. The two turn into a vicious cycle that can wreak havoc on your entire life. Losing sleep related to insomnia can result not only in physical fatigue, but also mental and emotional struggles as well.
While some people try sleeping pills, the side effects of those can be extreme. Most people are looking for a natural, gentle way to sleep better. And yoga for the treatment of insomnia may very well be your best bet.
Best Yoga for Insomnia
When using yoga for insomnia, you’ll get the full impact of the positions if you are able to combine them with the important mindfulness and breathing exercises. As yoga is about both the mind and the body, when you practice the poses, it is critical to also concentrate on breathing deeply and remaining in the moment. This will allow your yoga poses to have the physical power to stretch your body and prepare it for going to sleep, while stress is reduced by clearing out the mind.
Top 5 Yoga Positions for Insomnia
Try out these insomnia-fighting yoga poses to help your body and your mind decompress and promote healthier sleep.
1. Fire Log Pose (Agnistambhasana)
Concentrate on letting go of the tension in your hips during this pose, which will allow your body to relax other muscle groups as well. This will fight tension and prepare you for sleep.
Sitting on a mat, put your left leg straight forward and then bend it at a 90 degree angle at the knee. Flex the right foot and place it upon the left knee. Your right shin should be “stacked” on top of your left shin. Reach your hands forward in front of you and “walk” them out as you breathe out. Hold for about a minute. Relax and switch legs if desired.
2. Big Toe Pose (Padangusthasana)
This low vertical bend stimulates organs such as the kidneys and liver, activating the nervous system to reduce stress and tension.
Standing with your feet apart (hip-width), slowly and gently fold your body forward from your hips and grasp the big toes firmly with the thumb and first two fingers of each hand. Bend the elbows concentrate on grounding your feet to your supporting floor. Relax your head and neck while breathing deeply. Hold for up to three minutes.
3. Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)
This yoga pose for insomnia is especially helpful if you spend a lot of time sitting down at work during the day. This pose will help to increase blood flow, open the shoulders and reduce tension. Stimulation of the pituitary gland in this position also helps to balance the release of melatonin which controls the sleep-wake cycle in the body.
Position yourself on your knees with the hips sitting above the heels. Bend at the hips, keeping the hips stacked over the knees and place the fingertips on the floor. Walk the fingers forward until the arms are extended in front of you on the floor with elbows lifted. Place the forehead on the mat and relax the chest. Massage the forehead from left to right to reduce tension in the face. Hold for about a minute.
4. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This pose promotes rest and comfort to help relax the body and mind in preparation for sleep. For many people, this is a pleasant reminder of infancy and childhood.
Kneel on the floor, touching your big toes together and sitting on your heels. Separate the knees to the width of your hips. Exhale and lay your torso forward between your thighs. Reach the arms forward Lengthen your tailbone away from the pelvis while lifting the base of the skull from the back of the neck. You can also lay your hands to the side of your thighs with palms up. Rest here for up to a few minutes.
5. Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
This yoga pose offers the benefit of passive relaxation while the blood drains from the legs to promote refreshment of the circulatory system. This pose can be particularly helpful if you struggle with insomnia due to restless leg syndrome.
Feel free to use a bolster or long pillow along the wall with this pose if needed. Begin by sitting with your left side next to the wall and then slowly, gently turn your body to the left while bringing your legs up vertically along the wall. Lower your back to the floor (or onto the bolster) and scoot your buttocks to the wall. Place the arms comfortably out to the sides of your body with palms facing up. Be sure that your shoulders and head are resting gently on the floor. Focus on relaxing and releasing the tension in the hip socket. Hold for between five and ten minutes while breathing with awareness.
Using yoga for insomnia treatment is a healthy, natural way to fall asleep and stay asleep without the need for medication. Of course, if you struggle with chronic insomnia or other illness, be sure to contact a medical professional for the best care.