Most Americans don’t get enough sleep. Even though we should get between seven and eight hours each night, most of us get about six. Approximately one-third of Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder.
Whether it’s stress that keeps us up at night, crying babies, a hectic schedule or a combination of any of these factors, yoga can be the caffeine jolt you need and it can help you rest your head more soundly. Here’s how:
A Little Goes a Long Way
Just 20 minutes of yoga each day can revitalize your tired soul as well as prepare you for sounder sleep. Start your day by going through five to ten sun salutations. The body-breath sequence of flowing postures calms your mind as it gets your heart rate up. Not only will you feel a greater sense of vitality but the muscle-intensive postures will increase your strength and improve your flexibility. End your practice with savasana or corpse pose. Don’t skimp out on this integral yoga posture, even if you’re pressed for time. Even two – four minutes of this silent and still pose will have the ability to keep your mind balanced as you set out on your day.
If you’re someone who suffers from insomnia, take ten minutes before you go to bed to perform a few gentle yoga poses. Balasana, or child’s pose, is immensely powerful for quieting the mind. A simple forward fold is effective also as long as you don’t push too hard to lay your torso out over your legs. Remember to keep lifting with your heart and let your breath move you.
Proper breathing is the crux of yoga. Before turning in for the night or before you head into a stressful situation, try this quick breathing exercise. Sit comfortably in a seated position and close your eyes. Breathe in slowly through your nose for six counts and breathe out through your nose for nine counts. Practice this exercise for 10 minutes or longer and you’ll be off to dreamland in no time.
November 2nd, 2008