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Yoga Offers a Natural Way to Treat Insomnia


3 Yoga Poses to Help You Sleep

The next time you cannot get to sleep, try these yoga poses.

Seated Twist Pose

Begin in a cross-legged sitting position with your knees bent to the sides and your legs crossed at the ankles. Inhale, then slowly exhale. As you exhale, twist your upper body to the right. Hold the position for a few breaths, return to your starting position and repeat on the other side.

Cross-Legged Bend Pose

Remain in the cross-legged position and bend forward slowly. Place your hands in front of you on the bed or floor. Maintain the position for several breaths before returning to your starting position.

Knees-to-Chest Pose

Lie on your back with your head on a pillow. Pull your right knee toward your chest and hold it there for several breaths. Repeat with your left leg. After you have performed the pose with each leg, bring both legs toward your chest. Hold them as you gently rock from side to side for several breaths. Return to the starting position.

Many people take the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep for granted, but if you have ever suffered from insomnia, you know how difficult those seemingly insignificant things can be. You could pop a few pills, but do you really want to deal with the side effects? Yoga provides a natural way to treat your insomnia and get the sleep you desperately need.

Why Yoga?

Insomnia is a common problem, affecting 30 to 35 percent of Americans at some point in their lives. Trouble sleeping can occur for a variety of reasons. You might find it difficult to sleep if you are in pain from an injury or have a chronic condition or disease that interferes with sleep, such as arthritis, asthma or cancer. Stress and emotional factors can cause insomnia, as can hormonal changes during menopause. Since many factors influence insomnia, yoga's three-pronged approach offers the perfect way to treat it. Yoga is not just an exercise method. When you practice yoga, you will also focus on meditation and breathing, which can help you relax and get the sleep you need.

Yoga Helps You Manage Conditions That Can Contribute to Insomnia

If arthritis pain or asthma symptoms keep you up at night, reducing those symptoms just may help you sleep better. Yoga is every effective at improving your circulation, lowering your blood pressure, improving your heart rate and boosting the function of your respiratory system. It's a great way to ease pain, particularly if you suffer from chronic low back pain, fibromyalgia, or osteo or rheumatoid arthritis.

Yoga's Effect on Sleep is Proven

Research studies have shown that practicing yoga is effective at treating insomnia. Participants in one study reported that they slept longer, fell asleep more quickly, and experienced better sleep quality when they practiced yoga. Other studies have examined the link between mindfulness meditation and insomnia and discovered that meditation helps decrease insomnia, depression and fatigue. Meditation triggers the relaxation response, a deep rest state that changes your response to stress. The relaxation response not only helps you sleep but can also reduce the symptoms of some conditions that are can be worsened by stress, such as high blood pressure or depression.

Is it Hard to Learn Yoga?

Yoga is an ideal form of exercise no matter what your age or physical condition. Although you will find plenty of photographs on the Internet of people performing complex poses, beginners start with very simple, basic poses. You can learn how to do yoga by watching videos or attending classes, although classes are recommended for beginners.

During your class, your instructor will explain the philosophy behind yoga, teach you how to meditate and breathe, and demonstrate yoga poses. He or she will also make sure that you are performing poses correctly and offer suggestions to help you get the most out of your yoga experience. Once you learn some yoga poses, you can practice them anywhere. If you are having a stressful day, look for an empty conference room at work and perform a few poses. Since you don't need much room to practice yoga, you can take advantage of the benefits of yoga practically anywhere there is room for a yoga mat.

Are tired of dealing with effects of insomnia? Give yoga a try. Call us to find out when the next series of yoga classes start.

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