Yoga For Insomnia
Not sleeping so great? I feel for you, I really do. Insomnia is what brought me to meditation and then yoga many years ago. You can read more about that here and listen to my Facebook Live talk if you are interested to hear my story.
Insomnia is a very common complaint with almost half of adults experiencing symptoms on a few nights a week. It is more prevalent in women and older adults but anyone can be affected. (http://www.sleepoz.org.au)
Just as exercise and nutrition are essential for optimal wellness, so is sleep. As a yoga therapist, I often observe that there is a direct relationship between the quality of a person’s sleep and the quality of their waking life.
Insomnia can have complex and far reaching effects into the overall health and wellbeing of a person. This often includes people close to them and communities at large. Many turn to pharmaceuticals to combat the problem but this is rarely a long term solution.
How Yoga Can Help With Sleep
Yoga can be a fantastic way of dealing with insomnia over the long term. It provides an excellent opportunity to relieve stress, improve self-awareness. The practices have more effect over time with minimal adverse side effects.
Most importantly guidance is required with what techniques to practice when or you could end up making the situation worse. Yes, yoga could make your insomnia worse! For example, having a really strong, stimulating or energising practice in the late evening. Although this might be great for waking you up in the morning, it is not so great later. So, you might ensure your yoga teacher/therapist is confident to prescribe techniques therapeutically in order to get the best outcome.
There is a growing evidence base of research supporting the effectiveness of yoga in treating insomnia. We go through some of this in our yoga for insomnia workshops. Many techniques have been shown to be effective. These include asana (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), concentration techniques, meditation and awareness exercises.
Yoga is an active therapy, this means you have to be ready and willing to make change for it to work! So, here is my action plan for incorporating yoga into your lifestyle to help ease insomnia.
Yoga For Insomnia – Action Plan
- As a starting point, follow good sleep hygiene practices see here
- Find a yoga teacher who has classes near to where you live and start attending regularly, if you need help looking, let us know! Regular practice will give the greatest benefit.
- Keep a sleep diary for a week so you and your yoga teacher can analyze it for any patterns
- See a yoga therapist who can help you get to the root of the problem and then prescribe something that is tailored to you as an individual.
- Come along to one of our workshops which will arm you with a heap of yogic tools to use to help combat insomnia (and there is cake & chai!)
At Charleyoga, we aim to educate and empower you with yogic tools that are easy to learn an practice. Some you can use regularly as a preventative measure. Other techniques are perfect to use in place of spending hours tossing and turning in bed. They can be extremely effective if you are willing to commit to an “active” therapy. Yoga is not a passive form of therapy so requires a willingness to make change and become more self-aware (mindful).
It’s always beneficial to get live training and to build up a working, experiential knowledge of yoga by joining a class. You could start by watching this recording of a talk I did on Yoga for Insomnia here. I’ve been been offering insomnia workshops and yoga classes Perth clients with sleeping issues have had successful outcomes with for many years. Contact us today for more details, or go ahead and book into a class.
About Charleyoga & Charley Hickey
Author: Charley Hickey C-IAYT is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross, Bateman & Fremantle, Perth. She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.
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