How Yoga can help you sleep better

by | Aug 14, 2017 | Ashtanga Yoga, Health & Wellbeing, Wisdom

Tossing and turning all night, as opposed to deep sleep, is uncomfortable to say the least. When insomnia turns into a common occurrence, your body can’t perform the necessary functions or ensure all systems run at optimal levels. As a result, you start to feel run down, susceptible to illness, irritable, over-stressed or even depressed.

The most common reason for insomnia is the inability to wind down after a busy day. This isn’t surprising, considering the constant availability of overstimulation, from a variety of sources. A regular yoga practice makes a significant difference to your sleep patterns by teaching you how to relax and surrender.

Reduces anxiety

Nothing blocks a peaceful sleep more than a bout of anxiety. It’s virtually impossible to drift off under an attack of thoughts that leave you feeling more stressed by the minute – especially in the dead of night with nothing to distract you from them.

A yoga practice teaches you to become mindful of your thoughts, while focusing on the breath and postures. In doing so, meditation can actually reduce cortisol levels in your brain, which are the hormones released when you feel anxiety and stress.

A regular practice also enhances calmness and positivity throughout the day, soothing the nervous system and teaching you how to relax at will. It’s in this state that you’re able to sufficiently unwind, in order to gain the benefits of a truly peaceful sleep.

Connects your body and mind

Burnout often stems from doing too much, while ignoring the symptoms your body produces to combat it. Common colds, infections, aches and pains can all point to a lowered immune system that’s in urgent need of rest and recuperation. In the rush of daily routines, it can feel easier to push through symptoms, however doing so creates a disconnect with the body and the mind.

Yoga teaches you to listen to your body and fully understand, feel and cooperate with the way it works. The physical aspect of asana practice puts you in touch with how your body works, releases tension and increases blood flow. The unification with your mind then gives you the tools required to know what to do in order to relax, recharge and improve your sleep patterns.

One of these tools, for example, is the ability to follow routine in a focused, intentional way. Through breath work, asana practice and meditation, you train your mind to know when it’s time for action and time for rest, so it’s not swirling with thoughts the second your head hits the pillow.

Encourages surrender

If you’ve ever had a sleepless night then felt further stress because you can’t sleep, you’ll understand the necessity of surrender. In that situation, it’s often better to simply get up, accept the fact that you’re not sleeping, and read a book or take a hot bath instead.

A yoga practice teaches you how to observe and accept the present moment, instead of fighting with your thoughts or bodily reactions. In this non-resistance to what is, space is created to allow for calm to surface. The peace that arises starts to muffle thoughts and feelings. Eventually, the volume in your mind is so quiet that stillness takes its place.

It’s in this stillness that a peaceful night awaits.

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