Beat Insomnia With Yoga

Posted on: 03 July 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Suffer with insomnia? Try this yoga relaxation and breathing technique before you go to bed.

Although there are many obvious physical benefits to be gained from practicing yoga, learning basic yoga relaxation and breathing techniques can be an invaluable tool for those who often lay awake or wake during the night and struggle to fall back asleep. 

This simple breathing technique and relaxation can be practiced before you fall asleep or even as you lie in bed.  It will improve the quality of that night's sleep so that you have a restful night and wake feeling revitalised and raring to go.

Yoga Breathing & Relaxation Technique 

Begin lying on your back, making sure that you are feeling aligned and comfortable. 

Lightly close your eyes, relax all of your facial muscles and breathe slowly through your nose. 

Place your hands lightly onto your stomach between your belly button and your sternum.  As you breathe in you should feel this area rising with each inhalation, and falling on each exhalation. 

Continue to breathe slowly, filling the whole of your lungs with air.  Try to lengthen each exhalation, and as you exhale try to relax and soften your whole body.  Muscles relax as you exhale so every exhalation can be used to release tension.  If you find it hard to lengthen your exhalation, breathe in for a count of five, and exhale for a count of six or seven.

Savasana Yoga PoseWhen you feel ready place your hands beside your hips with your palms facing up, as seen in the photo to the left. 

Feel that you are lying in a straight line, relax the facial muscles, slide the shoulder blades down your back to broaden the upper back and release the shoulders towards the floor.  Lengthen your lower back, relax the hips so that the legs rotate in the pelvic girdle.  Relax your ankles so that your feet just flop gently out to the sides.

As you lay in this position continue to breathe, focussing on your breath slowly entering and leaving your body through your nose.  Every time you exhale work to release tension and feel yourself relaxing and your whole body softening. 

Focusing on your breath will help still and calm the mind.  If your mind begins to wander try tuning into the sound of your breath entering and leaving your body.  Continue for as long as required.

By Sue Fuller

Sue Fuller is the founder of yoga2hear, an eco-aware company that devises and produces audio yoga classes available on CD or as MP3 Downloads. 

Yoga2HearChoose from a 'Gentle Yoga' class that has been devised for those that have not exercised for a while or who are returning to exercise after a break; 'Yoga On A Chair' is a 22 minute yoga class has been devised to introduce basic Hatha techniques with minimal physical impact to the body; 'Relaxation No.1' includes basic breathing and relaxation techniques that you can practice before drifting off to sleep.

All three classes can be quickly and easily downloaded from, which also contains information on how to save the download onto your computer and to create a CD of the class if required.  

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