Yoga Therapy for Better Sleep
Yoga Therapy for Chronic Sleep Issues
Yoga therapy can be a particularly effective resource for those experiencing chronic sleep issues. Although sleep is affected by various elements, and in turn can cause several of these elements—stress leads to anxiety which results in sleeplessness, which in turn may lead to poor eating habits, difficulty in concentrating, and poor emotional control—this cyclical effect can be interrupted by the simple practice of Svasana and other yoga-based practices.
Svasana for Sleep
Svasana is almost invariably an addendum to group yoga classes. We feel that its importance as a singular, introspective yoga practice for wellbeing. Svasana is most commonly referred to as 'corpse pose'—a rather ironic transliteration for a Sanskrit term which, as a noun, can mean respiration, feeling, or living, and as an adjective may take on the connotation of [something] living, or being alive. Lying on the ground, without action or seeming purpose, may appear counter to the modern, popularized studio yoga styles wherein physical movement, striving for so-called flexibility, and a multiplicity of props are the expected norm. Yet, the simple non-action of allowing the earth to support us is at the heart of all original yoga practice—to simply 'be.'
Throughout this site you may have noticed the term Svastha: it refers to whole-being wellbeing, a balanced state of body and mind. For most of us, this is something to patiently and diligently work toward in our daily lives yet is not easily achieved. This said, there are simple, guided practices—such as Svasana—that enable us to pause, step outside of the patterns of our day and ruminations of our mind, and momentarily guide us closer to that elusive state of Svastha.
Yoga is about letting go of all that is not essential. In essence, breathing is a metaphor for all yoga practice: When we let go of the 'do' mindset (forced inhale), the result is a clearer, more lucid (relaxed exhale) state of mind, able to act voluntarily and without extraneous influence. Despite very real, or sometimes perceived, challenges and obstacles, our mind and thoughts are still with us, affecting us both positively and negatively. Having recourse to a guided, introspective practice is a simple yet substantive means of bringing balance and peace. Svasana, in effect, is the voluntary relaxation of the body with the purpose of also relaxing and clearing the mind of cluttered, ruminative thought patterns, rigid mindset, worries... the non-essentials.
Do you find time to be in the sun, even during the winter? When do you eat, and what do you eat? If you get some exercise or movement into your day, is it strenuous or moderate—and is it in the morning or evening? Are you generally relaxed or do details, commitments and deadlines make you anxious and tense? Are you surrounded by natural lighting, LEDs or incandescent light for the majority of your workday?
These and other factors can directly impact the ability to get to sleep, stay asleep and the quality of sleep. Moreover, the body and brain use sleep-time to repair cells and to move toxic byproducts out of the system. Rather than prescribing a particular regimen or targeting a culprit in regard to your lack of sleep, Lifestyle Therapy & Mentoring provide ongoing, long-term support to change unhelpful habits and lifestyle patterns, as well as looking at the larger picture: health challenges, nutrition, emotional state and external factors such as living space and type of work.