Yoga for Insomnia

Gentle yoga it was like a domino effect my physical issues were causing anxiety and that was causing insomnia the less I slept the worse everything got age-related conditions grief and a lifetime of stress can result in insomnia for many Zoomers. But based on my experience and years of teaching I planned a very simple yoga series that can calm the racing mind and bring about deep restfulness you don’t have to be in good physical shape to do this practice in fact it’s been designed to benefit people who aren’t in good shape we’ll start with a very easy warm-up that grounds us and releases the tension of not sleeping then a combo of standing exercises and lying down poses will continue that release of tension after that we cool down in a very relaxing reclining goddess pose this is the very gentle practice. But don’t be fooled doing the whole series or, if you’re busy just one or two of the poses might have you finally nodding off let’s start the healing joining me today Brenda and kit who both are dealing with insomnia. So the warm-up is going to be comprised of two pose is wonderful pose that will help us ground. And then an inversion. So the first post dand Asana will take seated now, if you have low back problems or, if you feel like your hamstrings are a little bit too tight just come up on to a pillow a rolled-up blanket. And we’ll get all of the flesh on the backs of the legs to come back. So just move the flesh back. And then we’re going to take the upper legs rotate them inwardly that is going to give the sciatic joints the SI joints a little bit of space the low back will be able to lift will be able to lift through the sternum and dand Asana is an excellent way to connect to the ground we’re going to use the breath and engage all of the muscles of the legs all of the muscles of the feet we’re going to use dorsiflexion in the feet heel strong dominant pressing away toes coming back towards the knees spreading the toes nice and wide and creating a lot of space in the plantar fascia where we connect to the earth we are going to squeeze and hug the muscles into the leg bones here letting the heads of the femurs the tops of the leg bones draw down as we lift everything on the front part of the chest long slow smooth in-breath.

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And then it crests at the crown of the head like a wave and cascades down the back line as an out breath grounding through the sit bones. And the lengths lifting everything on the front line of the body is going to open up the front of the chest we’re opening up some more room in the lungs we’re creating space between the belly. And the heart now we’re gonna move into an inversion V pre to karani the waterfall pose we come down onto the ground and using our arms become on to the back, if you’d like to elevate your pelvis by taking the bolster or taking a rolled-up blanket or towel underneath the pelvis that will be a really effective way to take the pose we let ourselves surrender here. And then one leg comes up. And then another leg comes up. And then we circle the ankles a few times. And then the soles of the feet come together. And then we can butterfly the legs in a very gentle way we’re creating a lot of space in the hip sockets we’re starting to release a lot of tension that has been residing in the legs all day this is a wonderful pose to take we’re activating the vagus nerve which governs the parasympathetic aspect of the nervous system the rest and digestive aspects of the nervous system we take a few breaths deep into the hip sockets deep into the hip creases we hold a lot of tension especially, if we’re sitting at a desk or we’re doing a lot of driving there’s an enormous amount of tension in the hips that can create a lot of tension in the mind completing the out-breath and pausing before you allow the in-breath to come in can really help settle the mind please enjoy any variation of me Purita karani that feels good for you legs long bent knees butterflying or what have you. And we’ll be back in a few moments to work with more symptoms of insomnia healing yoga yoga for real people with real problems for more yoga go to one TV dot see a slash healing yoga you healing yoga yoga for real people with real problems hi my name is Brenda I’ve been an insomniac most of my life when I wake up in the morning I should be exhausted and tired.

But I’m not instead I’m running on nervous energy all day when it comes time to go to bed I put my head down and I still can’t sleep however it got very bad after the death of my husband a little over a year ago I began sleeping 0 to 10 hours a week that’s a week not a day not anot a night I’m since I’ve been doing yoga for the last three months I’ve started to improve my sleep I’m now up to between 2 and 4 hours every night that’s a whole grand total of what 12 14 hours a week which is fabulous in my books I’ve still got a long way to go. But I know that with the help of yoga. And the practices that they’ve shown me I can improve welcome back we’ve been dealing with symptoms of insomnia Brenda what are your favorite go-to poses when you’re up in the middle of the night probably my favorite is the happy baby pose I know it’s not the normal one of the normal poses. But I find it very soothing and very comforting that’s so wonderful well I hope by the end of the practice I’ll be able to put you fast to sleep so yeah. So we’re going to be releasing some more energy out of the back line of the body and grounding going into some inversions here with prasarita padottan Asana into uttan Asana. And some variations. So we’ll take our feet wider apart on the mat heels out toes in. And then we’re going to bend the knees take the sit bones back maybe put the hands on the knees and gently lower down maybe the elbows come on the knees now, if you’re flexible and you’d like to take the floor wonderful, if not just keep your elbows on the knees we’ll take a long slow smooth in-breath and a long slow smooth out breath and begin to lengthen one leg out of time the right leg goes long. And then the left leg goes long we go back and forth maybe moving the hips from side to side we’re letting the out breast be complete and we’re feeling the belly come to the front spine we’re lengthening out the hamstring. So that we can release tension out of the hips and out of the spine let the upper leg bones rotate inwardly and let the pelvis come up and over allowing the spine to pour out of the pelvis and relaxing all of the muscles of the spine, if you feel ambitious you could be taking your hands behind your back you could use a belt as well.

And then we rotate the upper arm bones externally broadening through the collar bones and lifting the elbows. And the hands up long slow smooth and complete in-and-out breaths here long slow smooth and complete out breaths then hands come on to the hips we bend the knees. And we strengthen all the muscles of the back. And we inhale and rise up slowly. And then we’re going to heel toe the feet into the midline. And then we’ll just turn for utan Asana routine Asana is the same idea it’s a standing forward fold. And we’ll be taking a few variations to get deeper into the hips and releasing a lot of tension. So we can relax and have a good night’s sleep we bend the knees take the sit bones back let the pelvis come up and over the femurs let the belly rest on the thighs. And then we’ll bring the hands down roll ground through the right foot lifting left foot comes down pumping that grounded leg a few times. And just feeling what’s going on with the hamstrings keep the knee bent and let the hamstring be safe now we’re going to let the fingers do the walking we’re walking over to the right and allowing the pelvis to come up and over and around the head of the femur long slow smooth in-breath and a long slow smooth out breath will take us back to Center maybe we’ll pump that grounded leg a few times. And then we’ll walk the fingers in the opposite direction we’re twisting all of the deep muscles in the pelvis in the hips and wringing out long held tension here coming back to Center switching sides left foot comes down now just come to an awareness of what’s going on with the right. And the left hip we moved an enormous amount of energy out of the right hip just come hear that what’s going on in the left hip ground through the ball of the big toe. And the heel. And the ball of the baby toe on the left side lifting the right leg let the fingers do the walking over here come over to the baby toe side of the foot bringing the pelvis around the head of the femur.

And then coming back to Center maybe pumping that grounded leg a few times. And then walking over to the opposite side having that sense that the femur is stable the pelvis is coming around the femur accommodating the femur the femur is what’s grounding us it’s the anchor of the pose here. And then we’ll come back to Center dropping both legs. And then inhaling halfway lift lengthening the spine drawing the shoulder blades down exhaling forward fold hands on hips energize the legs keep the spine nice and strong and inhale slowly and exhale arms come out to the sides experience that wonderful shift of energy and prana throughout your body right now come back on the heels and stand strongly in your connection to the earth now we’re going to come into crocodile pose we’re gonna come right down onto the ground after moving all of that energy out. And we’ll cross the forearms and let the forehead rest down this is a wonderful pose to take. Because it’s so soothing please continue to enjoy crocodile pose for the next few minutes. And we’ll be back with more wonderful poses for insomnia healing yoga yoga for real people with real problems for more yoga go to one TV dot see a slash healing yoga you healing yoga yoga for real people with real problems welcome back we’ve been using our yoga practice to help us deal with symptoms of insomnia let me ask you kid what are some of the symptoms that you deal with well my symptoms are basically I can go to sleep.

But I can’t stay asleep. So I wake up within two hours max, if I get three straight hours I’m lucky wow that’s. So Interesting well I hope that this next sequence is going to help give you a wonderful night’s sleep tonight let’s come down to happy baby we come down onto our back. And the knees are bent. And then we take one knee up into the belly. And we find out where we can hold on with our hand now, if we’re not very flexible we can just hold on to either the calf or maybe around behind the knee and kid here is very flexible maybe she’s grabbing on to the outside edge of the foot. And then maybe creating a little bit of tension between the foot. And the hand and seeing what happens down here in the pelvis the femurs dropping a little bit more deeply into the hip socket let’s take the opposite leg up now engaging that isometric action again and rocking back and forth this is a wonderful way to ground the back line of the body another way to really work well with the hips and release a lot of tension and gripping here that might be keeping us awake is to draw the sit bones down and feel the low back begin to lift up just ever so slightly letting the out breast be complete feeling the belly come to the front spine pausing there for a moment is a wonderful practice to ground the mind and calm the mind this is not a pose that I regularly include in my insomnia classes. But it can be a really soothing pose Brenda is very flexible in the hips she’s very flexible in the spine. So this is a pose that she really enjoys and, if you’re starting to feel calm in the mind and calm in the breath then you know that’s the best pose for you to be doing at that time now we’re gonna put the happy baby to sleep in Child’s Pose so release the legs. And come back to your back.

And then roll over to the right. And then make your way up using the strength of your upper body and using a bolster can be really wonderful but, if you don’t need any support and you’d like to come down into Child’s Pose all the way as kit is doing resting the forehead allowing the arms to come back resting the tops of the hands on the ground we’re opening up some real estate in the back in the low back down at the bottom of the lungs where we have the highest concentration of these air sacs that exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide when we’re working with insomnia we’re typically more in this place of breathing into the upper part of the lungs. And the mind is very active. So we’re just switching everything over here we’re letting the back line expand and open getting breathitt down into the bottom of the lungs and we’re resting the forehead, if you’d like to take your bolster with the knees wide inhaling and lengthening on the front of the body exhaling and coming forward resting the temple on the bolster. But allow your elbows to rest down and feel supported taking a few breaths here. And just allow yourself to feel the sit bones come back allowing yourself to feel the belly is supported this is a very soothing aspect of the pose keeping the belly compressed activates the relaxation response let go of the jaws let go of the eyes let go of the eyebrows and rest Brenda is using the bolster a little bit differently she’s got her legs together she’s getting that compression of the belly. Because her hips are very open she can bring her legs together and and take that pose a little bit deeper and she’s resting her forehead on the bolster this again is a wonderful way to rest the mind please continue to enjoy child’s pose for the next few minutes. And we’ll be coming back to enjoy a wonderful yogic slumber healing yoga yoga for real people with real problems for more yoga go to one T V dot CA / healing yoga you healing yoga yoga for real people with real problems practicing v Purita karani the waterfall pose before bed can help prevent insomnia melatonin is an effective and natural supplement that also counteracts insomnia welcome back we’ve been dealing with symptoms of insomnia and we’ve been releasing tension out of the hips out of the shoulders we’ve gone into a few inversions that have helped bring some fresh blood and prana into the mind calm the nervous system. And now we’re gonna be going into a wonderful yoga nidra we’re gonna be taking our yogic slumbers in soup to baddha kon Asana this is a variation of supported bolsters you could have your legs long or you could have your knees bent out to the side with the soles touching the shoulder blades come down the back and in behind the heart this is going to be a wonderful resting position, if you have a blanket that you could wrap around your head. And just covering the eyes very lightly creating a nice cocoon supporting the neck and hiding the areas around the ears maybe eye bags would feel nice on the wrists take a long slow smooth in breath breathing in light and spaciousness into your whole body. And then exhaling tension and gripping another long slow smooth in-breath into the feet into the ankles into the shins. And the knees breathing in light and spaciousness exhaling tension exhaling holding a long slow smooth in-breath into the hips into the spine into the whole back line breathing in light and spaciousness and exhaling tension exhaling holding feel yourself surrendering on the supports a long slow smooth in breath into the belly into the heart. And the lungs breathing in light and spaciousness exhaling tension exhaling holding another long slow smooth in-breath into the neck. And the arms shoulders the jaws the cheeks the ears the temples breathing in light and spaciousness and exhaling tension exhaling holding a long slow smooth in-breath into the face the eyes the eyebrows the forehead breathing in light and spaciousness exhaling tension exhaling holding. But the eyebrows move away from the center at the eyes shrink and fall to the back of the eye sockets where they rest quietly behind the closed eyelids feel the brain shrink and fall to the back of the skull leaving some room behind the forehead give yourself permission to completely surrender here in this relaxed state and at this point in our yogic slumbers we can call to mind an intention a San culpa a goal and maybe the goal right now is for us to just completely release and let go giving ourselves permission to drift off into slumber deep rest please continue to enjoy the shav Asana for at least another half hour.

And we’ll see you next time on healing yoga namaste you.

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