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Yoga, Meditation and Better Sleep



Contrary to popular belief, there are several different forms of meditation, not just culturally and religiously, but in methodology as well. One can meditate while on a quiet stroll, taking in the beautiful scenery and plant life, take five during their morning cup of coffee, or sit uninterrupted in a quiet area for 30 minutes while concentrating on the positive changes they want to see in their life.

With that said; one of the more popular forms of meditation, although physical moves are involved, is yoga. Yoga is known in the traditions and philosophical doctrines of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism to assist in attaining enlightenment, and has been practiced since before the pre-Vedic period.

Studies show that a good yoga meditation routine can actually improve one’s sleep quality, especially if they have restless nights or are suffering from insomnia. One reason is because of the decrease in beta brain waves during yoga, which allows a person to relax better in order to induce sleep. Another reason is that yoga gently massages people from the inside out, increasing circulation and blood flow, as well as flexibility, stamina, and muscle tone to allow the body and its vital organs to function properly

Those who try the yoga pose Savasana (or “Corpse Pose”) are said to definitely find themselves relaxing almost instantly. It is reportedly best to try this before bed, or if the goal is to simply want to get the best out of a 15-30 minute power nap. This yoga pose is achieved by lying on one’s back with the legs evenly spread apart and arms about a foot away from the sides with palms side up. Care must be taken to make sure one’s lower back is touching the mattress (or floor), and to open the chest while relaxing the shoulders. The next step is to clear one’s mind of any stress – letting go of negativity. This yoga pose is said to be better done without a pillow under one’s head, but this can be adjusted as they begin to fall asleep.

The following step is to a take a cleansing deep breath to fill the lungs, then exhale while contracting the abdomen and releasing air. The individual must then inhale while thinking about positive thoughts; next, they should exhale and release the negative (e.g. problems one would like to eventually address, any physical/mental/emotional/spiritual pains they have been experiencing in their life). As the person begins to breathe steadily, they are said to begin to feel relaxed almost immediately after five to 10 breaths.

According to Gaiam (a very popular yoga and alternative health source) the Savasana can reduce depression, migraines and stress. It also aides those suffering from physical health problems, such as arthritis and back pains. It is highly recommended that one consults a doctor beforehand, in order to ask them about yoga before beginning such a routine. Some people may say that it is easy, but this is relative to the concept of having exercised often or not in one’s regular life.

Most people doing yoga for years can attest to the major health benefits that they see yoga has on one’s health and well-being. Coupled with a proper diet full of vegetables, fruits, and kosher meats, yoga can also extend one’s life span, sex drive, physical stamina and concentration. Health professionals, such as Deepak Chopra, Dr. Oz, Tony Horton and Jillian Michaels have been advising their patients and clients of such overall benefits for that same reason.

Yoga can induce a good night’s sleep to make help one re-energize, while contributing to better R.E.M. sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) – a type of deep sleep that allows a person to dream – and ultimately relaxing a person’s entire nervous system. Furthermore, it can contribute to their body’s healing processes and ability to regenerate muscle, making it an ideal practice for self-healing and making one more in-tune to balancing their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual synergy often mentioned in Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda Healing.

Written by Angela Sacramento

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The New York Times
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