5 Yoga-Inspired Tools to Beat Insomnia II

Via Lindsey Lewis
on Oct 27, 2010
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Apparently the National Sleep Foundation is onto something. If the number of hits to my last post, Yoga Tools for Sleeping Well, are any indication, their statement that 65% of all Americans have trouble sleeping is bang-on.

So here are some more tools I’ve used along the way to become a slumbering, dreamy sleeper. I hope they help you, too.

1. Bring the outside in. Getting outside during the day is essential. And not just outside into a concrete jungle, but somewhere with green: lawn, trees, bushes, shrubs. Stand in the space and breathe it in. Study after study–including this one on how nature-viewing commuters feel calmer–has shown that nature soothes us. Plus, getting outside, and noticing the planet, helps to remind us that we’re a very small part of this great big Om, helping us to recognize the real size of the stressor: Pretty tiny.

2. Burn the adrenaline and cortisol.There are varying opinions on whether the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol actually remain in our system after we’ve gotten stressed, or if they’re just released every time our minds re-live the stressor. But everyone agrees exercise helps relieve them. Go for a jog, a power-walk, or do a power yoga, Kundalini  yoga, a strong Hatha class, or anything else that draws you (Zumba, anyone?). Don’t have time to get to the yoga studio? Try one of the videos at www.myyogaonline.com.

3. Notice your mind. Yogic philosophy encourages us to see our mind as a tool, rather than our master–and to view our thoughts, no matter what they are, as just thoughts. Sometimes simply noticing our thoughts and labelling them as just thoughts, no matter how important our active mind wants us to believe they are, can help us find distance between our essential, peace-full, joy-full selves, and our busy mind. It might help to use the mantra “Noticing my thoughts” on the inhale, and “Letting them go” on the exhale.

4. Soothe your own asana. I love taking a 15-minute Viparita Karani in the evening. While in legs-up-the-wall pose, I cover myself with a blanket, put something soft and light over my eyes, and simply let myself be. I don’t even deepen my breath, I just get out of the way of it, by simply noticing it. After a little bit, my breathing becomes deeper, longer, calmer.

5. Pranayama pointers. As a couple people pointed out in the last post, kapala bhatiis often used as an energizing breath. I find that people who have serious trouble sleeping love it and find it effective. But there are other pranayams that work well, too. Nadi Shodhana helps to balance our prana, bringing it evenly into both nadis (energy channels) spiraling on either side of our Sushumna channel (spine), and bringing our system into a state of equilibrium. Try it for 10 minutes, seated comfortably.

Happy sleeping, and Namaste


About Lindsey Lewis

I’m a yoga teacher, life coach in-training, retreat host, business woman, and entrepreneur. I write, I paint, I draw, I dance. I get outside every day. I challenge myself. I meditate. Riding my cruiser bike along the seawall rocks my world. Being of service is essential. I’m committed to helping the world find their freedom. I believe in love. I believe in the human capacity to evolve, to grow, and to make the world a better place—even if it’s simply through our re-vitalized presence. Let's connect! I'm at Libre Living. Twitter http://twitter.com/lindsey_lewis and Facebook www.facebook.com/lindseyonline. Also, Libre Retreats on Twitter @libreretreats


4 Responses to “5 Yoga-Inspired Tools to Beat Insomnia II”

  1. kiwiyogini says:

    As somewhat of a lifelong insomniac, this caught my eye for obvious reasons. Some new ideas for me here – i'm actually heading off to bed now and the 15mins of viparita karani sounds appealing – am going to give it a go! having said that, i have found that over the last 12 months, creating a daily yoga and meditation practise has helped immensely. Always helpful to have more tricks up my sleeve though, so thanks!

  2. Ben_Ralston says:

    Nice list Lindsey – may I add something?
    As I'm sure you know, forward bends relax the nervous system (relaxing) – I find a simple standing forward bend before getting into bed works wonders. I hold it for a minute or so (breathing deeply), and then slowly curl back up the spine vertebra by vertebra, rolling the head up onto the shoulders last.
    And failing all else, a hot foot bath is good!

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