Home > Lifestyle & Sleep > Yoga for Fitness and Sleep

Yoga for Fitness and Sleep

By: Wendy Jacob - Updated: 20 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Ashtanga Breathing For Sleep Learning

Yoga will help you improve your strength and flexibility and help you feel relaxed and calm. Aerobic exercise often leaves you feeling invigorated and alert and may keep you awake if taken too near to bedtime. A combination exercise that will improve your cardiovascular fitness, keep you strong and flexible and help you relax is the ideal combination to improve sleep quality.

Yoga classes are widely available and many people claim they are able to fall asleep easier and have a better night's sleep when they practise yoga. Yoga is not just a form of exercise but a holistic practice that creates harmony between the mind body and spirit. It can be practiced at any age and many people develop a lifetime commitment to yoga.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Most classes concentrate on learning the yoga poses that will keep the body healthy and some breathing and relaxation techniques that will help you stay calm.

A little knowledge of the philosophy behind yoga will help you get the most out of your practice.

The Indian sage Patanjali conceived the eight limbs of yoga around 200 BC. His system of yoga describes the eight stages that will lead to the ultimate union of mind, body and soul:

Yamas are the moral codes that dictate how to respond and relate to other people and the environment. It teaches students how to respect themselves and others and to be non competitive and learn how to 'let go'.

Niyamas are the rules associated with cleansing and how to achieve spiritual purification.

Asanas are the poses that will help keep the body healthy. The aim of the asanas is gain flexibility, strength and stamina that will enable the student to sit comfortably for long periods during meditation.

Pranayama is the breathing practice that teaches control of the breath. By controlling the breath you are able to influence and 'still' the mind and learn how to relax.

Pratyahara teaches concentration. The mind will wander aimlessly from thought to thought without control. By being aware of what is happening with the mind, you are able to concentrate on the reality of the moment. By drawing inwards you become aware of the calm and serenity that exists within the mind and body and become less influenced by possessions and external aspirations.

Dharana is the art of focusing. When you are able to maintain concentration for long periods the mind enters into stillness, undisturbed by stray thoughts and external disturbances.

Dhyana is meditation when thought and sensation are completely suspended and the mind and body enter into stillness.

Samadhi is the culmination of the eight limbs - the ultimate union - an indescribable 'union' between mind, body and spirit.

Making Choices

Most yoga classes teach the yoga asanas (poses) and relaxation techniques that will help you learn how to relax. Some classes are more physically demanding and others will concentrate on gentler forms of movement and how to use the breath. Yoga is often used to help with back pain and other joint problems, as well as those suffering from stress and other health problems.

Meditation, Pranayama (breathing practice) and yoga philosophy are often taught separately. Courses, workshops and retreats covering all aspects are widely available.

Yoga is ideally learnt in a class with a qualified teacher. However, there are a large number of books and DVDs available that provide information on the different styles that are available.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Ruggero
    Re: Dehydration and Insomnia
    Causality here can easily trick our minds. An inverse association between thirst and insomnia is known. This does not necessarily mean…
    28 October 2017
  • Lizzy Lu
    Re: Dehydration and Insomnia
    I suffer from pulmonary aspiration and can only handle about a cup of liquids per day. I have been chronically dehydrated since March,…
    28 July 2017
  • princess baby saedie
    Re: Feeling Too Cold to Sleep
    At night I can't sleep. I look up somuch stuff to help. I just got out of a brace about a week ago from spraining my ankle. I've…
    27 July 2017
  • Joiseyg
    Re: Dehydration and Insomnia
    Being dehydrated makes me feel exhausted so I usually drink water when I'm at that point. I drink 40-60 oz a day and have had a hard…
    10 September 2016
  • Insomniacs
    Re: Sleeping Pills - Addiction and Withdrawal
    Mary - Your Question:I was diagnosed with an Auto Immune disease in 2005 and was placed on large doses of…
    7 September 2016
  • Mary
    Re: Sleeping Pills - Addiction and Withdrawal
    I was diagnosed with an Auto Immune disease in 2005 and was placed on large doses of Prednisone, along with other…
    7 September 2016
  • Insomniacs
    Re: Sleeping Pills - Addiction and Withdrawal
    Twisty - Your Question:I have been taking zoplicone for almost. 3 yrs and want to stop how do withdraw from the…
    23 August 2016
  • Twisty
    Re: Sleeping Pills - Addiction and Withdrawal
    I have been taking zoplicone for almost. 3 yrs and want to stop how do withdraw from the pills in a safe and…
    22 August 2016
  • Insomniacs
    Re: A Holistic Approach to Insomnia
    Foggy - Your Question:Hi I need some serious help please. I have not slept now at all in nearly 3 weeks. I realised I had…
    8 August 2016
  • Foggy
    Re: A Holistic Approach to Insomnia
    hi I need some serious help please. I have not slept now at all in nearly 3 weeks. I realised I had sleep problems and so…
    7 August 2016
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the Insomniacs website. Please read our Disclaimer.