women

The yogic method

The first thing yoga practitioners or yoga teachers must do to support a student's sleep is "educate themselves about sleep", says Philip Stevens (Swami Samnyasananda), a consultant neurophysiologist, sleep scientist and certified yoga teacher.

As we are told in the nursery rhyme, the ideal is to rise with the sun and wind down again with the sun. Between Io p.m. and 2 a.m. during sleep, the body undergoes physical repair; between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. it undergoes psychological repair. "It's all about circadian phase and adjusting your activity levels to be consistent with the circadian phase we all share from being on this particular planet," says Stevens.

The first thing yoga practitioners or yoga teachers must do to support a student's sleep is

The first thing yoga practitioners or yoga teachers must do to support a student's sleep is "educate themselves about sleep", says Philip Stevens

Circadian phase (also called circadian rhythms) is a daily rhythm that exists in all of nature. It is generally 24 hours in duration, and involves distinct patterns of brainwave activity and hormone production that govern sleep and eating habits.

The biggest influence on circadian rhythms is light. When the sun rises, serotonin and the stress hormone cortisol are released. As darkness descends, the hormone melatonin is released, sending out the signal that it's time for sleep.

The trouble is that high levels of stress throughout the day, along with caffeine, as well as the electromagnetic fields and ambient light of television and computer screens all work to suppress melatonin and increase cortisol levels. Aerobic activity, including energetic or hot styles of asana taken at night under lights, works in a similar way.

"Vigorous yoga practices and energetic pranayama may have a stimulating effect on the body and drive cortisol levels up," says Jennifer Schrader, a yoga therapy teacher and president of the Australian Association of Yoga Therapists. "Save these practices for the morning when cortisol levels are naturally higher and the body is primed for activity."

"Vigorous yoga practices and energetic pranayama may have a stimulating effect on the body and drive cortisol levels up," says Jennifer Schrader

After lunchtime, "It's really important that you don't do a thoracic form of pranayama," says Stevens. "It needs to be slow-rate abdominal breathing, which is the most efficient way of breathing."

Better practices include Nadi Shodhana, ujjayi breath with a gentle guttural constriction or Brahmri pranayama, also called bumblebee or humming bee breath. "The fingers are placed in the cars and you do the ujjayi breath on the in-breath," explains Stevens, "then you're humming a long `mmmm' on the out breath with your eyes closed." Yoga Nidra is also ideal (see breakout box on the opposite page).

Asana performed after lunch must be intended for rest and release. "Any poses or ways of doing practice that encourage a balancing or slowing down response may be beneficial," says Schrader. And while no pose on its own is a magic panacea, "My favorites to encourage sleep include restorative postures, particularly supported forward bends, which encourage opening the back of the body and taking the squeeze pressure off the adrenal glands".

Constructive rest position is another good option. "This helps release the psoas muscle, which is implicated in our flight/ fight stress response," says Schrader.

"This helps release the psoas muscle, which is implicated in our flight/ fight stress response," says Schrader.

Ayurvedic approach

This theory of winding down at night also ties in with the Ayurvedic practice of ratricharya (routines of the night). "The idea is to try and do things that are more mundane, like folding clothes," says Shaun Matthews, a medical doctor, and Ayurveda and yoga therapist.

Conflict, confrontation and emotional issues are also best dealt with earlier in the day, as these can cause imbalance in the doshas, particularly Vata, the wind dosha, which controls the nervous system.

To temper Vata dosha, Matthews recommends keeping a journal, talking through problems with a friend or seeking help from a counsellor or psychotherapist.

Eating smaller amounts of easily digested food, meditation and massage with oils, especially to the feet, are also practices that can help correct a Vata imbalance.

He also advises surrendering to tiredness rather than trying to override it. "It takes a lot of energy to hold yourself above fatigue," says Matthews. "If you let yourself touch the fatigue, that alone will give you a lot of energy."

“If you let yourself touch the fatigue, that alone will give you a lot of energy.

“If you let yourself touch the fatigue, that alone will give you a lot of energy."

In return, sleep can and will change your life. "Extraordinary things happen on better quality sleep," says Koulloros. "When people are feeling like they have more energy and awareness of their own body, they start becoming more aware of their surroundings; they stop living in a reactive state and start living life by choice.

The ideal sleep diet

The essential ingredient for good quality sleep, according to Anthia Koulloros, is healthy, whole fats. "We need fats that ground us, quality fats from both animal and plant materials because we're omnivores," she states.

Her recommendation is to include olive and coconut oil in your diet, as well as servings of good quality, grass-fed meat and wild, non-farmed fish that's high in omega-3. "Clients who don't have the animal fat tend to fuel themselves with a lot of processed, industrialized polyunsaturated fats and there's a tendency for a higher carbohydrate intake- fruit, vegetables, grains, beans, alcohol and sugars-which is very stimulating and keeps clients in a perpetual state of grazing, even at night-time."

Koulloros often suggests fermented cod liver oil be taken as a supplement and, for those who aren't intolerant to dairy, incorporating organic, full-fat milk, butter and cream. "They contain amino acids that are nourishing and soothing for brain and nerve function, and contain vitamins A, D, E and K that help transport minerals inside the body."

Her recommendation is to include olive and coconut oil in your diet, as well as servings of good quality, grass-fed meat and wild, non-farmed fish that's high in omega-3.

Her recommendation is to include olive and coconut oil in your diet, as well as servings of good quality, grass-fed meat and wild, non-farmed fish that's high in omega-3.

In the evenings, a few cups of chamomile tea or OVViO Organics' Peace Night Chamomile Tea, $16 for 45g, which blends chamomile with lavender, passionflower and hops, will assist in relaxing and calming the nervous system to help induce a good night's sleep.

Yoga nidra

In English, Yoga Nidra translates as 'yoga sleep'. This meditation and relaxation practice is ideal for reducing stress and helping to induce sleep. Taken in Savasana, it often involves, "Slow-rate abdominal breathing, meditation practices of mindful awareness or introspection, and the Yoga Nidra practice, which is awareness of the body parts," says Philip Stevens. He's offering a free 10-minute Yoga Nidra download on his website, www. yogalinks.net. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link.

Top search
women
- 6 Ways To Have a Natural Miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Losing Weight In A Week With Honey
- Can You Eat Crab Meat During Pregnancy?
- Grape Is Pregnant Women’s Friend
- 4 Kinds Of Fruit That Can Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
- Some Drinks Pregnant Women Should Say No With
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy
- Why Do Pregnant Women Have Stomachache When Eating?
- Top Foods That Pregnant Women Should Be Careful Of
- 6 Kinds Of Vegetable That Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
Other
women
- Pregnancy Week by Week : Week 22 (part 3)
- Pregnancy Week by Week : Week 22 (part 2)
- Pregnancy Week by Week : Week 22 (part 1) - What Is Anemia?
- How To Repulse Stress When Being Pregnant
- Fitting in Fitness (part 3) - Walking for Health, Kegel Exercises
- Fitting in Fitness (part 2) - Developing an Effective Exercise Plan
- Fitting in Fitness (part 1) - Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
- Efficient Supports That Can Help Pregnant Women Sleep Well (Part 2)
- Efficient Supports That Can Help Pregnant Women Sleep Well (Part 1)
- Eliminate Unpleasant Feeling In 9 Months Of Pregnancy
 
women
Top keywords
women
Miscarriage Pregnant Pregnancy Pregnancy day by day Pregnancy week by week Losing Weight Stress Placenta Makeup Collection
Women
Top 5
women
- Cinnamon: A natural treatment for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
- 5 Tips for Safe Exercise During Pregnancy
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 2)
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 1)
- Is Your Mental Health Causing You to Gain Weight (part 2) - Bipolar Disorder Associated with Weight Gain