What kind of yoga is good for stress, and sleep problems?
Yoga can be very useful for stress and sleep problems.
Let me tell you a story about a woman who started going to yoga classes. There she was on her mat looking around the class at what everyone else was doing. She thought to herself ‘I know my body can’t do that, but if I push, maybe, just maybe’.
As you can imagine, she hurt herself. Her view of yoga thereafter was ‘you can hurt yourself doing yoga’.
My view is that if she was doing yoga, she wouldn’t have hurt herself.
There’s a lot more to yoga than posture, but somehow, we all seem to get hung up on lotus poses and headstands. I work with people who are stressed beyond belief and having sleep problems. I often recommend yoga to help them quieten their mind and relieve tension in the body.
If you are having problems sleeping, try to bring the more traditional aspects into your yoga practice. If you’re focused only on posture then you’re doing stretching and gymnastics, not yoga. Nothing wrong with that, but if your objective is to calm the mind, reduce stress and sleep better bringing a little of the traditional yoga paths into your practice would help.
Jnana yoga and how to bring it into your practise
Jnana yoga is the yoga of knowledge and the word Jnana is connected to the word Gnosis meaning a liberating knowledge of being connected to ones intuition. Indecision and lack of a clear path are both strong causes of anxiety and acute insomnia cases.
Choose a spiritual text or book that you relate to and read a little every day. When you get ‘aha’ moments, write them in your journal. Jnana yoga is not just knowledge of spiritual facts, it’s knowledge of the true self. Try to stop worrying about what is happening, but ask ‘why is this coming to light and what do I need to do/learn from it”
Karma yoga and how to bring it into your practise
Karma yoga is the yoga of selfless service. Have you ever thought why you feel so wonderful when you do something for someone without any expectations? It feels good in your heart and connects you to the soul.
Charitable work does not always mean writing a cheque. It’s enough to direct what you do to help others as well as yourself. That makes work sacred. It’s not all about you.
Bhakti yoga and how to bring it into your practise
Bhakti yoga is the yoga of devortion. It helps you be present and grateful for what you have. It purifies the heart and allows you to surrender everything to the divine. When you have some devotional practise in your day, your own worries melt away.
Create an alter with something that has sacred value to you such as a picture of a great teacher or a diety that you relate to. Keep that area clean and pure and light a candle every day and just sit by the alter for a few minutes and open your heart.
Raja yoga and how to bring it into your practise
Raja Yoga is the path of controlling the mind rather than the mind controlling you. Raja yoga includes meditation and mantra as tools to calm the mind into it’s pure form so that the true self can shine through.
Raja yoga helps you to sleep better and make more healthy choices about each and every aspect of your life from what goes in your mouth and what company you keep. It helps you avoid distractions and control your emotions.
Just sit for a few minutes by your alter, close your eyes and follow your breath. Each time your mind wanders, just recognise that you’re not present and refocus on the breath.
How you’re ready to do some yoga poses!
By adding more spiritual substance to your yoga practice, you’ll feel so much calmer and centred.
Sleepology classes will be coming near you soon.