Yoga for Better Sleep

Exercises for insomnia

Two practices to help you sleep…

1) 2-to-1 breathing
2) Counting Breaths

2-to-1 breathing

This breathing pattern relaxes the body by subtly stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, thereby inducing a state of relaxation.
As you lie in bed, gently slow down the rate of exhalation until you exhale for twice as long as you inhale. You can coax a longer exhalation by contracting the abdomen slightly.

Don’t try to fill or empty or empty the lungs completely – you are simply changing the rhythm of your breath.
In the beginning it may help to count to six on the exhalation and three on the inhalation, or four on the exhalation and two on the inhalation (or any other 2-to –1 ratio you find comfortable).
Focus on the smoothness and evenness of your breath, gradually eliminating any jerks and pauses.

Counting Breaths

Using the effortless 2-to-1 pattern described above, lie in bed and pay close attention to you breath. It should flow smoothly, evenly, and continuously.

When the pattern is well established, take:

  • 8 breaths lying on your back
  • 16 breaths lying on your right side
  • 32 breaths lying on your left side

Very few people complete this exercise. Sweet dreams!

Phil Aston is Director and founder of Yoga at Work holds a full teaching diploma with the British Wheel of Yoga (recognised by the UK Government as the governing body for yoga in the UK ) and an ‘Advanced Instructor Level 3 Certificate’ with the Register of Exercise Professionals.


Leave a reply