Yoga for Insomnia

Yoga Breathing Exercises (Pranayama) to Help with Insomnia

Did you know that at any given time 45% of us are sleep deprived! Back in the 1960’s we slept on average for 9 hours a night. Today that has reduced to 6.5 hours. It’s just not enough. Not getting sufficient sleep increases our chances of depression, stroke, heart disease and obesity. Getting enough sleep is vital to good health never mind good mood.

There are many different pranayama yoga exercises, each have different affects on the body and on the mind. When you find yourself tossing and turning which should you practice?

Chandra Bhedi Pranayama (Single Nostril Breathing)

Energetically speaking, the right nostril is associated with our body’s heating energy, symbolized by the “Sun” and the syllable HA, the left nostril corresponds to the body’s cooling energy, symbolized by the “Moon” and the syllable THA.

Traditional Hatha Yoga helps to integrate and harmonize HA and THA for balance and health.

  • To practice Chandra Bhedi or Moon Breathing, start by sitting in a comfortable upright position, such as sukasana. If you are practising it while in bed while trying to fall back asleep you can lie in Shivasana.
  • Close your eyes and become aware of your breathing.
  • To begin with, don’t do anything to change your breath, just observe it.
  • After a few moments, bring you thumb of your right hand to your right nostril and your ring finger to your left nostril. This is known as Mrigi Mudra (see image below). You can rest your left hand on your left knee
  • Inhale slowly through the left nostril filling your lungs to a comfortable capacity.
  • Hold your breath for a moment or 2.
  • Exhale through the right nostril slowly. Repeat. Allow the inhale and the exhale to be even. It shouldn’t feel forced or uncomfortable. If it does stop, breath normally for a few moments and then start again.
  • Repeat this for at least five rounds and up to 10 rounds.
  • Then return to your normal way of breathing and observe the effects of the practice.

Hopefully you will feel more relaxed and centered and ready to get some nourishing sleep.


Mrigi Mudra