This week I wrote a post for Inner Fire about How To Overcome The Five Most Common Barriers In Savasana. In the last year, I’ve needed these techniques less in yoga class and more to fall asleep at night. During pregnancy I had insomnia due to physical tension and an insatiable urge to fidget. I was lucky enough to give birth to a good sleeper, but that didn’t mean I started getting restful nights: at first she was an incredibly loud sleeper, which distracted me from relaxing, and then she matured into an incredibly quiet sleeper, which had me periodically checking her breathing. The technique that has helped me the most with relaxing enough to fall asleep over the last year is this:
Technique #2: Kumbhaka
Kumbhaka, or breath retention, is thought to bring calm and focus to the mind. To begin: Inhale to four fifths of your lung capacity. Then, seal the throat (jalandara bandha), tighten your abdominals, and engage your pelvic floor (mula bandha). It should feel like you’re using your muscles to hug your lungs and abdomen from the top, bottom, and around all the sides. Retain your breath for a few seconds (but not to the point of feeling panicky), then release all contraction and sigh out your breath. Reset with a couple ujjayi breaths, then repeat twice more. Over time, you may work up to practicing kumbhaka at the end of every inhale for two or three minutes.
To read about other soporifically effective relaxation techniques that you can use for either savasana or sleep read the full article over at Inner Fire>>