It’s me, Eddie the Yeti, and I’ve got two important reasons why you should use yoga to help improve your sleep apnea:
- Improves your breathing
- Promotes proper sleeping positions
Yoga poses to promote better sleep
Yoga can help you sleep like a Yeti. It provides many benefits, such as increasing blood circulation and lung capacity. It also ensures that your air passages remain completely open. I use yoga to strengthen the muscles in my throat and face, as this Yeti wants to bulk up. These benefits can decrease or even completely eliminate snoring problems.
These simple poses help you lengthen and stretch your spine to promote better sleep positions. Try these poses right before bed or anytime that you have a moment to spare. Proper technique for the poses below is important and can take time to perfect. Please be careful!
Cow/Cat: Get on your hands and knees. Inhale and drop your belly toward the floor as you lift your collarbones and tailbone. Exhale and arch your spine dramatically, tucking your chin slightly. Alternate the two postures for about 10 breaths.
Locust: Lie flat on your belly with your legs extended and arms alongside your hips. Inhale and lift your face, chest, arms and legs up off the floor. Feel your spine lengthen as you lift and squeeze your legs toward each other. Hold for three to five breaths and lower back down.
Seated Twist: Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position with your shoulders balanced over your hips. Inhale and straighten your spine; exhale and twist to the right, placing your right hand on the floor behind you and your left hand outside your right thigh. Inhale back to center and repeat on the other side.
Improve your breathing
Yoga breathing also offers possible relief to sleep apnea sufferers like you and me. Ujjayi breath helps clear your respiratory tract and strengthens your breathing muscles. Ujjayi breath is done in and out through the nose. While inhaling, breathe as if you were yawning with your mouth closed. While exhaling, breath as though you were trying to steam up a window, also with your mouth closed.
Inhale and exhale retention are other breath-strengthening exercises used in yoga. For an inhale retention, simply inhale deeply and when you feel full of air, pause for three to five seconds and then slowly exhale. An exhale retention involves inhaling and exhaling slowly and pausing at the bottom of the exhale when you feel empty for three to five seconds.
Alternate nostril breathing is another yoga technique valuable to those with sleep apnea. Sit comfortably and place your first right two fingers on your forehead. Close off the left nostril with your right ring finger and inhale deeply through the right side. Close off the right nostril with your right thumb, release the left nostril and exhale completely. Inhale through the left nostril, close it off and then release the right nostril for the exhale. Continue to alternate sides for several minutes to calm your mind and teach yourself better breath awareness and control.
Take it from me, these techniques can really improve your sleep apnea if you practice them on a regular basis!
Sleep well - Sleep Yeti
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Source: SomnoMed and Andrea Cespedes