Many women burn the candle at both ends in their quest for career success. Often this means sleeping less than six hours per night. If this is you, you're not alone. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 30 percent of Americans get six or fewer hours of sleep and therefore are considered to be sleep deprived. Since sleep deprivation increases the risk of heart disease and obesity, you'll likely be healthier if you get seven to nine hours of shut-eye every night. Kundalini yoga exercises might help you get the rest you need.
"Yoga Journal" describes Kundalini yoga as "an uplifting blend of spiritual and physical practices" that uses movement, breathing exercises, meditation and the chanting of mantras in order to increase both your physical vitality and your consciousness. The philosophy of Kundalini yoga, a practice that dates back to the 8th century, is to develop spiritual awareness by unleashing the serpent power, or Kundalini, that is coiled at the base of the spine. Kundalini was brought to America in 1969 by Yogi Bhajan. Today, the 3HO -- Healthy, Happy, Holy -- Foundation in New Mexico is the headquarters for 300 Kundalini centers around the globe.
Research studies indicate that Kundalini poses and meditation techniques can be effective in treating a number of physical and mental conditions. A 2008 study published in the "Journal of Ethnic Substance Abuse" reported that patients in India who took part in a 90-day treatment program for substance abusers, using a number of Kundalini meditation, spiritual and mind-body techniques, showed improvement. A 2004 research study from the University of California at San Diego, reported in the "Journal for Alternative and Complementary Medicine," revealed that a number of Kundalini meditative techniques aided patients with a range of disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, addictions, depression, dyslexsia, grief and insomnia and other sleep disorders.
The 3HO Foundation website outlines ways to improve your ability to get a good night's sleep, starting about one hour before bedtime. These include a number of general tips, such as avoiding heavy meals late at night, brushing your teeth and drinking one or two glasses of water to prevent dehydration. It recommends doing Kundalini exercises, such as Bridge pose and Cobra pose, taken from the 3HO's "How to Conquer Sleep" manual. Then mediate, pray or read something inspirational.
The Kundalini sleep exercises diagrammed at the Pinklotus website offer 13 poses that might ease your transition into slumberland. There are relatively easy poses, such as sitting on your heels with your palms on your thighs, leaning back 30 degrees while keeping your spine straight, and holding the position for one minute while you breathe deeply. There are difficult exercises as well, such as performing 30 crow squats. If you suffer from insomnia, the manual recommends performing the exercises for 90 days.
- Los Angeles Times: American Workforce is Seriously Sleep-Deprived, CDC Reports
- Yoga Journal: Spotlight on Kundalini Yoga
- PubMed: Evaluation of a Residential Kundalini Yoga Lifestyle Pilot Program for Addiction in India
- PubMed: An Introduction to Kundalini Yoga Meditation Techniques That are Specific for the Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders
- Pinklotus: Kundalini Yoga for Conquering Sleep
Jim Thomas has been a freelance writer since 1978. He wrote a book about professional golfers and has written magazine articles about sports, politics, legal issues, travel and business for national and Northwest publications. He received a Juris Doctor from Duke Law School and a Bachelor of Science in political science from Whitman College.