Yoga for Sleep Apnea

By September 2, 2015Living With Sleep Apnea
Yoga For Sleep Apnea
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Learn to counter stress and alleviate sleep apnea with these yoga moves.

While you probably can’t attend a formal yoga class every evening, yoga for sleep apnea can be a very beneficial addition to your current sleep apnea treatment. In fact, a daily practice may be an excellent way to improve your slumber and, at the same time, manage stress. Yoga and other mind/body modalities are called “practices” because their repetition helps train the mind and body to behave and respond in a certain beneficial, healing way. And that, in turn, can translate to better zzz’s.

Yoga offers a holistic treatment both for the mind and body, and can lead to a marked improvement in the quality of life, including a vast improvement in the quality and quantity of sleep.

Yoga poses for relaxation and alleviation of sleep apnea

yoga for sleep - cat cow poses

1. Cat-Cow

To start, get on your hands and knees. Keep knees in line with hips and wrists; elbows and shoulders should be perpendicular to the floor. As you inhale, slowly round your spine toward the ceiling. Drop your head toward the floor, mimicking the shape of a frightened cat. Hold that pose for one second. Next, exhale and return to starting position. Now, Inhale and lift your chest and tailbone to the ceiling as you curve your back down. Raise your head. Hold that pose for one second. Repeat these motions five to 10 times.

Yoga for Sleep Apnea

2. Seated Forward Bend

Start in a seated position and extend your legs in front of you. Sit tall. As you inhale, reach arms overhead. Exhale as you fold forward and reach for your toes. Hold that position for 10 seconds. Return to start. Repeat.

yoga for sleep apnea

3. Seated Twist 

To start, sit in a cross-legged position. Exhale and place your right hand on your left knee. Place left hand behind tailbone. Twist your torso to the left, gently, as you look over your left shoulder. Hold that position for 10 seconds. Return to start, then repeat on the opposite side.

yoga for lp apea

4. Yoga Breathing Technique

Sit comfortably and inhale through your nose. Exhale through your mouth, with your mouth open wide. Make a “ha” sound as you slowly exhale, feeling the breath in your throat. Close your mouth after several repetitions and then begin inhaling and exhaling through your nose, still maintaining the “ha” sound. Do this for five to eight minutes at a time but no more than 15 minutes. You do not want to cause muscle strain in your throat. This technique helps tone your throat muscles for sleep apnea, and by regulating your breath, it keeps your mind quiet as well, reducing stress.

Yoga breathing exercises in managing sleep apnea

Let us get one basic fact right. Yoga cannot cure sleep disorders, but if practiced concurrently with other ongoing treatment modalities, it can help in reducing symptoms associated with sleep apnea. Yoga can help reduce symptoms because:

  • Yoga breathing exercises strengthen and tone the upper airway muscles, provided such exercises are done under proper guidance from a qualified yoga teacher.
  • They reduce stress significantly and calm the mind;  this impacts appetite, quality of sleep and the willingness to live better.

If you feel like you have tried everything to combat snoring, insomnia, frequent night wakings, or more – you may have an undiagnosed sleep disorder. Click here to take a quick sleep assessment and to find out your next steps to better sleep.

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