There’s been a lot in the media lately about the many benefits derived from yoga. They’re saying it helps reduce stress and even helps build flexibility, strength and endurance. Yes, you might be interested, but you can’t imagine adding yet another activity into your busy and often hectic schedule.
If you’re not getting as much sleep as you want and if you often awaken feeling unrefreshed, the last thing you probably need is putting something else on your plate.
But maybe there’s an angle you haven’t thought of: 30-minute-a-day yoga practice can actually reduce the amount of sleep you need each night by up to twice the amount of time you spend doing it.
There’s no magic why: Stress and trauma have an amazing affect upon the soft-tissue structures of your body. They cause it to contract.
Soft-tissue contraction is nature’s way of protecting us. Once your body is over-stressed (which is in itself a form of trauma), nature tries to make you limit your activities so that you don’t go out and worsen your condition. In other words, when you are traumatized, areas of your body stiffen up.
But wait. There’s more! Have you noticed when you’ve experienced more than your share of injuries, your body becomes increasingly stiffer with each and every “trauma.” Stress and injuries aside, have you noticed that normal ageing stiffens your body? Then add stress or trauma to the mix…and stiffness intensifies.
Trauma therefore, doesn’t have to be physical. Have you noticed that emotional stress also causes your body to tighten, especially in and around areas of previous injury?
As you continue to age, both physical and emotional stress produces the same contracting consequences; and in so doing, creates a double-whammy on your body.
Firstly, when soft-tissue contracts, your body’s transport system cannot adequately circulate nutrients and oxygen. The more contracted the tissue, the more additional resources are required beyond what your body normally needs.
Secondly, in order to compensate for reduced nutrients caused by soft-tissue contraction, your body automatically adjusts by making everything else work harder. This results in increased susceptibility to illness and increased fatigue.
Not withstanding previous and current injuries, it’s understandable that the older and stiffer you become, the more your body becomes exhausted by the end of the day. Its no wonder you need as much sleep as you do and why you often wake up feeling tired.
An appropriate yoga practice helps reduce soft-tissue stiffness while it enhances overall circulation. As circulation improves, your body no longer requires the same amount of sleep which was needed trying to mitigate the lack of resources caused by soft-tissue contraction. Consequently, as your body requires less energy output to get you through your day, you require less sleep and you’ll awaken feeling more refreshed.