When I first started assembling my holistic health and wellbeing toolkit to help me sleep, yoga and qigong were at the top of my list.
I had heard a lot about Yoga, which is an ancient mind body practice that originated from Indian philosophy.
There are many different styles of Yoga, including Hatha, Ashtanga and Kundalini, and this can be a bit confusing if you’re a novice. Essentially, though, all styles of yoga combine physical postures, breathing techniques and a meditation or relaxation practice.
Qigong is also a mind body spirit practice, but with its origins in Ancient China. Meditation forms an important part of the practice, as it’s seen as important for training the mind to direct and regulate the flow of energy in the body. Qigong also uses sounds, believing their vibration helps to cleanse, balance and harmonise the internal organs. As with Yoga there are different styles of Qigong to choose from.
Quieten your mind
It doesn’t really matter whether you choose Yoga or Qigong – in fact, I practice a mix of the two as I love them both. The key thing is that both practices offer a way to quieten your mind, reduce stress and improve your body strength and flexibility. As a busy mum, I find that regularly practising Yoga or Qigong (just 15 minutes every evening) helps me ground myself, let go of stress and enter a peaceful state of relaxation. I get to sleep more easily and enjoy deeper, more restful and refreshing sleep.
Science is increasingly proving what those of us who practice Yoga and Qigong have known for years – that a mind body spirit practice can have a hugely beneficial impact on physical health and emotional wellbeing. Recent studies show it can support the immune system, central nervous system and brain. A study into the therapeutic effects of yoga published in The International Yoga 1 listed improved sleep patterns and enhanced overall wellbeing among the many benefits.
I am a passionate advocate for both of these mind body spirit practices as I have seen such deep and lasting benefits in my own life. If you are experiencing sleep problems (or even if you are just looking for a way to feel calmer and more grounded in your life), I can’t recommend them highly enough.
For more great tips on getting a good night’s sleep browse our Blog categories: Live – for general lifestyle advice; Sleep – for specific information about sleeping and the conditions needed for good quality sleep; and Relax – for information to help you unwind and quieten your busy mind. Also check out our Product pages for tried and trusted products to help you sleep.