yoga for restless leg syndromeBy Faye Martins

Can yoga for restless legs syndrome give relief to our students? Restless legs syndrome is a disorder that causes uncomfortable, urgent feelings in the body. It is considered a neurological sleep disorder. Those with restless leg syndrome can have a variety of symptoms including an insatiable need to move or shake the legs, a crawling sensation, or a tickling or itching feeling. Many people with restless legs syndrome also experience twitching or jerking of the limbs during sleep. Sensations are not limited to the legs, and may affect the arms or even limbs that have been amputated. The cause of restless legs syndrome is uncertain, but in some cases, there may be a connection to iron levels in the blood. Certain medications have been shown to cause or contribute to restless legs syndrome, as well.

 

Solutions for Flare Ups

At this time, there is no known cure for restless legs syndrome. The most common treatments include a daily light exercise routine, cutting out caffeine and other stimulants, and establishing a more restful sleep environment. In addition to yogic practices being used as daily exercise, particular asanas can help relieve the symptoms, which makes yoga for restless leg syndrome an option. End of day yoga and meditation routines can help the sufferer create a stable evening and relaxed mind for bedtime.

Virasana, or Hero’s pose, is excellent for helping with symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Since there are numerous modifications, it is accessible for the new practitioner and the seasoned yoga student alike. If it is inaccessible for the buttocks to rest on the floor, the practitioner can sit on a bolster, pillow, or folded blankets. The prop you choose can slide between your legs and rest under your pelvis. Knee pain can also be addressed with a towel behind the knee or by bringing the practitioner’s pelvis up higher off the ground with a bolster as mentioned before. The pose can be held during meditation, or as the practitioner watches television in the evening.

 

Legs up the Wall pose is good for aiding circulation within the legs. The pose should be held for five to twenty minutes, depending on the ease of the pose for the practitioner. If there is discomfort in the back, a bolster or blanket can be placed under the small of the back. The legs can be held at a right angle to the body or can be moved into butterfly with the feet touching and the knees folded out and away from the centerline. These yoga asanas can also be helpful as a morning practice, to help prepare the body for a healthy day.

Conclusion

Although I have covered less than a handful of asanas, any yoga posture that releases nervous energy from the legs is suitable. Asanas like Standing Forward Bend, Downward Dog, and Goddess Pose release tension and nervous energy from the body. If energy is constructively released from the body, it should improve your odds of practicing yoga for less restless legs syndrome flare ups and having a healthy sleep session.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

 

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Related Resources

Hunasikatti M. Yoga versus educational film intervention in restless legs syndrome: extension of trial may be beneficial to patients. J Clin Sleep Med. 2020;16(5):827.

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