Rita guides you through a most loving and sacred yoga practice. Her gentle nature and lightness allow for the most wonderful unfolding to take place in her class. As a fellow student and teacher I am always appreciative of her gifts and radiant smile she shares with others. ... Aarti Ganesh           Read more...

Night Shift Blues...Try YOGA

These days several professionals have a very demanding routine in terms of night shifts. This routine calls for a complete changeover in the biological clock as people working in the nights have to sleep during the daytime. It is difficult to cope with odd working hours as these affect sleep patterns & eating habits. Individuals start behaving aggressively, become intolerant & end up suffering from several health disorders like spondilytis, chronic headache, hypertension, insomnia, obesity, constipation, backache, gastric problems, diabetes, infertility, emotional disturbances, depression, fatigue, frigidity and impotence.



Our endocrine system is made up of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are chemical messengers that regulate body processes. The endocrine system works with the nervous system and the immune system to help the body cope with different events and stresses. The body secretes certain hormones like adrenaline, which it requires, to cope with stressful situations. These hormones are secreted more during the daytime and less during nights, and this is the main reason for night shifts taking a toll on a person’s physical and mental well-being. The secretion of an endocrine hormone called melatonin (commonly called “hormone of darkness”) by the pineal gland, which is very vital for the agility and alertness of mind and body, is hampered when one works at night, as darkness is essential for the optimum production of this hormone. The secretion of melatonin is at its highest in the middle of the night and then gradually lessens during the second half of the night. Unfortunately, a night shifter is up during these hours and this leads to further hormonal disturbances.


Yoga as a therapeutic system can help in relieving these problems. It will help balance the endocrine system, tone the abdominal organs, stimulate both the nervous and circulatory systems and reduces stress. Excess cortisol, a stress hormone has been linked to an increase in abdominal fat. Regular practice of Yoga, for minimum 30 to 45 minutes daily during work, helps not only in attaining physical fitness but also in preventing occurrence of many such ailments.
The most common disorders night shifters suffer are Insomnia, Obesity & Constipation.


Insomnia is one of the most common complaints. Getting complete quota of sleep during the day is difficult because the general noise and distraction level is high. Moreover day sleep is not deep and sound. People, who suffer from sleep disorders, really understand the true importance of sleep. They feel tired, exhausted and fatigued when they wake up. It can affect their energy level, mood, health, immune system, job & family. A yoga technique that can be of very great use is the technique of Yoga Nidra or psychic sleep. When practiced correctly, this method produces deep relaxation. In fact, a single hour of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to many hours of normal sleep & much more rejuvenating. This technique can be learned from a yoga teacher or even from a book or an audio video aid.


A constant lack of sleep, improper diet, excesses or deficits of hormones can lead to obesity. These two hormones are: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is a hormone that suppresses appetite and it is released by your fat cells. Ghrelin is a hormone that increases appetite and it is released by stomach. Those who sleep less, have lower leptin levels and higher ghrelin levels. This low leptin - high ghrelin combination boosts your hunger & burns fewer calories. The result is that you gain weight without eating any additional food. So, sleep is not only necessary for your brain, it also affects your entire body functions. A yoga technique that can be of very great use is the technique of Dhanurasana. Details of this Asana have already been described in my earlier articles.


Although this is a universal problem, it is more common among shift workers. After midnight, the automatic regulation of metabolic processes has an effect of slowing down the heart rate and the blood circulation. In a person on night-shift, as he sits upright, the blood accumulates around the pelvis, lower abdomen and legs. This causes the blood vessels around the colon to dilate, thereby constricting the passage and resulting in constipation. Prolonged effect of this condition can result in piles. The yoga solution for this problem is a position called Sarvangasana (an inverted position).


Spread a mat on the floor. Lie down on the back. Keep the arms closer to the body with palms facing downwards. Bring the feet together. Keep the whole body straight. Breathe normally. To begin with inhale, raise your legs up to 90 degree angle with the floor. While exhaling, push the legs backward over the head. Support the waist with both the hands high up just behind the ribcage. Inhale & get the legs & waist back into the air in vertical position. Stretch the toes upward & press your chin into the chest. Close the eyes. Stay in this position according to your body capacity with normal breathing. For coming back inhale & lower the legs back towards the head. Gently lower down your hips back & drop your arms down on the ground. Exhale, come back to the ground to the normal position without any jerk. Relax in Shvasana until the breath & heartbeat return to normal. Do this twice daily, morning & evening.


This position helps the accumulated blood in the lower abdomen and legs to move towards the lungs. This helps in the oxygenation of impure blood and the normalization of the colon.


If you are feeling uncomfortable while doing Yoga Asanas by yourselves or suffering from some ailments, consult a yoga expert.

Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna
Aum Shanti


  1. Thanks for this enlightning post. Please keep sharing.

  2. Nice blog! Dhanurasana is the best yoga poses for night shift employees who want to reduce belly fat.

  3. New Diet Taps into Pioneering Idea to Help Dieters Get Rid Of 23 Pounds within Just 21 Days!