Yoga before Bed: Asanas to improve Sleep
Yoga & Sleep
Inarguably, yoga is a powerful tool to channelize the better energies in our body but how it feeds our mind is completely remarkable. As per the studies conducted on effects of long-term yoga on sleep, there was evidence that yoga practitioners experienced improved sleep and better Quality of Life. Additionally, these practitioners have observed a reduced stress rate too.
The thing to be aware of is that one should prefer doing slower and restorative types of yoga poses nearer to bedtime.
Benefits of Yoga
Bedtime yoga does wonders for our overall health by stopping our minds to wander unnecessarily.
- Bedtime yoga helps to replenish sleep by influencing our parasympathetic nervous system that controls the “rest and digest “functions.
- It provides great relief from aches, pain, and stress by oxygenating the body and releasing muscle tensions.
- With the Consistent practice of the right and required poses the obesity of the body decreases and appetite improves. As a result, the body looses weight.
- Yoga helps to mitigate insomnia and accelerate quality sleep.
- Most importantly, it is the best alternative to pharmaceutical sleeping aids.
TOP 5 YOGA POSES TO HELP YOU SLEEP
Practicing these bedtime yoga poses gently is will get your body and mind in a to relax and prepare you for a good sleep.
Legs-up-the-wall (Viparita Karani)
This yoga posture helps to provide big relief from tired legs and feet. Alongside, it heals the body from mild backache. With legs-up-the wall, muscles stretch gently and allow relaxation from stress and tension.
How to do it?
- Make sure to sit on the right side alongside the wall.
- Place your legs against the wall and lie down on your back.
- Now, place your hips closer or completely against the wall (Bolster and cushion can also be used under the hips to make it more relaxing)
- Relax your both arms by making them rest over the mat.
- Inhale –exhale and keep following your breathe.
- Begin the countdown for 5 minutes in the same posture.
Corpse Pose (savasana)
The corpse is the simplest and soothing posture where the entire body, mind, and soul rest. As a result, all internal and external anxieties, pain, stress heals and one experiences an immense peace.
How to do it?
- As a basic step, lie on the mat all straight, facing the ceiling/fan.
- Now take your knees towards the chest and inhale deeply.
- Relax your legs by keeping them back on the mat and exhale.
- The distance between the feet should only be width apart as that of hips.
- Completely relax the lower body so that it doesn’t feel any rigidness and pain.
- Keep the hands relaxed on the sides and with palms facing towards the ceiling.
- Relax the other body parts such as the shoulder, face, eyes, ears, etc.
- If required cover your eyes with a cloth or eye mask to avoid any light.
Standing Half Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana)
This pose is meant to reduce muscle tensions by allowing light stretching of major body parts.
How to do it?
- Put your mat perpendicular to the wall and stand at a footway distance from it.
- Open your hips slightly apart parallel to the mat.
- Now, press both hands against the wall.
- Keep lowering your torso till it gets into a flat back position. Thus, the torso shall be perpendicular to the floor.
- With this 90 degrees angle of the body continue breathing deeply for 5 minutes.
Wide Knee child’s pose (Balasana)
This pose generates a sense of stability and calmness for the body. This posture helps to alleviate tension in your brow. (Do cautiously in case of any form of hip o knee injuries).
How to do it?
- Kneel on the floor with the toes together.
- Keep the knees away from each other, if possible open wide to the edges of the mat.
- Sink the torso on your thighs and let’s relax your hands by placing them back towards the toes.
- Also, place shoulder blades away from each other.
- Most importantly, keep your forehead against the ground.
- Continue breathing in and out while staying in the same posture for at least 5 minutes.
Reclining Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)
This pose allows proper blood circulation and relaxes the pelvic region, thighs, knees, chest, arms, and other body parts.
How to do it?
- After lying on the mat, bend the knees, and place the feet closer to the tailbone.
- Get the soles of the feet together and place firm cushions under the knees on each side for better support.
- Relax the arms at 45 degrees away from the torso while the palms facing upwards.
- Avoid making much tension on the knees, but the hips and groin must feel a slight stretch.
It is the form of meditation where the normal body experiences deep and quality sleep. This induces complete relaxation to the full-body where the conscious mind relaxes and the sub-conscious mind stays awake.
Stages of Yoga Nidra
- Initial relaxation of the body, mind, and soul towards stability and calmness.
- Defining the Sankalpa which refers to the short statement that depicts the heart’s deepest desire.
- The internal awareness and Sankalpa are rotated to each body part.
- The conscious knowledge of each breath is kept and energy awareness is developed.
- Cultivation of willpower and perception to allow emotional relaxation.
- Developing the imaginary vision of the Sankalpa to attain mental relaxation.
- Command over breath awareness, body awareness, external environment, etc. to gently awaken from the state of wakefulness and drowsiness.
As widely known, sleep and appetite govern our complete body health. Therefore, it is extremely essential to keep a careful watch on adequate sleep. And now we have the ways to make this happen in the best way possible. So, let’s gift health to our body by practicing these yoga asanas.
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