Sleep is very important, but we tend to waste hours of it, snoozing for 30 minutes instead of the recommended 60. It’s easy to get distracted by the new season of Netflix, or an episode of your favorite TV show, or to visit the bathroom, or to reach for the TV remote to mute the sound. You may think that you’re doing it because you’re too busy or distracted, but the truth is, the best method of getting a good night’s sleep is to be in bed and asleep by the time your brain starts firing.
If you are someone who gets stressed out over not being able to fall asleep, anxiety and insomnia often result. It’s a common problem that comes with a lot of negative effects, like a lack of sleep and a higher risk of depression. Yoga is one of the best ways to sleep better at night. From helping you relax, to calming you down, and even improving your posture, practicing yoga is one of the most effective ways to get a good night’s sleep. Luckily, there are a series of yoga poses that work perfectly to help you fall asleep. Here is a quick guide to a few of the most popular poses you can practice at bedtime –
Putting a yoga sequence together can be a bit of a daunting task at first. How do you pick the perfect one for you? How do you create a sequence that will make you feel energized before bed or when you first wake up in the morning? What if you want to make your bedtime experience a bit more zen? Or how about if you want to work on your posture as well as your stretching? Here’s how you can put together a sequence full of poses that will help you get a good night’s sleep.
What’s not to like about a good night’s sleep?! Everything appears to function better when we sleep properly, right?
I understand that in the real world, there are things that may keep you up at night. We have obligations, hectic schedules, deadlines, and families; we may have an abundance of creative ideas, feel excessively enthusiastic, or, on the other hand, a proclivity for continuous anxiety. We may oversocialize or attempt to cram too much into our days, placing relaxation and rest at the bottom of our priority list.
Yes, our way of living has the ability to disrupt our sleep, which in turn may disrupt our feeling of well-being. Something I’m all too familiar with.
Getting Those Long-Forgotten Zzz’s
Sleep appeared to be a gift I’d somehow lost the capacity to enjoy after years of lighting many candles at different ends. I had greater luck getting colds than I did catching zzz’s, no matter how much chamomile tea, valerian root, or lavender I poured on my bedding. That is, until I started doing yoga.
I think that how we practice is just as important as what we practice, so I’m presenting a nighttime yoga sequence that includes more than simply doing some poses and waiting for the sandman to appear. It works for me on a regular basis, and I hope it will for you as well!
By the way, if you combine this sequence with some meditation, you’ll receive an additional dosage of tranquility. For your nighttime calm-down sessions, get ideas, suggestions, and methods from our free 30-Day Meditation Challenge.
1. Sit in a comfortable position with your hands in the Anjali Mudra.
This is an excellent method to center yourself, connect with your breath, and let go of the day’s activities. I prefer to begin by sitting in Vajrasana (kneeling with the sit bones over the heels) because it enables the digestive organs to settle and relax, which is very beneficial if you have tension in that region. Come to easy cross-legged instead if this isn’t comfortable for you.
Take a minute to recognize the space surrounding the heart by bringing the hands together in prayer and gently touching the thumbs to the center of the chest. Think of at least three things you are thankful for right now and sit with them for a minute or two, or longer if it seems appropriate.
2. Flow of Marjaryasana/Bitilasana (Cat/Cow)
Come to a neutral spine position on hands and knees, with shoulders over wrists and hips over knees. Begin by playing a few games of Cat and Cow slowly (note whether your inclination is to rush). Feel the movement begin at the tailbone and run up into the spine before returning to the tailbone in a smooth, relaxing motion. I prefer to shut my eyes and let my breath to lead my body’s movement, relieving any stress or stiffness in my back and/or thoughts.
3. Child’s Pose (for 10-15 breaths)
This is one of the best yoga positions for quieting, relaxing, and rejuvenating the mind and body, all of which are great characteristics for preparing the mind and body for sleep.
The knees may be joined or separated, depending on what your body requires, and I suggest putting your arms/hands in whichever position (arms out in front, back alongside the body, or forehead resting on your hands) would help you relax.
Stay for at least 10-15 (or more) breaths, feeling as though you’re letting go more and more with each exhale, assisting in the rejuvenation and restoration of your whole being.
4. Yin Variation of the Butterfly
Another lovely posture to help us smooth the edges of our day, this one helps to calm the mind and introvert our consciousness. From a sitting position, bring the soles of your feet together and then slide them out from your body, further than in normal Baddha Konasana.
Allow your back to round as you begin to fold forward, and feel yourself gently melting towards the floor. The forehead may come to rest on the wrists, or it may come all the way to rest on the feet, depending on your degree of flexibility. Allow yourself to sink into the posture and utilize the exhale to help you relax.
Please. Take. Your. Time.
Start peeling yourself up gently (please don’t hurry) after a minute or three, or for as long as it seems instinctively correct. A very calm, soft sitting backbend or mild seated twist is a great way to counter this posture.
5. Vipareet Karani – Usually 1-10 minutes, although some people like to stay longer.
Legs up the wall position, which is sort of the ultimate restorative pose, is a great way to end this series. This position will probably start to feel fantastic within a few seconds for those of you who spend a lot of time on your feet.
There are a few various ways to do this posture, with or without a bolster/blanket, so choose the one that is most comfortable for you, and that your body reacts to in a peaceful and relaxed manner.
Crawling into bed and resting in Savasana is the icing on top of this routine. If you share a bed, ask your roommate to help you out by giving you some space (spooning is of course always an option but perhaps not for this sequence). I prefer to spend a few minutes sending love and appreciation around my body, thanking it for everything it has done to help me enjoy the day, and this simple, powerful practice prepares my mind, body, and soul for a joyful, tranquil sleep.
Have a good night!
Images courtesy of The Yoga Vine
As a working mom, there are many challenges I face each day that I need to overcome for my family’s well-being. One of my biggest issues is sleep. I wish I could say that we have a good bedtime routine, but we don’t. We’ve had some success with some simple tricks, but I’m always looking for something new and exciting to do for bedtime.. Read more about yoga before sleep for weight loss and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What yoga poses should I do before bed?
There are a number of yoga poses that can help you get a good nights sleep. Some of these include the following: -Downward facing dog pose -Childs pose -Bridge pose
Which yoga is best for good sleep?
Yoga is a great way to relax and have a good nights sleep. There are many different types of yoga, so it is best to try out a few different styles before deciding which one works best for you.
How can I sleep faster in yoga?
Yoga is a practice that helps you to relax and focus on your breathing. Its a great way to unwind after a long day, or if youre feeling stressed.
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