Yoga for Sleep
Sleeping is a pivotal component to health, rejuvenation, and energy to get us through the day. There are a multitude of ways to enhance your quality of sleep by helping you sleep through the night without waking up and by allowing you to fall into a deeper sleep. The typical ways of enhancing sleep (Quality Mattress, Healthy Diet, Exercise) are just the beginning of what you can do. In a previous post we had talked about the benefits of different essential oils. In this post, we will discuss the benefits of doing yoga in bed at night before you go to sleep, and in the morning as you are getting out of bed.
The goal of yoga before you go to bed is to put your body in the most relaxed state possible. The following poses work to relax your muscles, reduce stress from the day, and increase blood circulation. Relaxed muscles and reduced stress help you fall asleep faster and help prevent you from waking up through the night. Increased circulation helps you fall into a deeper sleep and improves your body's rejuvenation while you sleep. Doing yoga before bed also helps you to avoid looking at your smartphone, tablet, or other electronics before bed. When you use electronics before bed it suppresses your melatonin levels which is what help you sleep. All of these benefits help in making yoga before bed an incredible natural sleep remedy and sleep enhancer.
Seated Spinal Twist Ardha Matsyendrasana
Start with one side, and take a deep breath to stretch out your spine and hold pose for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Plow Pose Halasana
Be sure to keep your chin from touching your chest and keep your legs straight. If you can do the pose comfortably interlock your hand on the ground to increase effect. Using pillows to brace your feet and/or back can be helpful for beginners.
The Child Position Balasana
Sit on your knees with your knees shoulder width apart. Lean forward and lay your forehead on the bed. Extend your arms out in front of you.
Easy Forward Bend Sukhasana
Sit in a pretzel-legged form and lean forward, press your forehead on the bed, and extend your arms out in front of you.
Supine Spinal Twist Supta Matsyendrasana
Lay flat on your back. Keeping your shoulder blades on the bed and one leg extended, fold your other leg, knee bent, over your body and turn your head the opposite way of your leg. Repeat on the other side.
Reclining Butterfly Supta Baddha Konasana
Start by sitting and put the bases of your feet together. Then lay back and hold your arms above your head and take long and deep breaths.
Corpse Pose Savasana
Lay flat on your back with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms slightly spread out and your palms opened to the ceiling. Close your eyes and take deep breaths.
Staying in the corpse pose, performing meditation can be a great way to drift off into sleep. Another great option however is performing Yoga Nidra . Yoga Nidra is state of consciousness between being awake and sleeping. It is different from meditation in that it focusses on four senses internalized and hearing only in listening to your instructors directions, where as meditation is a singular focus. There are many different videos and recordings out there that are awesome for Yoga Nidra, but often times finding the right voice that soothes you is the key to a successful Yoga Nidra experience. Below is a recording that I have found to work wonderfully for me.