Yoga For Sleep: 17 Poses To Help You Relax
*This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended as medical or other professional advice. Theres nothing worse than not being able to wind down after a long day. Lying awake at night can start a vicious cycle of sleeplessness that can impact your well-being and productivity. Fortunately, there are natural ways to help your body relax yoga is one of them. While some people may think they cant do yoga, or that they arent flexible enough, thats not always the case. There are many simple and relaxing yoga poses that can be adapted to all bodies. Certain yoga poses can help you stretch, relax and get in a restful mindset for a good night of sleep. The poses we outline focus on the breath and putting the body in positions that allow for optimal blood flow to the brain, all of which encourage a calm state. Warning: Those with injuries or chronic pain should approach these poses with caution. Consult your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.
As He Recovers From Covid
Id like to start this article by saying, COVID is real. As someone who tested positive 12 days ago at the time of penning this article, I am not feeling the side effects of COVID today and I am truly blessed that I havent suffered very severe symptoms. But, I wont chalk it up to providence entirely. I have been a yoga practitioner practically all my life and I believe that it was yoga that came to my rescue.
There has been so much speculation around this, that it has flustered governing bodies, doctors researchers but there were three consistent pieces of advice that were being constantly rolled out.
1. Wash your hands and wear a mask. 2. Maintain social distancing. 3. Boost your own immunity.
I encourage everyone to adhere to these guidelines and stay safe.
Coming to my COVID journey. And I had taken a day off from work wanting to recuperate from what I was thinking was heatwave exhaustion in Mumbai. To my surprise, I tested positive. My first reaction was to tell anyone who I came in contact with in the past 24 hours. I got my staff tested. I felt fear but I quickly put away those thoughts affirming within myself that panic and stress are not going to do me any good. I purchased a pulse oximeter and started monitoring daily oxygen levels.
Surya Namaskar: Surya Namaskar is a sequence of 12 powerful yoga poses. Besides being a great cardiovascular workout, Surya Namaskar is also known to have an immensely positive impact on the body and mind.
1. Kapalbhati 2. Bhastrika
Yoga For Better Sleep
- By , Contributing Editor
Yoga is a gentle and restorative way to wind down your day. A national survey found that over 55% of people who did yoga found that it helped them get better sleep. Over 85% said yoga helped reduce stress. You can use supportive props like bolsters, blankets, and blocks to make poses comfortable so that you can stay in the pose for longer and continue to breathe.
Your breath is key to be able to relax in these poses. Breath in yoga is equally importantif not more importantas the physical pose. Use a gentle and calming yoga breath technique called Ujjayi Breath, also known as Ocean Breath or Victorious Breath. Inhale deeply through the nose. With your mouth closed, exhale through your nose while constricting the back of your throat as if you are saying “ha” but keep your mouth closed. This exhalation should sound like the waves of the ocean . Use this slow and steady breath to soothe yourself in each of these poses.
Practice these yoga poses right before bedtime and stay in them about 3 to 5 minutes each. Use your Ocean Breath in each pose, with the exception of Corpse Pose, where your breath returns to normal.
These seven restorative yoga poses relieve tension and stress at the end of the day. The more that you practice these poses regularly, the more you likely you can get a good nights rest.
Don’t Miss: How Many Calories Do You Burn In Vinyasa Yoga
How Long Does It Take To Become More Flexible
Whats the big hurry? As with all of yogas benefits, positive results come over time with consistent practice of a wide variety of postures. The sooner you start, the sooner youll see improvement, but we hate to put any kind of timeline on it because there are too many variables. It depends on where you begin and what other things you do. How frequently you do yoga, what kind of yoga you do, your own unique physique, and so many other things also come into play. We can tell you this: Do yoga regularly and you will improve your flexibility. If you never start, youll never get results.
Yoga classes are the ideal place to work on flexibility because youll receive expert instruction on the safest ways to incrementally boost flexibility and how to use props when necessary. If you know you lack flexibility, you may feel some trepidation about attending a public class, perhaps wondering if youll be the least flexible person in the room. Heres the thing: no one cares. No one is going to call you out and if they do, find another class.
How Does Yoga Change Your Body
The benefits one can get from taking up yoga will better ones health both physically and mentally. The results you get will motivate you, further along, to reach your goals faster. Some advantages of yoga are:Yoga will help you to build-up muscle tone which allows you to maintain a lean body that is built for action.It helps in making you more flexible and mobile as your body will be pushed through a lot of straining poses.It helps you to maintain your center of balance and this might help you to reduce clumsiness.If you get tired too quickly then yoga will be an effective way to boost your muscular endurance and overall stamina. This will get you ready for longer workout sessions which will help you to yield better results. This might also increase the endurance for how long you can lift a certain weight.
Read Also: Does Hot Yoga Burn A Lot Of Calories
The Dos Of Yoga Before Bed
With global stress levels increasing, many people suffer from sleeping disorders like sleep apnea, insomnia, oversleeping, etc. While medication is one solution to such issues, a less-toxic approach is practicing yoga before bedtime to relax the mind.
Yoga has the ability to lower the cortisol levels in the body and curb tension, both of which are extremely high in people who suffer from anxiety or depression. Yoga stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn helps people to feel relaxed in the mind and body, resulting in a deep sleep. There are many other advantages to yoga, such as better energy metabolism, better immune function and more insulin secretion.
- It reduces toxin production
- It helps in increasing the oxygen supply to the body
Toxins are often usually contained in organs and tissues and yoga helps set them free through a breathing exercise called Pranayama. It recharges the body and increases the circulation of oxygen, thereby renewing the body and all of its strains to help in getting a good nights sleep.
Often people have trouble sleeping because they have something on their mind that is keeping them awake. This could be work-related, financial, relationship problems or planning for the next day. Doing yoga before bedtime relaxes the body and stops the mind-chatter. Slow breathing helps to retain memory by keeping the thoughts more organized.
Yoga Poses That You Can Easily Do In Bed
Whether as a sleep aid at night or to wake up in the morning: You dont even have to get out of bed for these five simple yoga exercises.
Even if sleep experts have long advised that the bedroom should only be reserved for sleep, it does not mean that another relaxing activity cannot take place in bed: yoga. This may seem a bit unusual at first glance, but the small stretching exercises can also be performed perfectly on our mattress instead of on the yoga mat and can either provide the necessary energy boost in the morning or make it easier for you to fall asleep and relax in the evening.
In the morning, a few simple breathing techniques and movements will remove the pain and stiffness in the body, advises Tory Schaefer, national director of yoga for Life Time in Minneapolis. A yoga session at night, on the other hand, helps to leave the day behind, so that your bed becomes a sacred place and you can fall asleep in peace.
Also Check: What To Wear To Yoga Class
Hugger Mugger Cork Yoga Block
T think the Hugger Mugger Cork Yoga Block is the best overall yoga block. As a petite yogi with small hands, this ones size, 9 x 5.5 x 3.5, is perfect. I can grip them easily when doing Titibasana or Firefly Pose. And yes, they are sturdy enough to carry your weight in arm balances.
Hugger Mugger Cork Yoga Block is dense and durable but lightweight. Since its made of cork, its eco-friendly. It comes at $21.95 apiece but is worth every penny. This yoga block is sure to please all levels of yogis practicing all styles of yoga.
Also Check: How To Get Flat Stomach Through Yoga
When You Cant Reach The Ground
If you cant reach the ground when doing yoga asanas, bring the ground close to you by using yoga blocks.
For example, you cant bring the fingers or palms down on the mat in Triangle Pose or Half Moon Pose. Instead, you can put a block to where your hands should rest. This way, youre doing the pose without compromising your alignment.
Also Check: How To Carry Yoga Mat Without Strap
Seated Spinal Twist: Ardha Matsyendrasana
Opens the rib cage and relaxes the spine. This pose can open your rib cage and relax the spine. It can also help stretch the shoulders, hips, back and neck. While performing the pose, allow your spine to lengthen and keep the crown of your head elevated toward the ceiling.
- Sit on the ground with your left leg outstretched and the right bent, foot to the outside of the left leg.
- Inhale, lifting your spine, and take your left hand to your outer right knee. Place your right hand on the floor behind you.
- Twist deeper, inhaling as you lengthen your spine, hold for 1015 breaths.
- Return to center, before repeating the sequence on the other side.
Acceptable Poses For Bedside Practice
More rigorous sun salutations that require standing are best reserved for practice on a firm surface with a mat. However, many poses are fairly low-impact and are more flexibility oriented. It is meant to stretch, relax, and relieve muscles instead of strengthening them.
Here are nine beneficial and effective low-impact poses to try out from the comfort of your bed. These can be performed both when starting the day and at night when bidding it farewell.
- Happy Baby: It is a relatively simple and relaxing pose that offers a thorough stretch for the hips and lower back.
- Childs Pose: One of the most soothing poses, the childs pose is an uncomplicated and restorative asana that your lower back will thank you for.
- Butterfly Pose: It is another low-impact stretch that will make your hips and lower back sigh with relief.
- Pigeon Pose: It is a great leg stretch for opening up tighter hips and the hip flexor muscles.
- Supine Spinal Twist: It is an optimal morning time stretch to prepare your spine for the days activities. You may even hear a few pops, but dont worry, its just the sound of your back cracking.
- Bridge Pose: It serves to boost flexibility in the spine and shoulders while also strengthening the thighs.
- Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose: It is a simple inversion that will decrease tension in the legs, great for anyone sore from a long day with lots of physical activity.
- Cobra Pose: It is a luxurious stretch that will open the chest, abdominal, and back muscles.
Read Also: Why Is My Yoga Mat Sticky
Practice Yoga For Flexibility These Poses Will Help You Gain Flexibility And Mobility
For all of these yoga poses, breath is key! Be sure to maintain consistent conscious breathing while youre in each pose, and also as you transition between them.
When we breathe deeply and fully, we send the signal to our body that were safe. As a result, were able to access the stretch deeply and safely.
Remember to modify, and use yoga props!! Yoga props are your friend and can be an excellent aid in helping you increase flexibility.
Take your time and know that flexibility does not happen overnight! It takes time, patience, and also consistency. Continue practicing these yoga poses for flexibility and note your progress over time.
You May Like: How Many Calories Burned In 1 Hour Hot Yoga
Seated Side Body Stretch
This Seated Side Body Stretch can be practiced just about anywhere, but its especially great for yoga in bed!
Lets try it:
- Start in a seated position, with your legs crossed or extended out in front of you
- Keep your seat rooted down. If you start to lift up either from one side or the other, you will not only get little from the stretch, but also compromise the integrity of the pose
- When youre ready, inhale both arms overhead
- On your exhale, release one hand to the bed at the side of your body
- Keeping your opposite arm extended, begin to lean into your side body, looking up toward the ceiling
- As you exhale, allow yourself to deepen into the side stretch, keeping in mind that youre working to achieve length so dont dump into your arm on the bed
Recommended Reading: Vinyasa Hot Yoga Calories Burned
Knees To Chest: Apanasana
Improves circulation and comforts the body. This simple pose is said to help relax the mind and body by improving blood circulation and stretching the spine. The act of hugging your legs into your body can be comforting and relaxing.
- Lie on your back, arms extended out side to side.
- Exhale and bend your legs to bring your knees to your chest. Clasp your arms around your shins.
- Release your shoulder blades down to your waist and focus on lengthening your spine.
- If its comfortable, slowly rock back and forth or side to side.
- Hold for up to one minute and ensure youre breathing steadily.
- Exhale and release your legs to the floor.
Simple Ways To Do Yoga In Bed
Regardless of whether you want to start your morning well or soothe your body and mind right before you go to sleep, yoga in bed is a great choice for any time of day.
And while you cant attempt more complicated poses there , there are still plenty of easy yoga moves you can do from bed.
Here are the best 5 easy yoga exercises that you can do in bed
Also Check: How Many Calories Burned During Bikram Yoga
Both Yoga And Meditation Have Been An Integral Part Of Indian Culture For A Thousand Years They Go Hand
New Delhi: Getting adequate sleep is imperative for good health. Sleep occupies a significant position in our lives because it aids the body in gathering the required energy to function properly. The number of hours and quality of sleep we get dictate how we perform our day-to-day activities. Unfortunately, in this day and age, most people dont get enough sleep, and that affects them in every aspect of their lives.Be it hectic schedules, toxic work environments, or misunderstandings in relationships, whatever negative happens around us causes a large amount of stress. In order to combat the ever-increasing worries, people spend a huge amount of money and energy so that they can make their health better. What they often dont realize is that all they need is a good nights sleep to feel much better. And one of the easiest and most effective ways to get deep-sleep is engaging in meditation and yoga just before going to bed. Mr. Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Director & Co-founder, Wakefit.co, shares the benefits, dos and don’ts of Yoga before bed.
Help Moving Into Advanced Postures
Think of it this way: you dont run straight from crawling you crawl, then stand, then walk. Yoga blocks provide that stand-and-walk before you run, so that you dont stress your body attempting to go straight from a crawling posture to a running one:
- Jump-through support
- Dolphin support for proper shoulder alignment and shoulder girdle engagement
- Forearm Stand support for proper shoulder alignment and shoulder girdle engagement
- Support entering Grasshopper
- Support to work into Sleeping Tortoise
Read Also: Does Hot Yoga Burn More Calories
When Is It Okay To Do Yoga In Bed
As mentioned earlier, its beneficial to engage in some light, basic stretches while rousing from sleep or as a pre-bedtime ritual. However, as noted above, the number of poses you can safely and efficiently practice in bed will be more limited than when you are situated on a more firm and even surface.
Below well discuss the benefits of practicing yoga before and after sleep.
Cat And Cow Pose: Marjaryasana And Bitilasana
Eases back pain by stretching the back and flank muscles. These two poses, often performed together, are helpful for people that wake up with back pain. Since they stretch the back and flank muscles, these poses are said to be relaxing and restorative.
- Get in a tabletop position with your palms on the floor and knees hip-width apart.
- Exhale as you tilt the crown of your head and your tailbone toward the ground, arching your spine like a cat. Focus on stretching your shoulder blades apart.
- When you inhale, bring the crown of your head and your tailbone upwards toward the ceiling, lowering your belly to the floor.
- Flex slowly between these two poses, holding each for a few seconds.
Read Also: Calories Burned Bikram Hot Yoga