Catching up on a good night’s sleep is necessary to calm the mind and body after a busy day. Easier said than done, many of us find it difficult to fall asleep even if the body is tired. Some of us wake up at the slightest disturbance and hardly experience deep sleep, which truly refreshes mind, body and the soul! Popping a couple of sleeping pills may help but is no permanent cure to sleeplessness or disturbed sleep. Yoga on the other has been a tried and tested remedy for this common problem, which, when not addressed in a timely manner often leads to other health concerns.
If you are finding it difficult to get your healthy 8-9 hour sleep, try out these yoga poses just before lights off. You must however remember that you will not be able to perfect the pose the very first time, neither are you expected to do so. It is okay to support yourself with a couple of pillows and gradually ease into the pose rather than force yourself. It’s only a matter of time before you get comfortable. Hold the pose as long as it is possible and increase the duration to the recommended time limit as you perfect your routine.
Now for the bedtime Yoga poses:
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
True to the name of pose, you will mimic the posture of a child curled up in the mother’s womb, with arms outstretched though!
Sitting on your heels with knees wide apart and big toes close to each other, you need to bend forward, chest close to thighs, to touch the floor with your forehead. Your hands can outstretched in front with palms facing down or arms at your side with palms facing upwards. If possible your butt must rest on your heels.
You may use a pillow beneath your forehead or between your calves and butt to practice this pose comfortably.
You may hold the posture for 5-7 minutes.
Eventually you can try touching the mat/bed with your right ear turning your head as you bend forward and stay in position for 5 minutes before sitting up and repeating the pose, this time with your left ear touching the mat/bed.
Deep breathing in this posture will help relieve any tensions in the mind/body. Focus on each breath as it courses through your body to calm yourself.
This simple legs-up-against-the-wall posture is a stress buster that increases blood circulation in the upper body (head and heart), removing lactic acid build up from the lower limbs and relaxing the mind and body when combined with deep breathing.
Sitting at a comfortable distance from a wall, lie flat on the floor with your legs up against the wall (90 degrees or a perfect L). Use a pillow to support your lower back if needed. Your shoulders and back must touch the ground and hands by your side palms facing upwards.
You may hold this position for 5 minutes.
Breathe deeply and monitor each breath as you inhale and exhale slowly to completely calm and relax yourself.
Supta Baddha Konasana
Yet another pose to relax sore muscles and bring down the heart rate, this reclining posture flexes hip muscles and those of the inner thighs as well, toning the lower abdomen in the process and expanding your chest. By using several props you can increase / decrease the intensity of the pose.
Sitting up straight, bend your knees and put your feet together with their soles touching each other. Lie back with your arms at shoulder height, palms facing upwards. It is time to stop if you experience a strain around the knees, inner thighs.
Hold this pose for 3-5 minutes.
A couple of pillows behind your back/head, beneath the knees on either side help cushion the strain and comfortably relax the muscles.
Jathara Parivartaranasana/Supta Matsyendrasana
The supine twist poses release strain from the lower back, making the spine more flexible while stimulating digestion as well.
Lying on your back, arms stretched out on the sides, bend the knees towards you and rock slowly from one side to another. Once you get comfortable twist your lower body to the right keeping both knees together. You may turn your neck to the left if possible.
Hold this position for about 3-4 minutes before you twist to your left.
You can use on either side to comfortably rest your knees. Do remember to breathe deeply to completely relax yourself.
The Savasana or Corpse pose seems simple, yet is the most apt way to relax, consciously loosening up every part of the your body, including your sense organs as you breathe slowly bringing down your heart rate.
Lie flat on the mat/bed, arms by your side, away from the body, palms turned upwards, legs slightly apart and feet turned outwards. You will be able to feel the tension gradually fading away.
Hold this pose for 5 minutes or a little longer and remember to roll over to your right and slowly sit up to break this posture.
Complete your bedtime yoga routine with this pose.
For the best results though, you must learn yoga from an experienced teacher or a reputed yoga teacher training school in Rishikesh. If you are interested in teaching yoga, check out the different schools that offer yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, a calm and scenic city most ideal to learn and practice yoga.
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