Here is how you can use yoga to improve the quality and duration of your sleep.
Do more relaxing poses before sleep or during evening classes
The secret to a successful evening yoga session lies in focusing on specific relaxing poses. Langhana poses are usually done at the end of class in order to calm the body down and prepare it for rest. Moreover, since this group of poses does not require much physical strain, you can focus on increasing body awareness, allowing you to feel which muscles are tense or where you feel any physical discomfort, and eliminate it. Better body awareness leads to you knowing your body and making better use of it during sleep.
Yoga poses for relaxation can easily be done at home. Here is a list of just some of the poses you can do at home before bedtime:
- “Legs up the wall” relaxation pose
- Cat stretch
- Child pose
You can engage in simple exercises advised by your instructor or utilizing the many free videos available on YouTube. It is enough to spend around 10 minutes before bedtime on yoga, and some 10-15 minutes on meditation.
Focus on forward bends in the evening
Forward bends, like Hastapadasana help stretch and relax the muscles, and are therefore recommended before sleep. They can be done while sitting with straight legs, standing, or in a butterfly position. If you are a beginner, it is not recommended to strain yourself too much while you are bending. Instead, do them for the sake of relaxation and decompressing.
Engage in consistent meditation practice
Meditation complements yoga in many ways, including boosting the quality of your sleep. It has been proven to be effective in the treatment of insomnia. A steady meditation routine before sleep is therefore highly recommended even for those who do not do yoga. Meditation creates mindfulness and helps your mind focus better. If you can direct your thoughts, you can get rid of negative thinking and focus on your body and feelings, which, in turn, significantly reduces stress and improves your emotions.
Use breathing techniques to reduce stress
Pranayama is a breathing technique that allows the energy to flow through your body. Some exercises increase energy flow, and some work to calm you down and relax you. After langhana poses, use some pranayama breathing techniques for relaxation. Breathing will normalize your heart rhythm and tune you in for a good night’s sleep. Alternatively, you can just sit down, relax and take slow, deep breaths through your nose. It is important to note that pranayama is best avoided at night as it fills you up with energy. Pranayama should be practiced exclusively in the morning.
Eat soothing food after yoga class or training
Avoid eating heavy foods before sleep. A light supper is the best way to promote good sleep, but be careful not to go to sleep hungry. Some light cheese or a glass of milk could soothe your stomach and prepare you for sleep. Eat your supper at least 2 hours before sleep to let it digest properly. Alcohol and smoking are among the factors that reduce the quality of sleep, so be sure to avoid them at night!
The sleeping schedule in itself plays a big role in the quality of sleep. The perfect picture would be to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. There are a lot of apps that can help you adjust your schedule, including yoga apps. However, in the modern world, it is often not possible to create a perfect sleeping schedule. So, getting enough hours of sleep (7-8 each night for an average person) would be enough.
Following this simple advice, you will be able to sleep much better and wake up with more energy. Remember that good sleep is essential in keeping you healthy and young for many years ahead.
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