YOGA FOR BEDTIME
BY TIARA – FOUNDER OF LOTUSHOUSE YOGA
A good nights sleep makes me feel like a new person! However it’s much easier said than done.
Unhealthy sleep habits or poor quality sleep can result in lack of motivation and irritability and can also lead to illnesses such as anxiety, depression, diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
Some days we might feel completely exhausted however when it’s finally time to crawl into bed, it takes hours to get to sleep. We lead such busy lives and are constantly faced with a cascade of potential stressors, which is why it can be hard to release tension and wind down at the end of the day and prepare our body for a deep, unbroken sleep.
Research reports that yoga practice can help to alleviate sleep problems*. Just a few poses before bedtime will help promote restful sleep and sweet dreams.
Try this simple sequence before bed or even in bed!
Hold all poses for 2 minutes and remember to breathe deeply.
1. Child’s pose (Balasana)
- Restores balance and harmony to the body
- Releases tension in neck and lower back
- Alleviates stress and calms the body
- Kneel on the floor with your knees apart and big toes together, rest the buttocks down onto the heels.
- Lengthen upwards through the spine and lower torso forward onto the thighs, resting your forehead onto the floor.
- Breathe deeply here, to intensify the stretch, extend arms forward on the floor making sure you’re not holding any tension in the neck.
2. Reclining bound angle pose ( Supta baddha konasana)
- Gently opens the hips, and adductors of the inner thighs
- Eases digestive and reproductive disorders
- Decreases heart rate and lowers blood pressure
- Begin in Bound angle pose – Sitting on the floor upright, with the soles of your feet together knees splaying out to the side. (TIP: pull the flesh out from underneath your sit bones and draw upwards through the spine)
- Exhale leaning back onto your elbows and gently lowering the back to the floor, slightly draw your chin towards your chest
- Draw shoulder blades down the spine releasing arms beside the body palms facing up
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
(To modify pose if uncomfortable place pillow under lower back, add support under each knee with folded blankets or towels)
3. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama)
Nadi Shodhana is a basic but powerful breathing technique that literally translates to ‘channel purification’ or the purification of the nervous system. It is an effective aid in stress relief, harmonizing the left and right hemispheres of the brain and enriching blood with oxygen, reducing headaches and anxiety. The best part is that results can be felt almost immediately.
- Sit comfortably with legs crossed and spine upright. To help achieve a straight spine sit against a wall or use the edge of a pillow to lift the buttocks.
- Close your eyes and using your right hand – place your index and middle fingers between the center of your eyebrows, place your thumb over your right nostril and your ring finger over the left nostril.
- Release the ring finger and INHALE through the left nostril.
- Apply pressure of the ring finger, and release thumb EXHALE through the right nostril.
- INHALE through the right nostril.
- Apply pressure of the thumb and release ring finger, exhale through left nostril.
- Repeat for anywhere as long as 2 – 10 mins. Aim for long and even breaths.
4. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
- Improves concentration
- Assists with insomnia
- Reduces stress and fatigue
- Lie down on the floor with legs stretched out about hips distance apart, arms beside the body with palms facing up.
- Allow your shoulders to soften and melt into the floor, slightly tuck the chin so the back of the neck is long.
- Allow your legs to relax completely let your feet flop out to the sides.
- Unclench your teeth, relax your jaw and let the skin on your forehead smooth out.
- Bring your attention to your natural breath, with each exhale let your body soften and sink into the floor.