A good sleep is elemental. If you aren’t getting a good sleep, you would age faster and your bodily functions won’t work perfectly. Other problems that can arise due to lack of proper sleep include weight gain, dull and tired skin and confused mind. While we sleep, our body undertakes cellular level repair and removes harmful toxins. Therefore, it is very important that you take adequate sleep of six to eight hours.
If you are suffering from insomnia or any sleep related problem, then the yoga before sleeping can be extremely helpful in tackling such problems. The yoga calms your mind and relaxes your body, thus, placing you in a better position for a peaceful and restful slumber.
To help you sleep better, we have compiled a list of soothing yoga poses that can solve all your sleep problems and can improve the quality of your sleep as well as life.
The balasana, also known as child’s pose is a good pose to stretch the hips, ankles and thighs. This pose also lessens any residual back pain or muscle fatigue that you might be feeling after a long day at the work.
With your knees, hips-width distance apart and the big toes touching behind you, settle in a kneeling position on the mat. Take a deep breath in. Now, as you exhale, lay your torso over your thighs. Try to stretch your neck and spine as much as possible. Try to draw your ribcage away from tailbone and lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck.
With palms facing down, lay your hands on the floor, ahead of your torso. Release the front of the shoulders towards the floor and feel the weight of front shoulder pulling your shoulder blades wide across your back. Stay in the pose for 10 deep breaths. Balasana is a naturally resting pose that will release the tension from all over your body.
If stomach problems such as acidity and indigestion are keeping you up during the night, then the vajrasana can be very helpful. However, if you don’t suffer from any stomach related problem, then you are better off skipping it. It won’t have any additional sleep related benefits.
Sit on the floor or a ground. Fold your legs and sit in such a way that your heels touch your hips. Place your hands over your lap near knees. The palms can be touching your thighs or can be placed facing towards the sky. Hold the pose for around two minutes. If you are not a regular yoga practitioner, you might feel the stinging pain in your feet. In case, the discomfort is beyond tolerance, you can get out of the pose well before two minutes. The time can be increased with regular practice.
Standing Forward Bend
The standing forward bend is an extremely relaxing pose. You will feel as if all the stress and tension from your body is pouring out.
The starting position for this routine is the mountain pose. Stand at the top of the mat in a mountain pose. Inhale and stretch your arms straight over your head. Exhale, squeeze your abs and bend forward at the waist with a straight back. Relax your shoulders, tuck your chin into chest and extend the crown of the head toward the floor to create a long spine. Straighten the legs as much as possible and shift your weight forward onto your toes. The hands should be placed on the ground on the side or front of the feet, with fingertips lining up with the toes. Hold the position for ten breaths.
The salabhasana, also better known as locust or grasshopper pose is a rejuvenating and restoring yoga asana. It helps in relieving your stress and calms your body after a hectic and tiring day. It stretches your spine muscles and increases the endurance capacity.
Lie down on the floor or the mat on your belly. Place your chin on the floor. With knees touching the ground, place your toes on the ground. Now, rest your hands on the ground below your hips. Position them in such a way that your palms are touching the ground. First, lift up your head and then followed by your upper body, thighs and legs off the floor. Your body should rest on your belly. Try to balance your body in this position. If you can’t balance your body, then place two folded blankets below your thighs to support your position. The beginners can do this yoga pose with one leg at a time. This will help in building necessary strength, balance and flexibility.
Remain in the position for ten breaths. However, if you are suffering from knee or other multiple injuries, then you should not practice this asana. Also, those who are suffering from back injury or neck problems should also refrain from yoga pose.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend C
This is another relaxing bend that will loosen up your shoulders and help you minimize stress and other mental burden before going to sleep. It also provides a minor stretch to your hamstrings and lower back.
Stand with your feet three to four feet apart and heels placed slightly wider than the toes. Now, bring your arms behind your back, clasp your fingers and form a fist by pressing the heels of your palms together. Hinge at your hips and bend forward at the waist. Lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck and towards the ground. Relax your legs and try to shift the weight of the hips forward and bring them in line with feet.
Hold the position for 10 breaths. And then, engage your quads, push your feet into the ground and return to the standing position. Inhale as you stand up. Please note, the beginners can opt to keep their hands free and in front instead of clasping them behind.
The butterfly pose provides good stretch to the inner thighs, groin and knees. It helps in removing fatigue and tiredness from the long hours of standing and walking. It also regulates the bowel and intestine movement, which could help in tackling stomach related problems that hampers your sleep.
Sit down on the mat with your spine erect and legs spread straight out. Now, bend your knees and bring your feet towards the pelvis. The sole of the feet should touch each other. Grab your feet tightly with your hands. Also, for additional support, you can place your hands underneath the feet. Take a deep breath in. Exhale and press the knees and thighs down towards the floor. Make sure you lower them gently and slowly.
Ideally and usually, the next course in this exercise is to start moving your legs up and down like a butterfly. However, here, the goal is to provide a good stretch that will relax the lower body muscles, not to do a taxing workout. So, we will just hold the pose with knees and thighs pressed down on the floor for ten breaths. For a better quality stretch, you can opt to extend your arms in front of you.
Seated straddle is another yoga pose that provides relaxation through stretching. This yoga pose provides a good hamstring and back stretch that can help in relieving fatigue and tension accumulated throughout the day.
Sit on the mat with your feet about three to four feet apart. Remember in this pose, you aren’t supposed to go as wide as possible. Ensure that your pelvis is grounded firmly on the floor as it will provide a better stretch for your hamstrings. Sit straight with belly and ribs drawn in. Now, while keeping your back straight, fold forward at the waist. Press your chest and belly forward, and avoid rounding your back. Slide your hands down the legs.
While performing this asana, listen to your hamstrings and go as far as you feel, you are getting the stretch and once you feel pain, while doing the stretching, ease back down. Hold the pose for five breaths.
Head to Knee Pose A
This yoga pose is ideal for stretching your sides. It also activates your glutes and gives them a nice stretch, which could help in easing down the tightened abductor muscles.
Sit on the mat or ground with your legs stretched, straight in front of you. Bend your right knee and bring the sole of the right foot in touch with the inner side of the left thigh and heel of the foot as close as possible to the body. Also make sure that your right knee and thigh are touching the ground. Inhale and engage your core, so that you sit straight and erect. Exhale slowly as you bring your torso down over the left leg.
You can rest your hands on the floor on the either side of your leg, place them on the leg or wrap them around the left foot. You can choose any option that feels comfortable for you. Stay down for 30 seconds and come back to the seating position. Now, repeat the whole routine with the other leg.
The bridge pose is perfect for relaxing your front thighs and core. It also helps in relieving your back of the tension. Another benefit of the bridge pose is that it is ideal for tackling any tightened muscles in the groin or pelvis area.
Lie down flat on your back with the arms extended along the sides of your body, with the palms facing down. Bend your knees and place your feet as close to the butt as possible. Now press your palms and soles firmly into the ground and raise your hips off the floor. At this point, you have an option to keep your palms on the floor or you can clasp them below your pelvis by extending the arms straight out. You can also opt to bend the elbows and rest the hands on your lower back. And, if your feet are closer to the body, you can grasp your ankles. Lift the hips as high as you can, and stay in the pose for around 30 seconds.
Legs Up The Wall
Leg up the wall can help in treating aches and pains in the tired lower back or the hamstrings. This yoga pose also instills the sense of calmness in your whole body, which I feel is very important after a typical chaotic and stressful day. It prepares you physically as well as mentally for a peaceful and deep slumber.
Place a folded blanket, cushion or a pillow against a wall. Try to sit down as close you can near the wall, next to the blanket or pillow you have placed. Lie down on your back, place your feet on the wall with your knees bent. Now, shuffle your body towards the wall so that your butt and lower back are placed on a folded blanket or whatever you have placed against the wall.
With your bottom touching the wall, place your legs straight up against the wall, your heels should be resting on the wall. You can opt to place your arms alongside your body or by your head. Close your eyes and relax your entire body, feel the gravity’s pull on your body. You have to hold this position for 30 seconds or so.
After this, you can opt to get on your feet or can opt to do one more step that will further relieve tension. For this, you will have to roll your body over to one side, bend your knees and place your head on the inside of your arm. Stay in this fetal position for a minute and let everything go – anxiety, stress, tension and frustrations.