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Yoga Poses for Sleep: 3 Poses You Should Try Tonight

One of the most attractive elements of yoga is the fact that this ancient practice is as much about your mind as it is about your body. While yoga can be challenging, it has multiple entry points at which you can begin your practice no matter your physical fitness level.

The more time you spend practicing and developing your strength and clarity on the mat, the more you will open yourself up to constant new challenges. The exciting thing about yoga is that it really is for everyone. 

When you think about joining a yoga class or starting to learn, don’t worry if you won’t fit in or won’t be able to handle the exercise. This practice is built around meeting you where you are at, and engaging you on a fitness journey one day and one session at a time.

Physical and Mental Strength

One of the reasons why yoga is so accessible to so many people is that it ties in concepts of mind and body. This emphasis brings rich health benefits to those who attempt practicing yoga at all stages of life. 

Not only will this discipline help to strengthen your inner core and help your mobility, but it will teach your mind how to be calm and puts a huge emphasis on breathing patterns. In fact, yoga practice is very common to help bring full body and mind wellness. 

Different Paths of Yoga

Yoga is a huge world where there are different paths for all kinds of different people. It may seem overwhelming at first because it’s so popular and it seems like everyone has an opinion on where to start or which yoga variation is best. 

Here are two of our favorite variations (or “paths”) of yoga if you are just getting started. 

Restorative

Who doesn’t want less tension in their lives? Tension builds throughout the day and can hide in a variety of different places within our bodies. 

Whether we experience mental tension or apprehension from work, or physical tension from sitting for hours on end during our commute, restorative yoga can help you relax and recenter. 

If you aren’t looking for something that will get your heart rate sky high and your muscles trembling, restorative yoga is a rich and satisfying practice. You’ll learn how to meditate, breathe deeper, and gain strides in your mobility, which can also help to promote a good night’s sleep, too. 

Vinyasa

At the same time, if you’re looking for that calisthenic challenge, then maybe the Vinyasa, or yoga flow, path is more your style. This particular variation of yoga combines full body poses with quick, seamless transitions in between. 

It’s a great way to break up your workout routine and can fit well into your week. If you substitute any part of your normal workout with this kind of yoga, you won’t be disappointed or under challenged. 

Health Benefits of Yoga

Not only is the practice of yoga deeply satisfying, as seen by the cultural impact this exercise still has on society, but it has immense health benefits. This ancient practice is something that people for melina have been doing for more than just muscle tone and core strength. 

Yoga has been linked to increased cardiovascular health and joint mobility. It’s also been linked to deep nervous system health and repair and has immense benefits for helping relieve daily tension.  

Yoga is not without its risks however, and must be taken at a careful pace to ensure you don’t incur an injury. Just like every other fitness track, this practice has varying levels of difficulty and if not taken seriously you can easily push yourself too hard and pull a muscle. 

The benefit of getting an instructor or even watching some Youtube videos to make sure that you are hitting your poses correctly and not overworking is immense. If you’re new to this practice, then spending some time learning the basics can help boost your confidence before you step into a yoga studio for a session. 

Poses That Help Calm Your Mind and Body

When you say the word yoga, most people immediately associate with it words like, calm, meditate, breathing, and relax. That’s because yoga (even the intense paths) still put a huge emphasis on breathing patterns, steady poses and endurance. 

This translates to a workout that regularly tells your heart to be steady and is constantly putting an emphasis on getting enough oxygen to your body. In fact, there are many studies that show yoga may have a hand in helping to lower blood pressure and support your cardiovascular health. 

When it comes to winding down, this practice has no shortage of advantages. Yoga can act as a bridge to help your body move from work mode into rest and replenish mode so you’re more ready to snooze when your head hits the pillow

Here are not only some poses, but some tips for getting the most out of a calming, relaxing session of yoga at the end of your day.

Get Comfy

First things first, be comfortable in what you’re wearing. Not only is this the end of your day, but yoga itself is about mobility, flexibility and endurance. Even in restorative poses that we’ll show you, you’ll still be holding certain forms long enough to feel the challenge. This bit of exercise helps to burn off any tension your day may have placed on you while still preparing you for night sleep. 

So, get into something that allows for a lot of movement, breathes well, and is comfortable!

Seated Position To Child’s Pose

The first thing you’ll want to do is sit up right on your mat. Drive your sit bones into the ground, focusing on proper alignment of your spinal column, being careful to keep your neck in neutral spine

Once you’ve come to a place of stability in this pose, focus on taking deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Feel your lungs fill and push the air out through your mouth, try to make a little “whooshing” noise with every exhale. These sounds help you stay in rhythm with the deepness of your inhales and thoroughness of your exhale.

Next, lean forward onto the mat, and bring your knees to either side of your pelvis. Try your best to lower your entire torso to the mat, with arms extended as far as they can reach. 

In this pose, you should have your legs folded under you, knees and shins, and tops of feet firmly planted on the mat. Your hips should be as low as they naturally can be, with your entire toros stretched out. From here sit your hips back on your heels

The most important part of this pose: don’t stress. If you find yourself hitting a natural wall, stop at that wall. This isn’t the time to breach new territory — it’s a time to experience your current level of mobility and flexibility and celebrate it.

Cat and Cow Pose

From here, bring yourself to a table top position by shifting forward onto the palms of your hands, lining your shoulders directly over your hands and your hips directly over your knees

Once you’re here, rock and back and forth just enough to feel your wrists and knees start to warm up. Be very careful to be gentle here as rocking too much can easily sprain your wrists if they are not used to the movement. 

Next, arch your back, bringing the navel of our belly up to your spine and take a deep inhale. On the exhale, release your spine down in the opposite direction, pushing up through the shoulders and hips

Think of your back as the line of a smiley face. On the inhale, your back is making an upside-down smiley face, on the inhale, it’s releasing a smile. 

Practice this several times, connecting to the breath. 

Balancing Table Pose

Second to last, bring yourself back to tabletop position and regain alignment with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Take a breath, and extend your right arm straight forward alone with your left leg straight back. You are extending the opposite arm and leg simultaneously, which shifts the weight of your body onto the remaining limbs.

Extend with an inhale, and bring both limbs back to the mat with the exhale. On the next inhale, switch sides and extend the opposite limbs. 

This is the most challenging pose, and if you’re preparing for some quality sleep, we suggest you don’t get your heart rate too high. Practice this pose until you feel warm and flexible, not until you’re sweating.

Savasana Pose

Lastly, transition to your back for Savasana or corpse pose. This pose will see you place your back flat on the bat, allowing your spinal column to naturally sink into the ground. Place the backs of your hands and arms by your side and close your eyes. Relax your body and let go of as much physical control as you can. 

With your core muscles relaxed, your limb muscles laying by your side, you’ll start to actually feel gravity pull on your body. Try and keep your head upright and experience this pull. Breathe deeply in and out through your nose with your eyes closed. 

Now, Congratulate Yourself!

At this point, take a few moments to really congratulate yourself on doing some simple, challenging, and life-giving yoga before bed. Set an intention for what you will do as soon as you're up off the mat, and once you have set that intention — butterfly your eyes open and get into the rest of your evening. 

 

Sources:

– 9 Benefits of Yoga |John Hopkins Medicine 

Types of Yoga: A Guide to the Different  Styles|yogamedicine.com

"Yoga: Fight stress and find serenity" |mayclinic.org

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