SHA Magazine Wellness & Relax
4 simple yoga poses for better sleep
Yoga is a wonderful and versatile practice that strengthens the body, brings focus to the mind and tranquillity to the soul. There are many different types of disciplines that at the core share the same principles, but have different objectives throughout the practice. If you want to energise the body, vinyasa yoga is dynamic and in constant flow, making you feel energetic and powerful. If you want a slower practice that focuses on calming the body and maintaining poses for a long time to strengthen flexibility, yin yoga is what you should be doing.
Each yoga practice can be designed for a different moment of the day and for a different energetic state. Biologically, our energy levels start decreasing in the afternoon, in order to get ready for the last stretch of the day before we go to sleep. In this case, we should be practicing a yoga routine that focuses on bringing calm to the body, rather than energising it.
Practicing yoga in the evening can be very beneficial in improving sleep quality and treating disorders such as insomnia, anxiety and depression. It is important to practice a yoga routine that calms the nervous system, activating the parasympathetic nervous system instead, and releases physical tension that has built up throughout the day. This will help counteract stress.
In the late afternoon or before going to bed, practice these 4 simple yoga poses to shift your body and mind into a calm and relaxing state.
1. Legs up the wall
This pose can be done on your bed, or on the floor lying on a mat. This yoga pose is simple, yet super effective at activating the parasympathetic nervous and the circulatory system, as well as bringing calm and tranquillity to the body. It provides a deep sense of relaxation, especially if you allow your body to completely let go whilst practicing some breathing exercise with the eyes closed. Tip: the point of this exercise is to relax into the posture and not feel that you’re straining your muscles.
2. Lying butterfly
Lay on the bed or on a yoga mat pressing the bottoms of the feet together and allowing the knees to fall to the sides. Relax into this posture with your eyes shut and focusing on your breathing.
3. Cat-cow pose
Practice this pose several times with your hands positioned underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Inhale into cow pose and exhale into cat pose. This pose allows the body to get rid of tensions that have built-up throughout the day, improves flexibility and brings a relaxing sensation to the body.
It is probably the simplest pose in yoga on a physical level, yet requires a lot of mental strength to completely disconnect and embrace the posture. All you have to do is lay down straight with your arms lying next to your sides. When you’ve done a yoga routine prior, this yoga pose is crucial as it allows your body to reap all the benefits of the practice you’ve done. It has calming and relaxing benefits, perfect for when you’re about to go to sleep.
With these 4 yoga poses, you’re allowing your body to restore and rejuvenate itself after a long day, and prepare it for bedtime to enjoy a good nights sleep. Give it a try!
If you suffer from a sleep disorder, the SHA Wellness Clinic Sleep Recovery Programme can help treat the root cause of the disorder and help improve your sleep quality and overall health.