Yoga offers a whole host of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. The purpose of yoga is to build strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and body. Yet, it’s about more than just being very flexible and standing on your head. Aside from the physical benefits, one of the best benefits of yoga is how it helps you to manage stress, which is known to have devastating short-term and long-term effects. Yoga can be very effective in helping you to relax, developing coping skills, and reaching a more positive outlook on life. Yoga can also help you get great sleep, which further benefits your body and mind!
There many different types of yoga, from hot yoga to aerial yoga, all of which offer its own unique benefits. Restorative Yoga helps guide the yogi into deep relaxation. This is a great way to gently prepare for a good night of sleep ahead. Restorative Yoga’s poses are designed to help you relax and become calmer, so this isn’t going to be as physically difficult as a Peacock Pose! Below are four gentle poses, the entirety of which will take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, that help transition your body and mind from alert to ready for sleep. You can even do them in bed right on top of your PranaSleep mattress!
Balasana (Child's Pose)
Start your Restorative Yoga sequence by sitting on your heels with a supportive pillow out in front of you. Bring your big toes to touch and separate your knees wider than your hips. Bring your pillow in toward your pelvis and begin to fold forward, resting your torso on the pillow.
Take deep breaths to slow down your heart rate and soften through all the muscles in your body. If you feel like you can’t yet relax completely on your pillow, you may need to stack multiple pillows underneath you. You can rest your head to face either side, just make sure you switch the direction of your neck halfway through your time spent in Child’s Pose. Hold this pose for anywhere from five to 10 minutes.
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
Slowly transition into a Seated Forward Bend. You may or may not need your pillow for this one, depending on how flexible you are. Begin the pose by sitting tall with your legs out long in front of you. Elongate through your spine and walk your sitting bones back away from your heels a few times. Then, extend your torso away from your pelvis and reach your chest forward toward your toes. Get your chest as close to your knees or your pillow as possible. Rest your arms by the sides of your legs or grabbing your heels, whichever is most comfortable. Concentrate on rounding your entire back, releasing all of the muscles supporting your spine as you breathe. Again, you will do this for five or ten minutes.
Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)
Now it is time to transition to bend your body back the other way, gently and slowly. Start by kneeling with a pillow under your sitting bones and between your ankles. Your knees should be either equal to the width between your ankles or slightly closer together, whichever is more comfortable for you. Stack another pillow behind you in order to build a platform for your back to rest upon. The edge of the pillow behind you should connect with the sacrum at the base of your spine. Walk your hands beside you until the entire length of your spine and the back of your head is resting on the pillow. Once supported, release your arms by your sides. It is often most relaxing to keep the palms of your hands facing up to open your chest. As you breathe you will be able to comfortably settle into this pose. Allow release through all of your muscles. When you feel this occur, lengthen your tailbone toward your pubic bone, increasing extension through your spine.
After about 10 minutes, very gently support your way out of this pose. It’s important to use your hands to “walk” yourself up to a seat in order to bring blood flow back to your lower body for your last asana.
Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose)
Propping your legs up on a wall releases fluid buildup in the legs and feet, brings blood flow back to the heart, calms your nervous system, as well as provides a gentle stretch. To begin, place a pillow down against the wall. Slide one side of your hips up to the wall, lying on your side next to the pillow. Next, roll on to your back so that your sacrum is down on the pillow and legs are up the wall, perpendicular to your hips. Don’t worry if it takes some scooting and adjusting to get into the right position- that’s okay. Rest your arms by your sides and relax all your muscles as you take slow, deep breaths for the rest of your time.
This sequence is designed to soothe your nervous system, increase flexibility, and calm your mind after a full day. Maintaining a regular yoga practice can provide physical and mental health benefits that you certainly want in your life. Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness by increasing body awareness, relieving chronic stress patterns, relaxing the mind, centering your attention, and sharpening your concentration. These mental benefits are wonderful for helping you fall asleep at night.
The relaxation techniques incorporated in Restorative Yoga can lessen Insomnia. If these poses and other types of gentle meditation are not helping, your problem may be the bed you’re trying to fall asleep on. A new premium mattress, luxury pillows, sheets, and even an adjustable bed base may be needed to create the perfect bed for you. Luckily, PranaSleep has everything you need to create your ideal sleep oasis. Your night of rejuvenation is a luxury bed and a few Restorative Yoga poses away!