Hours pass by and each minute weighs. The night out does not stop remembering how long it is.
Insomnia is a common disorder that consists in the inability to fall asleep or in the subversion of the usual rhythms of sleep.
To cause it is often stress, especially those of a psycho-social type (such as conflictual relationships in the workplace), depression, abuse of exciting substances, physical pain, food allergies, environmental disorders, the usual snoring associated with the presence of sleep apnea and the jet lag.
I really feel you and you have to know you are not alone.
It doesn’t matter the type of life you have or what are the things you do, insomnia is just around the corner and it could easily show up when it is less expected. Today I am here to introduce you to a natural, simple and practical remedy to this problem: Bedtime Yoga.
Yoga is best known for its benefits for both the body and the mind.
In fact, according to scientific institutions such as The National Center for Biotechnology Information, this ancient discipline really helps us to strengthen our body, to boost our vital energy and to release stress, anxiety and learn how to deal with our emotions and feelings.
So, in one discipline, you will have so many different benefits.
Good news is yoga is a great help in case of insomnia too, as it contributes to relaxation by loosening both physical and emotional tensions and, if performed in the evening before going to sleep, it really can improve the quality of your sleep.
A study carried out nothing less than by Harvard researchers in December 2009 scientifically demonstrated how to perform yoga exercises for a period of eight weeks better sleep quality in people suffering from insomnia.
The research said that patients who participated in yoga sessions twice a week showed positive change, less tiredness over time and got back to getting along with Morpheus, finding their way back to a relaxing and deep sleep.
Yoga is a panacea against insomnia and bad sleep caused by stress or difficult work situations or concerns of various kinds; also excellent in cases of conditioned insomnia, characterized by the pervasive fear of not being able to sleep. Specific positions, if practiced consistently, guarantee long-term relaxation.
Yoga’s experts as Richard Miller, a psychologist and yoga teacher, are even deepening the yoga action on insomnia. For example, Miller has created a system that combines the ancient tradition of yoga techniques with recent sleep studies.
It's called IRest, an abbreviation for Integrative Restoration, a transforming practice (transformation is the principle of shamanic forms, of the most ancient psychophysical disciplines).
In this practice the metamorphic effect is strengthened because meditation and Yoga Nidra are combined with psychological therapy and transformation is catalyzed. It is a relaxing and therapeutic guided meditation.
I know how all this could be overwhelming, especially if you are a newbie to yoga. This is the reason why I want to keep things easy and handling for everyone giving you some basics yoga foundation you can add to your nightly routine to relax just before heading to bed to unplug from your day and find you balance back again in both your body and soul.
Sleeping is forgetting about ourselves, and it is a gift that we make ourselves that we have the miracle of doing every night. And this forgets is transformed into profound memory and real life, because in the R.E.M. we also combine memories that are very distant from one another.
From an article in the Yoga Journal, dedicated to Roger Cole, Iyengar teacher who has been involved in research and experimentation about the link between sleep and yoga, Cole explains that “We need sleep. In our sleep we get rid of all the information we would not spend anyway, and, sleep is a reversible, temporary loss of consciousness everybody needs”.
Some positions of yoga are more suitable than others to encourage a good rest, as they are mainly aimed at freeing the mind from everyday worries, alleviating anxiety and de-contracting the muscles, with particular reference to the shoulders and back.
Remember to always be mindful and gentle during your practice and don’t force your body at all. Consider these asanas as a tool to just focus on your real self away from your busy daily life, duties, and relationships.
Benefits: Stretches spine and hamstring muscles which reduces the chances of injuries and maintain flexibility improvised body posture. Calms your mind and helps to relieve you from a stress headache and mild depression. Stimulate abdominal organs for better digestion.
Tips: Don’t round your back by bringing your shoulders forward. If flexibility is an issue let your knees slightly bend and deepen the stretch with every exhale. For modification place a yoga block in front your feet and grab it while bending.
Benefits: Child's pose is the most common yoga pose. Mostly used while resting between the sequence. A great pose which helps to stretch the hips, thighs, and ankles while reducing stress and fatigue. It gently relaxes the muscles on the front of the body while softly and passively stretching the muscles of the back torso.
Tips: Bring your knees together and extend your arms overhead. This will give your back a stretch and allow your shoulders to relax externally while extended overhead. If your knees hurt in this pose, come to seated cross-legged posture or put your legs up against the wall.
Benefits: Happy Baby Pose is known to stretch your groin and lower back, a great recovery pose that relief the hip flexors to allow you to get back to your training. The pose also calms the mind and can relieve stress and fatigue, making it an excellent choice to do before bed or at the start/end of practice.
Tips: Try to press your lower back to the floor to deepen the stretch. In this pose try to focus on your breathing. Push your feet straight down to achieve this engage your heel and push them up while pulling your feet back.
Benefits: Lengthen and encourages the mobility of spine for twisting motions in various sports. Stretches shoulder, chest, back and hips muscles to relax and re-energize the body. Helps you relieve from stress and anxiety. Increase the blood flow to abdominal organs which results in detoxification of the body and toned waistline.
Tips: If your knees don’t touch the ground, don’t worry about it. Just focus on getting the gentle twisting stretch throughout your spine (especially lower back). The focus of this pose should not be on “cracking” your back. Focus on the stretch.
Benefits: A passive yet very efficient pose to relieve stress and relax your mind and body. Gently stretches your hamstring and lower back. Reduces edema in legs and feet and increases blood flow towards upper body and brain, which helps to calm down your nervous system and relieves lower back tension.
Tips: If your hamstrings are tight, lie on your back with your hips a few inches away from the wall and your legs up the wall with both knees bent. Plant your feet on the wall. For tight hamstrings, add a yoga block or blanket under your hips to elevate them.
Benefits: Stretches and stabilizes your hip flexors and gluts muscle excellent recovery pose after sports training and all day labor. Quite beneficial in relieving from lower back pain and overall relaxation by elimination the symptoms of anxiety and high blood pressure. It is often recommended for those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.
Tips: Keep your biceps by your sides and pull the knee with forearms. Deepen the stretch on every exhale. Your head and shoulder should maintain the contact with the ground all the time. For modification the extended leg.
Benefits: This yoga pose as a therapeutic yoga promotes and improves respiratory and cardiovascular function, supports recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improves sleep patterns, and enhances overall well-being and quality of life.
Tips: The core objective of this pose is to relax, to the extent that that you lose your conscious awareness of your body. You can do any modifications to attain that while maintaining the pose. E.g., Place a blanket under your spine, hips, neck or heels if you are feeling uncomfortable with these touch points. Or cover your eyes if you are being distracted by light.
And if you are looking for some more yoga poses and further guidance do check out our ultimate yoga assessment guide. As it comes with every thing, a yoga practitioner needs when practicing solo.
Thanks for staying till here.
Take good care of yourself