A relaxed and soothed mind and body makes for great sleep. A restless night oftentimes makes for a restless and less than productive day. Besides this, lack of proper sleep can lead to other health problems such as depression, anxiety or congestive heart failure. Can yoga help and is there an easy to follow evening yoga sequence?
The six poses below for a great evening yoga sequence should help you sleep better at night. Ideally, to get the best of the poses, you need to pose in a sequence of 1-5 minutes.
Head To Knee (Janu Sirsasana) Pose
The first pose of the evening yoga sequence is the head to knee. Without slouching, sit on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you. If necessary, you can bend your knees to help keep the spine from rounding. Gently bend the right knee while opening up the hip and bring the sole of the right foot into the inner left thigh. Ensure that the right knee is to the ground. In the event it doesn’t reach the ground then you can make use of a cushion. As you inhale, you should lengthen your spine. Bend forward from the hips over the left leg and exhale during the process. As you bend, endeavor to keep the spine and neck long. Place your hands on either side of your left leg and focus on your breathing as you gaze at the big toe of your left foot. When done, switch sides and repeat the same.
Bond Angle (Baddha Konasana) Pose
The next pose of your evening yoga sequence is the bond angle. Have a sit on your yoga mat without slouching. Gently bring the soles of your feet together in front of you and hold them or your ankles with your hands. You can consider bringing your feet as close as possible toward your groin in case you find that you are able to comfortably sit minus rounding the lower back.
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)
Avoid slouching as you sit upright on the floor. Extend your legs in front of you in a vee shape and place your hands behind your buttocks for balance. Be sure to only go wide as comfortably as you can. While ensuring that your lower back if not rounding, you will have to inhale and lengthen your spine. Next, you will have to exhale as you bend forward from your hips while ensuring that your hands are in front of you. In the event that you are unable to comfortably go through with the forward bend then you can do the sitting pose while keeping your hands behind your buttocks. Ensure that you don’t round your back as you sit.
With this pose, you will have to lie on your back with your head flat on the floor. You will have to bend your knees and place the soles of your feet on the floor. Gently bring your right knee toward your chest while ensuring that your hips are kept even. Place your right ankle below the left knee with your right knee pointing to the right. You will have to engage your muscles by flexing your right foot. The flexing is also good for protecting your knee from strain. You will then have to lift your left foot off the floor and bring your left knee toward your chest. Next, you will have to bring your hands on either side of your left thigh and continue with focusing on your breathing. During the process, try to bring your knees in a parallel position as much as you possibly can. Once done, you will have to switch sides and work the other side of your body as well.
As a tip, you don’t need t push yourself too hard; instead you can focus on only going as far as you possibly can in order to feel a gentle stretch.
You will need to lie on your back and gently bring your knees to your chest. Next you will need to extend your left arm to the side at shoulder height with your palm facing up. While keeping your knees high, you will need to gently bring them out to the right until they reach the floor. You will then have to place your right hand on top of your right knee and consider massaging your outer left and hip with your right hand if you wish. Once done, you will have to switch sides and work the other side as well. If you wish to decrease the range of motion then you need to consider placing a cushion or any other form of support under the lowered knees.
Legs-Up-The-Wall (Viparita Karanti) Pose
The final pose of your evening yoga sequence is the legs up the wall. You will need the wall for this pose. Sit sideways against the wall and bring one leg off the floor followed by the other leg so that the end result is both your legs extended up the wall. With your palms facing up, extend your arms along your sides. Relax in this pose with your eyes closed as you concentrate on your breathing. In case you wish to relieve tight hamstrings, you can bring your buttocks farther away from the wall. If you find that you are unable to keep your lower legs together then you should consider tying them together with a belt.
The whole point of the poses mentioned above is to help you sleep better at night. As such, it is in your best interest to establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Yoga can help boost relaxation and beat that insomnia! Remember to pay close attention to your body as you do the poses and try not to overwork it. In addition, you don’t need to do all the poses everyday-you can simply pick your favorites and incorporate them in your daily bedtime routine.
Do you have an evening yoga sequence at the moment? How is that working for you? Or if you have any questions about these poses, we would love to hear from you in the comments below.
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