Yoga For Sleep

By Beri Golding One of the first indicators for any sign of mental dis-ease is sleep. Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or even certain dream states can limit how restful our slumber is. A complete night of sleep is essential for our health and overall well being. Often times we can’t fall asleep when it is bedtime because our minds are overactive yet we feel physically exhausted and drained during what should be our most productive hours because we aren’t getting enough rest. It can be a vicious and frustrating cycle. Yoga aids in not only soothing the body but the mind as well. Shifting attention from the unrest in the mind to the rhythm of the breath can be a very effective way of calming the nerves before bedtime. The yogic breathing style activates the parasympathetic nervous system function (the rest and digest setting for the body). Simultaneously, minimizing the tendency to default to the sympathetic nervous system function (flight or flight setting). Try this calming sequence before bedtime to set the tone for a restful sleep. Seated padmasana (easy pose)- engage in the breath, perhaps try exhaling twice as long as the inhale. (5 breaths) Reach left arm up as you inhale, upon the exhale place left hand on the right knee for a seated twist. (5 breaths) Reach right arm up as you inhale, upon the exhale place the right hand on the left knee and twist opposite direction. (5 breaths) transition on to your belly for sphinx pose, drop the chin towards the chest to relax the back of the head and neck (5 breaths) Lay on your belly with the left side of your face on your mat (or bed) 5 breaths, switch so the right side of your face is laying flat (5 breaths) Press back to balasana (childs pose) transitioning to seated on the heels, reach the arms up overhead connecting the palms and crossing the thumbs. Reach the fingers up and then stretch forward (possibly letting the forehead touch down before the finger tips) take 5 breaths in this more active variation of balasana. Reaching the fingertips forward while grounding the hips back and down. Reverse out of it the same way, you moved into it: fingertips stretch forward then up. Baddhakonasana (butterfly pose) soles of the feet together knees apart, lengthen chest forward before dropping the head down. (5 breaths) (to make the posture even more restorative or passive move the heels of the feet farther away from the pelvis. Viparita karani (legs up the wall pose) – Align yourself with empty wall space and slide your sitting bones as close to the wall as you can (or is comfortable for you) allow your back and head to comfortably rest on the surface below you. Your body will form an approximate 90 degree angle. Soften your face and your throat as you relax your hands down alongside the body with the palms facing up or place your right hand on your belly and left hand on your heart. Close your eyes and listen for the sound of your breath. Savasana Sleepytime. Namaste  

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