Sleepless nights are over...
"A recent survey found that more people are sleeping less than six hours a night, and sleep difficulties visit 75% of us at least a few nights per week. A short-lived bout of insomnia is generally nothing to worry about. The bigger concern is chronic sleep loss, which can contribute to health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and a decrease in the immune system's power, reports the Harvard Women's Health Watch*."
One of the reasons why I like to practice in the evening, is the beneficial influence of yoga on my sleep quality. Everyone is different, so what works for me, might not bring you ease. But here is the summary of the practice, rituals and remedies I use - in order to slow my mind before going to bed.
How can your evening yoga practice help you to increase the quality of your sleep?
Life now has a pace that might be hard to follow. My schedule is usually pretty packed so I need to make sure that my body and mind recharge overnight. My evening practice therefore, is very gentle and slow, often accompanied by relaxing tunes. Start with rolling out your mat, or put a blanket on the floor and sit down, slowly tune in. Take couple of deep breathes - with patience. With every exhale, you will notice your thoughts slowly disappearing, or at list - slowing down. I like to imagine the highway in the rush hours, that suddenly becomes empty- as in the evening hours. So is your mind - empty, ready to rest.
Sometimes it is enough to just sit comfortable and consciously breathe. There are days, when it might not be enough in order to lie down in your bed with a relief and smile on your face. My favourite asanas in my evening yoga sequence are: child's pose, malasana, spinal twist, happy baby pose and butterfly forward fold. Hold each for couple of minutes and stay present - in your space. I like to add some pranayama - breathing techniques. Nothing calms my mind as nadi shodana (alternate nostrial breathing).
If these are a total surprise to you, read more on adjustment and see the videos - which might help you to get the feeling of what I am talking about. If you have your favourite ones - please share it, lets extend this list! Just send me an email or a direct message on Instagram(guka_pitu).
- Childs pose (Balasana)
Kneel on the floor, sit on your heels & touch your big toes together. Now separate your knees about as wide as your hips. Take a deep inhale and with the exhale - lay your torso down between your thighs. Lay your hands on the floor alongside your torso, palms up, and release the tension in your muscles to the floor.
- Garland pose (Malasana)
Squat with your feet as close together as possible (keep your heels on the floor if you can; otherwise, support them on a folded mat). Separate your thighs slightly wider than your torso. Exhaling, lean your torso forward and fit it snugly between your thighs.Press your elbows against your inner knees, bringing your palms to together in Anjali mudra and resist the knees into the elbows.
- Happy baby pose (Anadnda balasana)
Begin on your back with the knees drawn into your chest. Now raise the heels towards the ceiling and grab your outer feet with the hands. Have the feet a little wider than hips distance apart and the soles of the feet parallel to the ceiling. Now this is important - with the shins perpendicular to the floor and the hips grounded, pull down on the feet to draw the knees towards the armpits. Gently rock the pelvis forward, directing the tailbone towards the floor to deepen the stretch in the hips.
- Spinal twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Seated spinal twist is a restorative yoga pose that promotes good digestion and encourages spinal mobility. Twisting postures help tone the belly, massage internal organs and can help relieve lower back pain. Often performed towards the end of a sequence, this pose is simultaneously relaxing and invigorating.
Few videos I use sometimes in my evening routine, hope you'll find sth for yourself. As said, please feel free to throw your favourite videos or scripts at me. Happy to make this blogpost a respoitory for bedtime rituals. Sharing is caring...!
- PRANAYAMA WITH ADRIENE
- YOGA NIDRA WITH ACHARYA VINAY
- YOGA ROUTINE BEFORE BED FOR BETTER SLEEP WITH BREATHE&FLOW
What else can I do to increase my chances of sleep comfort?
Before I step on the mat in the evening, I like to put on some comfy clothes, get a blanket, few pillows. I make ma favourite tea and prepare some essential oils to rub into my temples and feet. For the evening practice, I would recommend lavender oil, bergamot, camomile, but also valerian. What tea calms your system down? Again, lavender, valerian root and chamomile work best for me. Herbal teas are popular beverage choices when it comes time to relax and unwind. For centuries, they have been used around the world as natural sleep remedies.
Please remember to consult your doctor, if your insomnia gets out of control. What is happening on this blog, it is sharing my own experiences and the ways I deal i.e. with busy mind.
This article will evolve and I will keep on adding new ideas once I here from you, or explore new ideas.