Yoga for better sleep
Friday 19th March is World Sleep Day and is designed to raise awareness of sleep as a human privilege often compromised by the habits of modern life. Did you know approximately 2 billion people on the planet live with insomnia? That’s a lot of bad night’s sleep.
If you’re one of these tired Yogarisers, why not try Yoga for Insomnia with Nicolette or a guided relaxation or meditation, available On Demand? Or delve a little deeper with a restorative yoga workshop or Flow + Restore class, designed to set you up for some serious chill time.
Snooze friendly postures
Child’s pose (Balasana) is a great way to calm the body and mind and is often given as an option in classes as a means of resting and restoring. By connecting the forehead to the mat (or floor or a blanket) the nervous system is instantly calmed. There are a few options – knees wide, big toes to touch and arms out-stretched, or knees closer together with arms back behind you, backs of the hands on the mat.
Another simple one is to lie with your legs up against a wall (Viparita Karani) which has a calming effect on the nervous system giving the heart a rest, or reclined with feet together, knees apart, in Supta Baddha Konasana. Closing the eyes and placing one hand on the belly, the other the heart can also help us to feel grounded and reassured.
Take a breather
A beautiful breathing technique (pranayama) that helps to keep us balanced and peaceful is Nadi Shodhana, alternate nostril breathing. Take your left hand and place it gently in your lap. Take the first two fingers of your right hand and place them over the space between the eyebrows, lightly hovering the thumb and ring finger over the right and left nostril. Close the eyes. Take a few regular breaths in and out, then close off the right nostril and breathe out through the left, shut off the left nostril with the ring finger, release the thumb from the right nostril and exhale out the right. Inhale through the right, close it off, release the left and breathe out through the left. This is one full round of Nadi Shodhana. Continue like this for however many rounds you have time for. Sit quietly for a few moments after breathing like this and allow the natural rhythm of your own breath to return, gently blinking the eyes open, or practise this before bed, lie down and get settled for bed.
Our pals at Yogandha give us great tips about aromatherapy, which can be used to calm the mind and to establish a healthier bedtime routine when introduced into your night time ritual.
Essential oils themselves promote relaxation – oils like Clary Sage, Lavender and Frankincense have long been known to do this. We love Yogandha roll-on oils for ease of application and portability (so much that we stock them -pick one up when our doors reopen!), but combine the oils with sleep rituals and your brain is conditioned to associate the fragrance with relaxation and sleep.
… Nighty, night.
The perfect fix to recharge batteries if you’re feeling frazzled, restorative yoga is a passive practice where students are supported by props to help hold postures for up to five minutes or more. By aligning the physical and mental body and practicing stillness, the nervous system is calmed and you can completely let go, which is believed to promote better sleep.
Create your space – grab any pillows, blankets, eye pillows – and get ready to be guided into deep relaxation. Totally converted to Restorative yoga? Next time you visit us IRL, why not grab one of these gorgeous, ethically made Bolsters and Eye Pillows by A_S_Upholstery ?
Sleep well, Yogarisers. We reckon it’s time for an early night.