Yoga: Your answer to a good night’s sleep

The entire world is experiencing an unprecedented situation unlike ever before. With work places shut for over a month, a lot of people have started feeling displaced from their daily routines, this has most certainly led to a lot of unhealthy habits be it lack of exercise, OTT binging watching until late at night, mid-night feasting and a lot more. Owing to the lack of routine and physical activity a lot of people struggling with sleeplessness, anxiety and stress about an uncertain future has caused a drastic rise in the number of sleep disorders among people. A recent study revealed that more that 67% of people tend to not fall asleep until after 11 pm each night ever since the lockdown has been put into action. One tends to find themselves feeling restless in bed, tossing and turning, unable to sleep, overthinking until into the wee hours of the night.

Here are a few exercises that could aid you in getting a good night’s rest, and leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. A few bending exercises, some stretching and breathing exercises before bedtime can facilitate better sleep and can also leave you feeling rested so that you can wake up to start a new day.

Forward Bend (Uttanasana):

Stand on your mat with your knees slightly apart, with a deep exhale, soften your knees and bend forward. Let your hands rest on the mat, next to your feet, parallel to each other. Remember to take deep breaths throughout the process. Feel your back muscles, hamstrings stretch as you hang your crown towards the floor. While releasing the pose, inhale and slowly rise. This is an intense standing forward bend that stretches muscles throughout the body. This asana regulates blood flow and brings an intense sense of calm and relaxation.

Cat-Cow Pose (Marjariasana):

This asana is a simple flex and release where the cat and cow pose are combined to guarantee the best results. Place your knees, and hands on the floor at a well- spaced distance. Form a curve with your back, your head facing up towards the sky. Exhale and arch your back, bring your head down, facing the ground. Repeat this variation for a few seconds. This variation is great to relax the mind and body. A relaxed mind and happy muscles help you sleep better.

Leg up the wall pose (Viparita Karani):

Lying down on the floor, raise your hips and legs up towards the sky. Support your back with the help of your arm strength. Use the support of a wall if required, to bring your legs up. Hold them up until your body and mind feel fully relaxed. This pose releases tension from the hips and lower body, improves blood circulation and sends blood to the brain, relieving mental stress and headaches. This pose is vital for someone who is looking to battle insomnia.

Child's Pose (Balasana):

Sit down on your mat, stretch your arms forward, and place it on the mat. Stretch them until your forehead touches the mat and you feel a good stretch in your neck and back. The child’s pose is a deeply restorative asana, which gives the entire back a deep stretch. It calms and regulates the nervous system, helping you drift off to wonderland.

Corpse Pose (Shavasana):

Lay on your yoga mat with your hands by your side, close your eyes and make sure your feet are in a comfortable position, facing sideways. Lay your palms on the side of your body, slightly away from the torso, facing skywards. Slowly draw breath to every part of your body. This is a slow deep-breathing exercise which facilitates deep relaxation. Shavasana can help you reach levels of awareness which helps relax the body and mind. Yoga Nidra which is a deep form of yogic sleep can also be incorporated in Shavasana.

"Post 10 pm each night I would recommend putting on some warm light, soothing music which could help the mind relax. Turning off your television sets, laptops, etc and try to limit your cell phone usage to the bare minimum. Do the things which bring you joy, be it reading a book, cooking, spending time with your family etc. And keep your body active. These asanas will help you focus on yourself and could give you the much-needed sense of calm and hopefully a good night’s rest," says Sarvesh Shashi, Founder, SARVA & Diva Yoga.

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