Regular Yoga practice not only boosts immunity and keeps diseases at bay but is also a great remedy to release stress, anxiety or tension in the mind or body and helps restore balance to prepare you for a good night’s sleep. From relieving chronic stress patterns to increasing body awareness and creating mental clarity and calmness, Yoga is packed with health benefits courtesy its meditation and breathing poses that sharpen concentration, brightens up one’s mood and relaxes the body to help you sleep better.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Yoga Master and Spiritual Guru – Grand Master Akshar shared, “Yoga encompasses yogic techniques such as asanas or physical postures, breathing techniques known as pranayama, meditation, mudra, chanting, and more. Dedicate 5, 10 or 15 minutes every night to practice the following routine. Before you go to sleep meditation and pranayama techniques can be firstly done for about 2 – 3 minutes and progressively increased with practice. Here are 3 tricks to help you fall asleep faster.”
You can hold each yoga posture for about 30 seconds and repeat each pose thrice. Grand Master Akshar suggested 3 Yoga poses that are very simple and for beginners too. They can be done by anybody and preferably done as your bed time Yoga.
1. Balasana or Child’s Pose
Method: Sit on your heels on the floor or a yoga mat and keep your knees either together or wide apart. Slowly, exhale and bend forward to touch the floor with your forehead or rest it on a block or two stacked fists while keeping your arms alongside your body and palms facing up.
Alternatively, you can keep your palms facing down on the mat by reaching out your arms towards the front of the yoga mat. Now, if your knees are together, gently press your chest on the thighs or press your chest between the thighs if the knees are apart.
Relax the shoulders, jaw and eyes and find a comfortable place for the forehead as there is an energy point at its center, in between the eyebrows, that supports a “rest and digest” response by stimulating the vagus nerve. Hold onto the pose for as long as you like and pull your navel towards your spine while inhaling and softening your body and the arms while exhaling. Return to the sitting position on the heels slowly while inhaling and as if uncurling the spine.
Benefits: This beginner’s Yoga pose not only helps to reduce stress and anxiety by helps releasing the tension in the chest, back and shoulders but also helps if you have a bout of dizziness or fatigue during the day or during your workout. It can help relieve back pain as it is a gentle stretch for the back, hips, thighs and ankles.
Precautions: This exercise is not recommended for pregnant women or those suffering from diarrhea or knee injury.
2. Sukhasana or easy pose
Method: Sit on a Yoga mat or on the floor with your legs stretched out. Bend one of your legs and place it under the opposite thigh and repeat the same with the other leg.
Sit erect, keep your head, neck and trunk aligned in a straight line, put your hands on your knees or thighs in Chin Mudra or Jnana Mudra. Turn your palms up to be receptive or down to feel grounded and inhaling slowly, feel your spine grow long while on exhaling, root down through your seat.
Benefits: Apart from finding stillness and tranquility, this asana relieves muscle and joint pains as it helps the practitioner in maintaining a good posture, gives flexibility, keeps the back straight and provides strength to the legs. This in turn lengthens the back muscles and spine, broadens the collarbones and chest, stretches the external aspect of the knees and unlocks the hips.
3. Vajrasana or Thunderbolt Pose/Diamond Pose
Method: Start by kneeling on the floor and rest your pelvis on your heels. Keep your heels close to each other by pulling your knees and ankles together and point your feet in line with your legs.
Place your palms on your knees or on your thighs and adjust your pelvis slightly backward and forward until you’re comfortable. Exhale as you sit back on your legs.
Benefits: Vajrasana not only helps in keeping the mind calm and stable but also cures digestive acidity and gas formation, helps relieve knee pain, strengthens thigh muscles and helps to relieve back pain. The exercise aides in strengthening sexual organs and helping in treatment of urinary problems.
Grand Master Akshar also suggested some meditation techniques that include:
1. Prarthana Dhyan (Prayerful Meditation)
Method: Sit down in any comfortable posture. Join your palms in front of your chest to form Pranam Mudra. Straighten your back and close your eyes. Frame and repeat positive affirmations aloud or silently.
Benefits: Instils a sense of calmness, builds within the practitioner a greater sense of gratitude, builds your confidence, makes you more positive and optimistic and encourages sense of serenity.
2. Pranayama Technique (Udgeeth Pranayama)
Method: Sit in any comfortable pose. Straighten your back and close your eyes. Place your palms on your knees. Inhale deeply and fill your lungs with air. While exhaling, form a circle with your lips and say “Oooooooommm” for as long as you can. Feel the vibration of the sound disseminate throughout your body.
The practice of yoga can be a key influence to your lifestyle. Yoga adds positive habits to help you improve your overall health and well-being. Yoga as a holistic science focuses on building the mind-body connection. This makes yoga tremendously therapeutic for those suffering from sleep disorders like insomnia, disturbed sleep, sleep apnea, and many other issues.