If you are going through anxiety and stress during the current times, remember you are not alone. While  it is perfectly normal to feel that way as we deal with the effects of the ongoing pandemic, we should also ensure to do the necessary things to alleviate the fears.  Practising yoga in the evenings or before bedtime is a wonderful way to reduce the stress and have a good night's sleep.

Studies have found that regular practice of yoga before bedtime can help to manage symptoms of insomnia and promote better sleep which also has a positive effect for those who are wanting to reduce their weight. Also, the most important benefit of practising yoga in the current times is that it reduces our stress level while we are social distancing and staying indoors.

An Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi study has found that yoga practitioners had “lower stress, anxiety and depression” during the lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 outbreak last year as compared to non-practitioners. The study, titled ‘Yoga an effective strategy for self-management of stress-related problems and wellbeing during COVID-19 lockdown: A cross-sectional study’, has been published in the journal ‘Plos One’. It was carried out by a team of scientists from the National Resource Centre for Value Education in Engineering (NRCVEE) at IIT-D. The study found that long-term practitioners had “highest peace of mind, lowest depression and anxiety.

Start by getting to get the right breathing technique. Once you start breathing deeply and in the correct way you not only allow your muscles to relax, but reduce your mental stress. In the long run regular practise of pranayama or breathing exercises helps one to overcome anxiety disorders and have a calmer mind. Do not take your breathing for granted and few minutes of deep breathing everyday have many benefits in the long run.
While it is not feasible to join a physical class or workshop now, there are several online classes  that you can take up during the current night lockdown period.

There are many restorative yoga postures that are perfect for the evenings.  Restorative is a type of yoga that’s perfect for the evenings as it helps your body and mind to get the much needed rest.

Start with a waterfall pose or legs up the wall. It's an ideal way to stretch your hamstrings which often gets stiff owing to long hours of sitting at work. Lie on your back, and then gently lift and extend your hips  to make sure that your back is  comfortable. Then bring your knees up to your chest and extend the legs up the wall, so that they’re at a 90-degree angle to your body. Bring your arms out to the side, close down the eyes and relax, breathing deeply for 10-15 breaths.

Another way to relax is to do Ananda Balasana or Happy Baby pose. From the leg on the wall pose bring your knees back into your chest and grab the outside of the sides of your feet. Then gradually extend your legs a little and bring your knees wide, letting your elbows fall inside your thighs. Push into your hands, feeling a nice stretch.Hold for 10-15 breaths. Other helpful poses are Sleeping Butterfly pose and Child’s Pose that gives your body the much needed relaxation.Adding these yoga poses to your bedtime routine can help you to sleep more deeply.

After all, a good night's rest isn't just important for  your energy but it also helps you to have a  strong immune system that is most important during the current times. So if your sleep has taken a hit owing to  the  uncertainties of the current times, practise these yoga postures.

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