Yoga, originally from India, is an ageless practice that transcends centuries and cultures and goes beyond just a physical exercise routine.
In a simple definition, it is a holistic practice that encompasses physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and ethical principles and is often seen as a journey of self-discovery and holistic well-being.
The aim of yoga is to promote physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. It benefits people from all walks of life such as stressed professionals, athletes, the elderly, those with insomnia, children and teens, spiritual seekers, people with chronic pain etc.
It is important to note that in our fast-paced and often demanding world, stress and disrupted sleeping patterns have become some of the major issues plaguing individuals. The toll they take on our physical and mental well-being is excruciating and impacts negatively our productivity and easy running of our day-to-day lives. However, yoga remains one natural and widely accepted antidote that combats these challenges. In this article, we will delve into the yoga poses that aid in relieving stress and improving sleeping patterns.
Yoga Poses To Relieve Stress And Improve Sleep
- Child’s Pose (Balasana): This is a gentle and restorative posture that can help relieve stress and improve sleep patterns easing tension in the back and shoulders, promoting a sense of calm that prepares your body for restful sleep. To perform the child’s pose, you first have to kneel on the floor, touch your big toes together, and sit back on your heels. Afterwards, you stretch your arms forward and let your forehead rest on the ground. Breathe deeply and hold the pose for a few minutes. Also, ensure you are comfortable in this pose. You can adjust the width of your knees or place a cushion or folded blanket under your forehead for support.
- Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana): Bridge Pose is an excellent posture for opening the chest, relieving stress and promoting better sleep by releasing tension in the back and neck. To perform the Bridge pose, you first need to Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Then, lift your hips off the floor, keeping your feet and shoulders grounded. Interlace your fingers under your back and press your arms into the floor. The pose should be held for a minimum of 30 seconds to 1 minute while breathing steadily.
- Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani): This is a restorative posture that promotes relaxation and improves circulation. It is a valuable pose for better sleep as it helps to alleviate anxiety and insomnia. To perform Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose, sit with your side against a wall. Then, lie down and swing your legs up the wall so that your body forms an L shape. Rest your arms by your sides and close your eyes. Hold the pose for 5-10 minutes while focusing on your breath.
- Corpse Pose (Savasana): Known as the ultimate relaxation pose in yoga, it is often used at the end of a yoga session to allow the body and mind to completely unwind, making it an ideal practice for improving sleep quality. To perform Corpse Pose; lie on your back with your arms and legs extended. Then, close your eyes and focus on your breath. It is required of you to stay in this pose for 5-10 minutes.
- Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana): Butterfly Pose is a gentle hip opener that can help relieve stress and anxiety by releasing tension in the groin and lower back. It also prepares the body for a more restful sleep. To perform Butterfly Pose: Sit with your feet together and knees bent outward. Then, hold your feet with your hands and gently press your knees toward the floor. Afterwards, breathe deeply and hold the pose for 1-2 minutes.
- Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana): Cobra Pose helps relieve stress and anxiety. It also strengthens the back and improves posture. To perform Cobra Pose: Lie face down with your palms flat on the floor next to your shoulders. Then, inhale and lift your chest off the ground while keeping your lower body relaxed. Remember to hold the pose for 15-30 seconds, then release.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana): This pose helps balance the nervous system and calm the mind. To practice Alternate Nostril Breathing: Sit comfortably with your spine straight. Then, use your right thumb to close your right nostril and inhale through the left. Follow through with closing your left nostril with your right ring finger and exhale through the right. After which you will inhale through the right nostril, close it, and exhale through the left. Repeat this cycle for several minutes and watch the pose take its effect.
Incorporating these yoga poses and breathing exercises into your daily routine is a great way to reduce stress and improve your sleep patterns. Finding the peace and relaxation needed to navigate life’s challenges with greater ease depends a lot on you taking time for yourself to connect your body and breath. So, when next you feel so stressed out or find it difficult to sleep, you know the exact poses to carry out. Find your inner zen, and prepare for a more stress-free, restful and rejuvenating sleep. Wish you the best!
Researcher: Iloh chioma sandra