To function in a normal or healthy way, sleep is crucial without which we will have low resistance to infection and disease and reduced immunity, which will also affect your energy and stamina. Sleep is a vital factor not only for your physical health, but it also improves mental health and general well-being and health experts insist that if you are having problems related to sleep, it is suggested to practice yoga regularly.
Poor quality sleep or insomnia affects several aspects of your life like your appetite, reduces your productivity, decreases your immunity, makes you more susceptible to disease, weight gain, cardiovascular problems and even failure of certain organic functions, as many of our vital organs depend on the function of sleep for rest and rejuvenation. Fitness experts claim that yoga is a very healing practice that will eliminate problems such as irregular sleep cycles, sleep disturbances and insomnia.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Himalayan Siddha Akshar, Founder of Akshar Yoga Research and Development Center, claimed that yoga offers us many health benefits for mind, body and soul. He suggested practicing the following 5 gentle and easy yoga poses before sleeping and holding these poses for 5-10 breaths or as long as you are comfortable with to regulate your sleep and improve your sleep quality:
1. Pawanmuktasana – Wind Relief Pose
Method: Lie on your back or in a supine position with your arms along your body. Inhale and exhale, bring your knees to your chest and press your thighs to your abdomen. Inhale and as you exhale lift your head off the ground, letting your chin touch your knees. Hold this pose as you inhale and exhale deeply and long. Release the pose to return to the starting position, lowering your head first, then your legs. Repeat this for 2-3 rounds, then relax.
2. Manduka Asana – Frog Pose
Method: Sit in Vajrasana, stretch your arms out in front of you. Bend your thumbs into your palms, wrap the remaining four fingers over them, and clench your fist. Bend your arms at your elbows, place your closed fists on your navel. Fold your upper body and place it on your lower body. Stretch your neck and focus your gaze forward
3. Salabhasana – Grasshopper Pose
Method: Lie flat on your stomach with your palms placed under your thighs. Inhale completely (Purak), hold your breath (Kumbakh) and then lift your legs together. Make sure your knees stay straight and your feet are together. Place your chin or forehead on the floor. Hold the pose for 10 seconds, slowly bringing your legs back and then exhale (Rechak) – This breathing technique is therapeutic.
4. Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
Method: Lie flat on your stomach with your palms placed under your shoulders. Keep your feet together, toes on the ground. Inhale fully (Purak), hold your breath (Kumbakh) then raise your head, shoulders and torso at a 30 degree angle. Make sure your belly button stays on the floor, your shoulders are wide, and your head is slightly lifted up. Pressure on your toes – This activates the Sun (right) and Moon (left) channels which are connected to the lower back. Hold the pose for 10 seconds. Slowly lower your torso then exhale (Rechak) – This breathing technique is therapeutic
5. Dhanurasana – Bow Pose
Method: Start by lying on your stomach. Bend your knees and hold your ankles with your palms. Have a strong hold. Raise your legs and arms as high as you can. Look up and hold the pose for a while.
You can start doing these asanas before sleeping every night. Set aside 10-15 minutes to create a quiet, serene environment for better sleep. You can also incorporate pranayama exercises and meditation for a relaxing night’s sleep. Meditation techniques such as Brahmari Dhyan, Aarambh Dhyan, etc. have many benefits, while Brahmari pranayama and Anulom Vilom can also be practiced for more favorable rest.