Never forget that rest is just as important as work!
Seasons are changing and the shifting hours of sunset and sunrise impact the quality of our sleep. And if like many of us, you’re busy juggling career and a personal life, sometimes it is tough to wind down from your adrenaline filled days. If you’re having a tougher time getting an excellent night’s sleep, you aren’t alone. By making some simple changes to your bedtime routine, you’ll be catching all your zzz’s in no time!
Sleep is essential for our well-being. We’ve all had those nights where we toss and turn, and we’re ruined the next day. Our brains are foggy, our appetites may be out of control, our mood can be cranky or depressed, and our bodies feel lethargic. Over time, sleep deprivation can cause more serious health issues so it’s important to have tools at your disposal when you find yourself staring at the ceiling at 3 a.m.
Certain yoga asanas and pranayama techniques can transform your restless, overactive mind and tense muscles. Passive gentle poses are the most effective ones to lower your blood pressure, soothe your nervous system, and relax your muscles. Balasana or child’s pose, stretches out tight muscles in your back while shifting your focus inward and away from external stimulation. Vipariti Karani, or Legs up the Wall pose is a supported inversion and taps into your parasympathetic nervous system, soothing your entire being. This week’s classes feature variations on these asanas and others to help you prepare for bed.
The way we breathe changes the way we feel. In addition to a gentle evening yoga routine, some simple pranayama or breathing techniques will make the difference between tossing and turning and restful sleep. Shallow, rapid breathing is a sign you’re in “fight or flight” mode and it’s important to slow down. If you need to relax, try Vishama Vritti or uneven breath fluctuations, specifically by extending your exhales twice as long as your inhales. So, inhale for a count of 4 and exhale for a count of 8, or whatever rhythm feels natural for you. To intensify the effect, retain the breath for a few counts in between, which will further relax you.
This week’s yoga classes are designed to help you relax and prepare you to sleep deeply. Sweet dreams!
Jackie Casal Mahrou - 20-Minute Bedtime Yoga
Shy Sayar - Therapeutic Yoga for Stress, Anxiety, & Insomnia
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