Yoga For Sleep: Poses, Nidra & Practices For Better Sleep & Relaxation

Explore yoga's serene power for better sleep through poses, Nidra, and practices aimed at relaxation and combating insomnia.

Published On Apr 01, 2024 | Updated On Apr 01, 2024

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Have you ever found yourself tossing and turning at night, counting sheep, and yet sleep seems as elusive as a dream? In our fast-paced world, where screens often eclipse the stars, finding solace in the tranquillity of night can sometimes feel like a distant memory. However, what if I told you there's a time-tested, holistic approach to not just coaxing your body into slumber but also enhancing the quality of your rest? Welcome to the serene world of Yoga for sleep—a gentle yet powerful practice that harmonises body, mind, and spirit, paving the way for the restorative sleep you've been dreaming of.

Yoga and sleep, at first glance, might seem like distant cousins, but delve a little deeper, and you'll find they're more like siblings. Both states invite us to slow down, breathe, and let go of the day's burdens. Yoga, with its rich tapestry of asanas (poses), pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditation, offers a holistic approach to unwinding, making it a perfect prelude to a night of deep, rejuvenating sleep.

Yoga Nidra — The centre of  relaxation

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At the heart of Yoga for Sleep lies Yoga Nidra, often hailed as yogic sleep. This profound practice of guided meditation ushers you into a state of consciousness that flirts with the edge of sleep. Here, the body rests deeply, the mind finds stillness, and the spirit soars free. The benefits of Yoga Nidra are myriad, from reducing stress and anxiety to improving sleep quality and even enhancing overall well-being.

Imagine lying down, cosy and comfortable, as you're led through a journey within. You're invited to set a Sankalpa, or intention—a seed planted in the fertile ground of your subconscious. As you're guided through various stages, from body awareness to breath awareness and deeper into the realms of emotional and mental peace, you're gently released from the grip of tension and worry. This magical practice doesn't just prepare you for sleep; it transforms your relationship with rest itself.

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While Yoga Nidra is a gem in the crown of yoga for better sleep, let's not overlook the physical poses designed to ease the body into a state of relaxation. Here are three yoga poses for better sleep, tailored to soothe and calm:

Balasana (Child’s Pose): A pose of surrender and release. Kneel on your mat, touch your big toes together, sit on your heels, and then fold forward, extending your arms in front of you. Let your forehead touch the mat. This pose is a haven of tranquillity, easing tension in the back, shoulders, and mind.

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose): Lie on your back, bring the soles of your feet together, and let your knees fall open to each side. This pose opens the hips and heart, inviting a gentle release of the day’s stress and preparing the body for rest.

Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose): Find a wall, sit close to it, then gently swing your legs up against the wall, allowing your back to lie flat on the floor. This restorative pose reverses the flow of gravity, relieves tired legs and feet, and promotes a calming effect on the mind.

Integrating yoga into your nightly routine isn’t just about performing poses; it's about creating a sleep sanctuary. Start by setting aside time before bed to disconnect from electronic devices, dimming the lights, and maybe even lighting a candle or two. As you move through your chosen asanas, pay attention to your breath, inviting it to slow down and deepen, signalling to your body that it's time to wind down.

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For those wrestling with insomnia, yoga offers a beacon of hope. The practice of yoga for insomnia involves a blend of gentle asanas, breathwork, and meditation to address the root causes of sleeplessness—be it stress, anxiety, or bodily discomfort. Regular practice cultivates a deeper sense of calm, both physically and mentally, paving the way for more consistent and restful nights.

Yoga for sleep and relaxation transcends mere physical postures; it's a lifestyle choice. From the soothing flows of Yoga Nidra to the mindful breaths in each asana, this practice invites a holistic harmony that nurtures sleep. Consider integrating mindful practices throughout your day as well, such as meditation or conscious breathing, to maintain a state of calm and readiness for sleep as night falls.


Photo: Shutterstock

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