Yoga for good sleep - check out some of these effective yoga asanas for good sleep

It’s already past midnight and you're having a hard time falling asleep? Well then you're not alone, according to research almost a third of us drag ourselves out of the bed every morning feeling tired.

Sometimes you may try everything in your efforts to make sure you're leading a healthy life, from keeping an eye on what you eat during the day, exercising, pampering your hair,  skin and constantly thinking about ways to improve your daily habits. But have you ever thought about whether you're giving your body enough rest? 

In today’s modern world, the balancing act between work and personal lives makes it all the more difficult to keep track on the number of hours you are allowing your body to rest. Oftentimes, you tend to cut down on sleep to make time for other activities. But what you don’t realise is that when you deprive your body from sleep,  it will adversely affect your health. Although you may not notice some of these adverse effects immediately, in the long run they can wreak havoc with your physical and mental health. Some serious health problems due to lack of sleep are- heart attacks, diabetes, irregular heart beat, high blood pressure, obesity, weak immune system, and hormone imbalances in both men and women.

Allowing your body to rest anywhere between six to ten hours is important.  It is during sleep that all the cells in your system rejuvenate. Proper sleep will also help your body to recover from stress and prepare itself for another long day ahead.

Getting a good sleep is vital, but unfortunately most of us have a hard time falling asleep. One  effective way to ensure your sleeping well is to practice yoga and meditation regularly. You might have heard of the many benefits associated with yoga but only a few of us are aware of the fact that it helps the body to maintain a regular sleep cycle. There are a few yoga asanas which activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and which will allow your body to rest well.

 Yoga asanas for better sleep-

     Balasana or child pose- If you're having a hard time falling asleep then this yoga asana will surely help you.   Balasana, also known as resting pose promotes a sense of calmness and stability. Apart from promoting good sleep, other benefits include relieves neck and back pain, reduces stress and fatigue, increases blood circulation to the brain.  Procedure - 

1. Sit on your heels and keep your spine straight. Keep your knees close to each other.

2. Slowly exhale and bend forward by lowering your forehead to touch the floor. Your arms must be placed alongside your body. Make Sure your palms are facing upward.

3. You may also stretch your arms forward towards the front the yoga mat. Your palms must be placed facing downward. Stay in this position for a few minutes and gently press your chest.

4. Slowly  inhale and come back to the starting position.

●   Baddha Konasana or butterfly pose- Apart from being one of the best asanas for promoting good sleep, it is also good for strengthening hips and groin.

Procedure-

1.    This asana must be performed in a seated position with legs stretched in front of you.

2.    Gently breathe out and bend your knees as you pull your heels towards your pelvis. Make Sure to press the soles of your feet close together.

3.    Try to bring your heels close to your pelvis. With the help of your thumb and first finger, hold the big thumb of your feet. The outer edges of your feet must be pressed to the floor.

4.    As you get comfortable in this position, the pelvis must be in a neutral position. Keep your shoulder blades firmly pressed to the back.

5.    Slowly try to lower heads of the thigh bone towards the floor. This will automatically bring your knees down. Hold this position for about five to ten minutes.

6.    Slowly as you exhale,  lift your knees and extend your legs.

     Paschimottanasana or seated forward bend- Along with promoting good sleep, this particular asana improves brain health, reduces anxiety, tones the muscles in the abdomen and pelvic organs, aids in weight loss,  and it is extremely good for  your overall wellness.

Procedure-

1.    To perform this asana, sit on the floor with your legs stretched forward. Place your spine erect and your toes pointing towards you.

2.    Slowly breathe in and raise both your arms above your head. Stretch as far as you can.

3.    Now while breathing out, slowly bend forward and extend your torso over your legs. Always keep your spine erect, while performing this pose.

4.    Rest your head beyond your knees and try to hold your big toes with your fingers. Gently breathe in, slightly lift your head and elongate your spine. Your navel must touch your knees. Stay in this position for about five to ten minutes. Now breath in and raise up, while stretching your arms upwards above your head. 

5.    Breathe out and bring your hands down. Relax and focus on the changes in your body and mind.

     Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or bridge pose- This is another excellent relaxing asana in yoga. Bridge pose or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana improves digestion, strengthens legs, glutes and back.

Procedure-

1.    To perform this asana, lie on your back and place your feet flat on the floor.

2.    Place your arms beside your ribcage and bend your elbows at an angle of 90 degrees.

3.    Slowly inhale, press the back of your shoulders and your feet into the floor and lift your hips up. Press the inner feet down and keep the knees from spreading wide.

4.    Keeping your neck neutral at all times, lengthen your tailbone and slide your shoulder blades down your back. Stay in this position for about five minutes.

5.    Breathe out and release your arms and roll your spine down.

 Try to incorporate this asanas in your daily fitness regime and reap the results for a healthier body and mind.

-Akhila Kakarala and Pic Courtesy: pixabay.com