To function in a normal or healthy manner, sleep is crucial without which we will be low on resistance to infection and diseases and lowered immunity, which will also affect your energy and stamina. Sleep is a vital factor not just for your physical health but it also improves mental health and overall well-being and health experts insist that if you go through sleep related issues then it is suggested to practise Yoga on a regular basis.
Poor quality sleep or insomnia affects several aspects of your life like your appetite, reduces your productivity, decreases immunity, makes you more prone to disease, weight gain, cardiovascular issues and even failure of certain organ functions since many of our vital organs depend on the function of sleep for rest and rejuvenation. Fitness experts claim that Yoga is a very healing practise that will get rid of problems such as erratic sleep cycles, disturbed sleep and insomnia.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Himalayan Siddha Akshar, Founder of Akshar Yoga Research and Development Centre, asserted that Yoga provides us with many health benefits for the mind, body and soul. He suggested practising the following 5 gentle and easy Yoga poses before you sleep and hold these poses for 5-10 breaths or as long as you are comfortable to regulate your sleep and enhance sleep quality:
1. Pawanmuktasana – Wind-Relieving pose
Method: Lie on your back or in a supine position, with your arms beside your body. Inhale and as you exhale bring your knees toward your chest and press your thighs on your abdomen. Inhale and as you exhale, raise your head off the floor, letting your chin to touch your knees. Hold this pose as you take deep, long breaths in and out. Release the pose to return to the starting position, bringing your head down first and then your legs Repeat this for 2-3 rounds and then relax.
2. Manduka Asana – Frog pose
Method: Sit in Vajrasana, extend your arms in front of you. Fold your thumbs into your palms, wrap the remaining four fingers over it and ball your fist. Bend your arms at your elbows, place your balled fists over your navel. Bend your upper body and place it over your lower body. Stretch your neck and focus your gaze forward
3. Salabhasana – Locust Pose
Method: Lie down flat on your stomach with your palms placed under your thighs. Inhale completely (Purak), hold your breath (Kumbakh) and then lift your legs up together. Ensure that your knees remain straight and feet are together. Place your chin or forehead on the ground. Hold the posture for 10 seconds, slowly bringing your legs down and then exhale breath (Rechak) – This breathing technique is therapeutic.
4. Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
Method: Lie down flat on your stomach with palms placed under your shoulders. Keep your feet together, with toes on the ground. Inhale completely (Purak), hold your breath (Kumbakh) and then lift your head, shoulders and torso up at a 30 degree angle. Ensure that your navel remains on the floor, your shoulders are broad and head slightly raised upwards. Pressure on your toes– This activates the Sun (Right) and Moon (Left) channels which are connected to your lower back. Hold the posture for 10 seconds. Slowly bring your torso down and then exhale breath (Rechak) – This breathing technique is therapeutic
5. Dhanurasana – Bow Pose
Method: Begin by lying down on your stomach. Bend your knees and hold your ankles with your palms. Have a strong grip. Lift your legs and arms as high as you can. Look up and hold the posture for a while.
You can start doing these asanas before you sleep each night. Set aside 10- 15 minutes to create a tranquil and serene environment for better sleep. You can also incorporate pranayama exercises and meditation for a night of relaxing sleep. Meditation techniques such as Brahmari Dhyan, Aarambh Dhyan etc have numerous benefits while Brahmari pranayama and Anulom Vilom can also be done for most favourable rest.