Bedtime Yoga for Relaxation and Better Sleep

December 16, 2014 by  
Filed under General Advice, Tips for Ayurveda

As you get closer to bedtime, you find yourself immersed in several thoughts and worries of the day. Your mind is not in a position to relax and sleep. You will toss and turn on the bed for a long time and you start getting irritated. You will fall asleep much late in the night after lying in bed for a long time. If you are going thru’ all these conditions then it is time to try a new sleep routine.

Bedtime-Yoga-for-Better-SleepThere are a number of activities you can do to fall asleep faster and sleep better. A restorative yoga routine practiced before bedtime will be ideal for both body and mind requirements. If the trouble to sleep is due to stress, yoga can help you achieve relaxation and better sleep.

Yoga involves physical exercises known an ‘Asanas’ and breathing exercises known as ‘Pranayama’. The yoga ‘Asanas’, through various poses and extended stretches, build your stamina and improve your posture. ‘Pranayama’, on the other hand, improves the functioning of your respiratory system.

The most important guideline while practicing yoga is to make sure you are doing the breathing and physical exercises correctly, otherwise it will not help your body and mind. It is a good idea to warm up the body before performing Yoga like any other form of exercise.

Warming up the body maximizes blood flow to the muscles and makes the tendons more flexible and strong. The gentle warm-up exercises loosen your ligaments, which helps with performing the yoga postures and also reduces the chances of injury.

There is no single pose or yoga asana that can send you off to sleep, practice a series of yoga sleep positions that can help release any tension that may be preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep experts also stress upon the importance of a routine before bedtime.

Also read: Simple steps of Ayurveda for Good Health

Eight most relaxing Yoga asanas /poses

Go through the eight most relaxing yoga asanas for better sleep. Do each of the yoga pose and hold for a minute, this bedtime ritual will prepare your body and mind for a relaxing night ahead. Use a yoga mat or a flat surface.

1.Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana) – This pose is excellent for acidity or indigestion. If stomach problems are keeping you up at night, Vajrasana can help reduce the symptoms.


2.Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)  – This pose involves an inversion and it helps calm the body as well as stretch the muscles in the shoulders, calves, and hamstrings.


3.Child’s Pose (Balasana) – The Child’s Pose is a classic yoga pose to stretch the hips, thighs, and ankles. Any residual back pain or muscle fatigue felt at the end of the day also lessens with this pose.


4.Goddess Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana) – This pose opens up the groin area and reduces stress stored in the leg muscles


5.Legs up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani) – The benefits of this pose include improved blood circulation and reduced pain in the lower back and hamstrings.


6.Crocodile Pose (Makarasana) – This relaxing asana calms the nerves and massages the heart. As your pulse rate slows down, sleep soon sets in.


7.Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana) – Best for easing tension in the spine and hamstrings.


8.Corpse Pose (Savasana) – Most yoga classes end with this pose. It’s the perfect way to relax every muscle in your body and become aware of the rhythms of your breath before you fall off to sleep. Deep breathing also prevents your mind from wandering and stops the unceasing chatter in your head.


Apart from yoga exercises you could also listen to good and soothing music or chant some prayers in your mind. Follow meditation to prevent disturbed sleep patterns. Consult a yoga teacher for practicing each of the pose correctly.

Also read: Simple ways to include Ayurveda in Everyday life

In addition to yoga you can have a bath and then go to bed. The following sleep tips should help you maximize the quality of your sleep and regularize your bedtime habits.

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule – it is important that you follow a regular pattern of sleep daily.
  • Avoid sleeping for long during the day ,it can also interfere with your natural sleep cycle, therefore reduce your day time sleeping hours.
  • Keep your bed exclusively for sleep. If you work at your bed, it will be more difficult to wind down for the night.
  • Eat right and get plenty of regular exercise. Avoid having a big meal before you sleep as this can cause problems such as acidity or indigestion that can keep you up at night.
  • Stay away from alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants before bed.
  • Do not drink too much water before you go to sleep.
  • Practice visualization and deep relaxation techniques to help you fall asleep.

Also read: Put an end to Snoring with Natural Home Remedies

You need to remember that what works for someone else may not work for you. Keep experimenting various patterns for a day or two until you hit upon the perfect combination that is most beneficial to you.

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Follow the Process of Meditation in 5 Simple steps

December 8, 2014 by  
Filed under General Advice, Tips for Ayurveda

process-of-meditationMeditation reduces stress better than any other form of exercise. By practicing meditation your body gets some time to rest physically and mentally, it also has a very direct effect on your entire nervous system by reducing your body’s production of stress related chemicals like cortisol, and increasing the production of mood enhancing chemicals like serotonin.

Meditation will improve your health by strengthening your immune system, reducing your blood pressure and lowering cholesterol levels. Therefore it is advised to practice meditation on a daily basis. The simple form of meditation is Still Meditation or Mindfulness Meditation, and can be done at any place whether you are at home or while you are traveling.

The ideal time for meditation is early in the morning when there is peace and freshness in the air. The family members are asleep and therefore you can allocate time without any interruptions.

  1. Choose your meditation spot

Choose a private place free from external disturbances. You should feel safe, at peace and comfortable in it. If you have a bedroom to yourself, it is probably the most appropriate inside your bedroom. After you pick the spot, clean the space around it. Remove any pieces of clutter lying around.

You can opt for your bed or a mat spread on the floor. You can also use a table as a meditative altar with crystals, rocks, flowers and candles.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position

process-of-meditationDifferent positions are recommended for doing meditation eg: lotus position. But you can quickly get into the habit of meditation by sitting in a cross-legged position on the bed or on the floor. This is easy and comfortable. Some people do feel the numbness in their feet when sitting cross legged. In that case you can sit directly on the chair. Whatever posture you choose, you should sit upright to facilitate the flow of energy.

  1. Clear your mind

Free your mind, clear of all thoughts. Loosen yourself up. Take a few deep, slow breaths.

  1. Sit back and observe

Now it is time to close your eyes, simply sit back and observe the inner dialogue playing in your mind. Let them float by. Just observe, don’t engage.

Many people probably think that in meditation, they have to force themselves not to think and block out all their mental thoughts. It is really quite the opposite. You let your mind continue to think, but you don’t engage. You take the role of a passive observer and watch them from the back of your head.

Say for example, if you have a sudden thought that says ‘I need to pay the bills tomorrow’, observing it means knowing that particular thought is there. If you proceed to react from the thought, such as feeling annoyed that you have to pay the bills, or thinking about the budget and monetary arrangements, you are engaging with the thought. Don’t do that. Your desired state in meditation is to observe these thoughts, not engage with them.

One way of detecting when your focus breaks is to count slowly from 1, 2, all the way to 10. Repeat when you reach 10. Each time your focus is deviated, take note of the last number you were reading – this is an indicator of how long you held you focus. Try again, restarting from 1, and try to go beyond the last number this time.

The presence of these thoughts during meditation means they are being cleared. These thoughts have always been present in your mind, you are just not aware since there are so many thoughts screaming for attention inside your head! And now through meditation, they are clearing out, one by one. After repeated meditations, you will gradually reach a new level of mental Zen-like quietness. If you think your mind seems quiet now, try meditating a few days in a row – you’ll notice a new found mental peace.

Meditate for as long as you want, till you feel cleansed, purified, refreshed and good to go. For a start 20 minutes would be ideal. If you want to meditate longer, that’s even better.process-of-meditation

  1. Ending Your Meditation

When you are done with your meditation, slowly ease into the physical state. Start off by being present of the physical reality around you. Next, be aware of your physical body. This can take 15~30 seconds, or however long you need to do this step. Then, very slowly, open your eyes. Get attuned to your surroundings. If you open your eyes immediately and try to resume your physical activities, it might be disjointing and jarring.

Instead of resuming your physical activities immediately, you might want to continue sitting in the meditative spot and reflect upon some of the thoughts, or images that came up during your meditation. You may also want to just spend a few minutes expressing gratitude towards the things you enjoy in your life.

Watch outs while doing Meditation

Do not fall asleep during the process of meditation. Staying awake is one of the largest difficulties for individuals who are new to meditation since there is no active stimulus to keep you engaged.

Preferably meditate after a good rest. Your meditations will be more focused at an alert state. Once you successfully let the thoughts be cleared, you will emerge from the meditation more energetic instead – since your clutter is removed and your mind is now fresh.

Do not engage with negative feelings and thoughts. Recognize these feelings and thoughts, do not engage with them and continue to maintain in your meditative stance. Once you get past the point with the most resistance, you will ease into the meditative state very naturally.

The benefits of meditation include:

Stress Reduction, Improved Health, Improved Sleep, Slowed Aging, Emotional Stability & Positive Thinking, Happiness!

People who meditate are less stressed, healthier, they sleep better, and they have a more positive outlook on life. To summarize, meditation makes you a happier person!

Meditation is not just for relaxation. Its primary purpose is to develop the capacity to develop skillfully and gracefully to life’s difficulties and joys.

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