International Yoga Day 2019: Yoga postures that enable a good night’s sleephttps://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/fitness/international-yoga-day-2019-yoga-postures-that-enable-a-good-nights-sleep-5788307/

International Yoga Day 2019: Yoga postures that enable a good night’s sleep

Take some time to introspect after your yoga session. Ask yourself if you can feel any shifts in energy as a result of the practice? Are there any sensations in your body that are different from how it felt when you started?

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Yoga asanas can help calm your mind and soothe your nerves for a good night’s sleep. (Photo: Pixabay)

Yoga is the art of balancing the physical, mental and spiritual realms. It is a wholesome science that caters to the creation of spiritual discipline, dispelling negativity, developing tolerance and cultivating intellect. When practiced daily, yoga enables mindfulness and seeks to endow individuals with a profound sense of bliss.

With the increase in lifestyle diseases and stress disorders, it becomes necessary to focus on simple yet necessary practices to help restore the balance between the physical, mental and spiritual aspects. The practice of yoga combined with quality sleep, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle could help renew one’s energy and bring an element of discipline into one’s life.

Yoga poses to be practiced before sleep:

Bhramari Pranayama

* Assume a comfortable sitting position. You could sit cross-legged on the floor with a cushion or blanket. Alternatively, you could sit toward the front of a chair, with your feet flat on the floor, as long as the spine is straight.

* Gently close your lips, to the point where the lips and teeth are slightly apart.

* Now close each ear with your thumbs.

* Breathe in through the nostrils.

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* Then exhale slowly, making a steady, low-pitched ‘hmmm’ sound at the back of your throat – like the humming of a bee. Focus on making the sound soft, smooth, and steady.

* Let the vibration resonate throughout your head, affecting the tissues of the brain.

* Keep the body completely still and bring your awareness to the third eye centre.

* Repeat this 10 times.

Effects
This asana helps to calm and quieten the mind and soothe the nerves. It primarily stimulates the pineal and pituitary glands and subsequently supports their proper functioning. It is also known to release cerebral tension and help reduce anger levels.

Supta Baddha Konasana

* Lie on a flat surface.

* Bring the soles of your feet to touch one another and let the knees fall apart. Make sure to pull the heel as close to the pelvis as possible.

* Take even, deep breaths. Close your eyes if need be.

Effects
This asana is known to relieve symptoms of menstruation, and menopause by stimulating abdominal organs like the ovaries and prostate gland, bladder, and kidneys. Through the movements involved, it also enables the stretching of the inner thighs, groin and knees. It relaxes the back, stimulates the heart, improves general circulation.

Balasana/Sharnagat Mudra

* Kneel on the floor. Touch your toes and sit on your heels, then separate your knees as wide as your hips.

* Exhale and position your torso between your thighs.

* Lengthen your tailbone, away from the pelvis, while you lift the base of your skull away from the back of your neck.

Effects
It helps in relieving back and neck pain when the head and torso are amply supported during this exercise. It relaxes the nervous system, calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue.

You can also practice these yoga poses after waking up:

Kapalbhati Pranayam

* Sit in vajrasana or sukhasana (crossed leg); with your spine straight.

* Close the right nostril and exhale forcefully through the left. Repeat on the other side.

* Then with both the nostrils open, exhale forcefully; while pulling in the stomach.

Effects
This position cleanses the lungs and is a good practice for people with respiratory disorders. It also stimulates the digestive organs, tones the abdomen, aids in digestion and the removal of acidity and gas related problems. Additionally, it activates the brain cells therefore improving memory and focus, energises the mind for mental work and balances and strengthens the nervous system. Lastly, it’s a great position to purify the nadis and remove sensory distractions.

Marjari Asana

* Get on your fours with shoulders over the wrists and hips over the knees. Make sure to distribute your weight evenly through the hands and legs. Start with a neutral spine.

* Inhale deeply, lifting your gaze toward the third eye. Point the tailbone up as you stretch like a cat.

* Then, exhale and pull the belly button towards the spine. While doing this, allow the chin to rest on the chest, and move your gaze towards your nose.

Effects
Stretching the hips, abdomen and back helps strengthen the spine and neck. It relieves backaches and gently massages the spine. It also calms the mind and helps de-stress.

Tadasana

* Stand on your feet.

* Interlock your fingers and raise your hands as high as possible.

* Slowly stand on tip-toe.

* Stretch the entire spine and feel the stretch in your calves.

* Remain in position for 15 seconds.

Effects
This position stretches the torso and the calves, elongating the spine in the process. When practiced daily, it helps improve posture and refreshes the body and mind.

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These yogasanas are key to relaxing one’s body, freeing one’s mind of stress and eventually bringing discipline into one’s life.

– With inputs from Total Yoga and Wakefit.co.