By Sangeetha Saran
Some yoga teacher training intensives fail to provide you with handouts for your students. Lack of sleep is something that most of us have experienced now and then. The difference between sleep and insomnia could be a matter of a gentle yoga practice. Whether you are a yoga instructor or a student, below this paragraph is a handout for a yoga practice before bedtime.
You may have already found that when you take time to unwind a little before bedtime you fall asleep faster and sleep better throughout the night. Yoga before bedtime gives your body and mind the transition time to release the day and prepare for sleep. While some yoga poses can be invigorating, many poses, breathing techniques and meditations are perfect for bedtime.
Begin in a seated position, with both legs stretched out in front of you and your toes flexed. If it’s more comfortable, you can bend one knee by pulling the foot into the pelvic area. Take a deep inhale and exhale as you bend forward from the hips. Keep your spine long as you reach toward your toes. When you’ve gone as far forward as possible, relax your head and neck as you fold into the stretch and breathe for a few minutes. Repeat on the other side if you bent your knee to begin. Adapt this pose by placing a folded blanket or cushion under your bottom.
Sit tall with the soles of your feet pressed together. Place your hands on your feet or ankles, pulling the feet as close to the body as possible and pressing the knees down toward the floor. Keep the spine tall. Optionally, you may fold the upper body forward, relaxing the head and neck and keeping the spine straight. Hold the pose for several breaths.
Lie on your back, pulling the knees into the chest. Let both knees drop to the right side of the body, twisting from the waist. Extend the left arm straight out from the shoulder and place the right hand on top of the left knee, applying a little pressure to the legs. Keep your head straight or let it fall to the left. Repeat on the other side.
End your stretching session with some nice, deep breathing to take you to dreamland. You might even consider trying this part in bed. Lie flat on your back and consciously relax every muscle in your body from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. Don’t forget your face muscles and the jaw. Picture each muscle becoming soft and relaxed. Breathe deeply through your nose, filling up the entire abdomen and chest cavity. Slowly exhale. Let your thoughts wander and don’t stop to focus on any one thought or worry. Continue breathing in and out through the nose for about five minutes.
Some students have no idea that a gentle yoga training session before bedtime can help anyone get a good night’s sleep. A mild practice and a cup of chamomile tea will help you to enjoy sweet dreams.
© Copyright 2009 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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