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Nighttime yoga poses can help you feel calmer and more relaxed.
Yoga poses can provide a variety of physical and mental benefits. Some poses help you feel more energized or focused, while others can help you relax and unwind from the stresses of your day and help you ease into a more restful sleep. And if you have difficulty falling asleep on a regular basis, yoga exercises for nighttime may provide relief from these symptoms, says the Art of Living Foundation.
Practicing yoga deep breathing exercises can be a helpful way to focus your mind and body on your nighttime intention, such as relaxation or better sleep. You might also include a short meditation as a way for preparing for your nighttime practice, says "Women's Health" magazine. Sit in a cross-legged position on your bed or in another comfortable spot. Rest your hands on your knees and close your eyes. Just pay attention to your breath for a few moments. Focus your mind on your intention. Breathe from your belly and try to gradually slow down the length of each inhalation and exhalation until you feel calmer and more relaxed.
Legs Up the Wall Pose
Legs Up the Wall, or Viparita Karani, is a restorative yoga pose that helps calm the mind and can help alleviate feelings of fatigue in your legs and feet. You can practice this pose in your bed, if it's near a wall, or on a soft, padded surface, such as a yoga mat. Lie on your side with your buttocks close to the wall. Inhale and roll over onto your back as you simultaneously swing both legs up to rest on the wall. Keep your legs straight or, if you prefer, bend your knees. Extend your arms out straight by your sides. Some people find it helpful to use an eye bag to block out light, or to cover themselves with a soft blanket to keep warm, while practicing this pose. Stay in this pose for as long as you wish.
The Child's pose, also known as Balasana, is a restful, restorative yoga pose that can help you ease into sleep. To perform this pose, kneel on your bed or yoga mat with your heels together. Slowly lower your buttocks down to sit on your heels. Bend forward, resting your chest on your thighs and your forehead on your bed or mat. Stretch your arms straight out on the floor over your head. Stay in this pose for as long as you like, focusing on taking long, slow and deep breaths.
Forward-bending yoga poses are soothing and relaxing to the central nervous system because they promote the flow of energy to the spine while increasing blood flow to the heart, neck and head, says author Alice Lesch Kelly in an article for "Yoga Journal." To perform a simple seated forward bend that can help you relax and prepare for bedtime, sit on your bed with your legs stretched out straight and your feet together. Slowly round forward over your legs, allowing your upper body to relax. If it feels comfortable for you, grab hold of your toes to help gently increase the stretch. Stay here for several deep breaths.