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Mastering Yoga Serenity: 4 Steps for a Peaceful Night’s Sleep

Experience the blissful benefits of yoga towards a journey to rejuvenate your mind and body! 

Have you ever found yourself tossing and turning, desperately seeking the elusive embrace of peaceful slumber? In this blog post, we will delve into the world where the ancient art of yoga meets the serenity of a good night’s sleep. 

So prepare to explore how these calming poses and mindful practices can pave the way to nights filled with restfulness and relaxation. So, roll out your mat and open your mind as we embark on a path toward harmonious rest.

Yoga Relaxation Benefits

Yoga has long been celebrated for its profound impact on reducing stress and promoting relaxation, both physically and mentally. According to reputable studies conducted by organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) [1] and the Mayo Clinic Health System [2], engaging in regular yoga practice has been shown to lower cortisol levels—the stress hormone—leading to a calmer state of mind and enhanced overall well-being.

Scientific research also underscores its role in improving sleep quality. A study published in the journal  Sleep Science and Practice [3] highlighted that individuals who practiced yoga experienced better sleep efficiency and reduced sleep disturbances. This connection is attributed to its ability to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, commonly referred to as the “rest and digest” mode, fostering a state of relaxation that can greatly contribute to improved sleep.

With reputable institutions and research supporting these claims, it’s evident that incorporating this practice into your routine can have substantial positive effects on reducing stress and enhancing sleep quality.

  1. Preparing Your Space for Yoga

Setting a Calming Atmosphere

Creating a serene environment may play an essential role in effective yoga practice before sleep. Dimming the lights, lighting a soothing candle, or playing calming music can help set the mood for relaxation [4].

Gathering Essential Props

Equip yourself with the necessary items to enhance your comfort during your session. Consider using blankets, pillows, and yoga blocks to support your body and deepen your stretches. Having these props readily available can make your practice more enjoyable and effective.

  1. Wind-Down Yoga Poses

As you prepare for a restful night’s sleep, incorporating gentle wind-down poses into your routine can help relax your body and mind. Here are a few poses to consider:

Wind-Down Yoga Poses

A – Child’s Pose (Balasana)

  • Begin by kneeling on the floor and gently lowering your hips towards your heels while extending your arms forward. 
  • Rest your forehead on the mat and take deep breaths, feeling the stretch along your spine. Child’s Pose promotes relaxation and soothes the nervous system [5]. 

B – Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

  • From a standing position, hinge at your hips and fold forward, allowing your head to hang loosely. 
  • Keep a slight bend in your knees if needed. This pose stretches the hamstrings, calms the mind, and releases tension in the back [6].

C – Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)

  • Sit on the floor and bring the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to drop towards the sides. 
  • Gently flap your legs like butterfly wings, feeling the hip and groin muscles release. This pose helps alleviate stress, improves gut health, and encourages flexibility [7].

D – Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

  • Sit with your legs extended in front of you. 
  • As you inhale, lengthen your spine, and as you exhale, hinge at your hips and reach towards your feet. This pose stretches the spine, hamstrings, and lower back, promoting a sense of calm [8].

Incorporate these wind-down poses into your evening routine to gently ease tension, promote relaxation, and prepare your body for a peaceful night’s sleep.

  1. Relaxation-Boosting Yoga Poses

These yoga poses are your ticket to relaxation, setting the stage for a peaceful night’s sleep. Here are three to consider:

Relaxation-Boosting Yoga Poses

A – Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-width apart.
  • Lift your hips off the floor.
  • Relax your arms by your sides with palms facing down.
  • Breathe deeply, allowing your chest to expand. This pose gently opens the chest and relaxes the spine [9].

B – Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

  • Position yourself near a wall and lie on your back.
  • Extend your legs up the wall, forming a 90-degree angle with your torso.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breath. This pose improves circulation, reduces swelling in the legs, and induces a deep sense of relaxation [10].

C – Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Allow your knees to fall outwards, bringing the soles of your feet together.
  • Place yoga blocks or pillows under your thighs for support.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breath, feeling the gentle stretch in the hips and groin. This pose relaxes your inner thighs, groins, and knees. It also soothes your digestive system and reproductive organs and helps relieve tension [11].
  1. Yoga Breathwork Techniques

Pranayama Breathing Techniques

Pranayama, the art of yogic breathing, is a foundational component of yoga practice. It offers a powerful pathway to relaxation and inner peace. In the context of preparing for restful sleep, pranayama plays a crucial role. Through controlled and conscious breathing, it quiets the fluctuations of the mind, reduces stress, and activates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system—the key to rest and rejuvenation [12].

Check this video for a beginner’s guide to daily pranayama practice.

Deep Belly Breathing and 4-7-8 Technique

  • Deep belly breathing can encourage relaxation by slowing your heart rate, calming your mind, decreasing oxygen needs, and strengthening your diaphragm, leading to faster and more restful sleep [13]. 
  • The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a simple and effective relaxation method that involves a specific breath cycle. To practice it, inhale quietly through your nose for a count of 4 seconds, then hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale audibly through your mouth for 8 seconds. This technique is renowned for its ability to calm the nervous system, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote a sense of relaxation. It’s often used as a quick and accessible tool for managing stress and preparing the mind and body for sleep or moments of heightened tension [14].

The key to a successful night’s sleep is consistency, making these practices an integral part of your nightly routine. 

Additionally, mental wind-down tips provide the finishing touch to prepare your mind for a peaceful slumber. Embrace these practices, and may you find the serenity and restfulness you seek, night after night. 

If you’re looking to enhance your sleep experience further, don’t forget to explore the best nutrition and wellness products for a good night’s sleep available in our store.

Sweet dreams!

Reference

[1] Thirthalli, J, et al. “Cortisol and Antidepressant Effects of Yoga.” Indian Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 55, no. 7, 2013, p. 405, https://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5545.116315.

[2] “Yoga Therapy: Relieve Pain, Manage Stress.” Mayo Clinic Health System, www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/yoga-therapy-relieve-pain-manage-stress.

[3] Datta, Karuna, et al. “Yoga Nidra: An Innovative Approach for Management of Chronic Insomnia- a Case Report.” Sleep Science and Practice, vol. 1, no. 1, 12 Apr. 2017, https://doi.org/10.1186/s41606-017-0009-4.

[4] Strategist, S. E. O. “The Art of Relaxation: Guide to Restorative Yoga.” Https://Astutecounseling.com/, 13 Apr. 2023, www.astutecounseling.com/the-art-of-relaxation-a-beginners-guide-to-restorative-yoga.

‌[5] Aayushi. “Want to Sleep like a Baby? Give These 5 Yoga Poses a Try.” Healthshots, 2 May 2022, www.healthshots.com/preventive-care/self-care/yoga-for-sleep-5-yoga-poses-for-sleep-and-relaxation/.

[6] “Standing Forward Fold.” Yoga Basics, 1 Jan. 1970, www.yogabasics.com/asana/standing-forward-fold/.

[7] “Bedtime Stretches to Promote Good Sleep – the Wellness Corner.” Www.thewellnesscorner.com, www.thewellnesscorner.com/blog/bedtime-stretches-and-breathing-for-sound-sleep.

‌[8] woadmin. “Yoga Poses to Do before Bed to Help You Sleep.” WARRIOR ONE YOGA, 8 Aug. 2017, www.warrioroneyoga.com.au/yoga-poses-to-do-before-bed-to-help-you-sleep/.

[9] “Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana).” Yoga Vastu, www.yogavastu.com/p/supported-setu-bandha-sarvangasana/.

‌[10] Health, Narayana. “Benefits of Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose.” Narayana Health Care, 23 Sept. 2022, www.narayanahealth.org/blog/benefits-of-legs-up-the-wall-pose/#:~:text=Relaxes%20the%20body.

[11] Vains, Trudy. “Reclining Butterfly – Yoga Pose of the Week.” The Carousel, 15 May 2021, www.thecarousel.com/world/reclining-butterfly-yoga-pose-of-the-week/.

[12] 8 Great Yoga Breathing Techniques for Sleep • Yoga Basics. 15 June 2021, www.yogabasics.com/practice/pranayama/yoga-breathing-techniques-for-sleep/.

‌[13] “The 8 Best Breathing Techniques for Sleep.” Healthline, 1 Nov. 2018, www.healthline.com/health/breathing-exercises-for-sleep#diaphragmatic.

[14] Gotter, Ana. “What Is the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 20 Apr. 2018, www.healthline.com/health/4-7-8-breathing.