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Top 3 Breathing Exercises For Better Sleep

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We all know the importance of sleep. Lack of sleep has implications for our mental health and immune system. Not enough sleep can make us feel grumpy, groggy and puts us at risk of developing a worryingly long list of diseases. Enough sleep makes us feel energetic, positive and alert.

General tips to improve sleep

It’s a good idea to go offline in the evenings. A couple of hours before you go to bed, turn off your wi-fi and electronic devices. If you still want to practise your yoga/meditation or Yoga Nidra with one of our amazing teachers, Whatever you decide to do, keep it calm, slow and mindful. Less is more when you approach bedtime. I like to move around a bit before going to bed, stretching out my body for 5 minutes or so, in combination with mindful breathing. This helps to release the big muscle groups and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body's rest and digest response. When in bed I’m either asleep before I know it, or I do a breathing exercise to help me fall asleep more quickly. 

My 3 favourite bedtime breathing exercises

1. Count your exhalations

Count your exhalations, from 5 down to 1 and start again when you reach 1. Allow the breath to flow evenly in and out and when your mind wanders (which it almost certainly will), guide your attention back to the count of your exhalation.

2. Lengthen you're exhale

Try to exhale slowly whilst relaxing all of the muscles in your body at the same time. This activates the rest and digests part of the nervous system. The exhale can be 1.5 or 2 times longer than the inhale. Make sure your breath still feels relatively comfortable otherwise you'll feel more stressed and agitated, rather than less so. 

3. Left nostril breathing

(To be done only when you can breathe easily and comfortably through your left nostril). The left side of our body represents the moon channel; the more cooling and introverted aspects of ourselves. The right side represents the sun channel with more heating and extroverted characteristics. In this technique, lie on your right side, and with your right thumb block your right nostril. As you breathe in and out of your left nostril, feel how you are cooling and calming your body. Do this for 3-5 minutes. Then return to your natural breath.

Alternative option

  • Alternate nostril breathing

Another option is to sit up on the side of the bed with your soles of the feet on the floor. Close the right nostril with your thumb and inhale through the left nostril, next close the left nostril with your ring and little finger and exhale out through the right nostril. Repeat, inhaling through the left nostril while closing the right and exhaling through the right nostril while closing the left. This technique is also helpful to get you back to sleep when you have woken up.

posted May 7, 2018 by M.s.prathiksha

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Yoga, meditation, wellness routines… All ideas we typically reserve for adults but, here at The Little Yoga House we're on a mission to change that mentality. Adults are not the only ones that benefit from a well-rounded wellness routine, our children need it too. Today we're focusing on 3 easy meditation techniques to practice with your kiddos.

3 Easy Ways To Meditate With Your Child

To start, what is meditation?

Meditation is a specific technique in finding stillness in the mind - a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state. It does not magically happen in just a few attempts. It takes years and years of practice to get your mind to be clear, relaxed and inwardly focused.

Meditation for children can look very different from adult meditation. Our approach to meditation for children helps prepare them to get to this level of awareness when they reach their teens and young adulthood. We teach stillness in the body first then stillness in the mind.

Meditation is practised through concentration games and guided imagery and can start as early as age 2 (toddlers). The use of props is very beneficial for ages 7 and under. At about age 7, they will start to understand the concept of stillness in the mind.

Here Are 3 Ways To Meditate With Your Child:

COUNTING MEDITATION (AGES 7 AND UP)

  1. Sit in a comfortable seat or lie on your backs

  2. Try to count to either 10 or 20 without letting a thought pop into your head

  3. If a thought comes in, you have to go back to 1

  4. Give your chid a few minutes and then ask if anyone made it to 20

FLOATING BUBBLE MEDITATION (AGES 2 AND UP)

  1. Have kids lie on their bellies with their hands under their chin

  2. Place the floating bubble timer in the centre of the circle or in front of them and flip it over

  3. Have kids focus on the bubbles as they fall to the bottom of the container

  4. CHALLENGE-Ask them to choose just one of the colours of the bubbles to focus on

  5. Remind them that this activity is done quietly and to be as still and focused as possible

  6. When the bubbles are all at the bottom of the container, ask what/if they thought about anything during this activity

POWER MINUTE (AGES 2 AND UP)

  1. Use a sand timer from a board game or purchase on at our North Austin Studio. You can find them from one minute up to an hour!

  2. Depending on the age group, you can start with a 1-minute timer and then have them build up to longer times.

  3. Place timer in the middle and have yogis find stillness in their voice, body, and mind until all the sand falls to the bottom.

We don't provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.
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