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Bedtime Yoga, Anyone….?

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In 2019, “Sleeping well” should be on everyone’s to-do list. As sleep deprivation is one of the biggest reasons for increased stress and anxiety. On the other hand, a regular yoga practice helps people in sleeping better. As the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated and there is a chemical-hormonal balance in the body.

Bad Time Yoga

First of all, we need to know that certain yoga practices energize the body. Thus, it may interfere with your sleep cycle. On the other hand, there are asana and pranayama practices that help in sleeping better.

Asana practices to sleep better

If you’ve had a tiring day and your muscles feel tight. You can practice basic asanas that will relax the body and the mind. Thus, improving sleep quality.

  1. Vipareet Karni (Legs up the wall)
  2. Supta Bhada konasana (Sleeping bound angle posture)
  3. Sharnagat Mudra (Child’s pose)
  4. Ananda Balasana (Happy baby pose)
  5. Jathara parivartanasana ( supine spinal twist)
  6. Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
  7. Marjaryasana (Cat-cow pose)

Pranayam practice

There are pranayama practices to calm the mind and relax the nervous system. In fact, doctors are suggesting these breathing exercises, to people suffering from insomnia.

  1. Ujjayi Breath: Deep breathing while using the larynx is effective in relaxing the body and the mind.
  2. Sahaj Pranayam: If Ujjayi breath does not come easily to you. Practice 21-mindful-breaths to slow down the nervous system.
  3. Anulom-Vilom Pranayam: to balance the energy in the body, to improve sleep quality.
  4. Tratak: Whenever my mind seems everywhere. I get off the bed, practice candle-light meditation. It always helps me to clear my mind and go back to sleep.

Besides, if your right-nostril breathing is dominating. You can shift the breathing practice to the left nostril, as it helps you sleep better.

Yoga practices to avoid 90 minutes before Bed

Power yoga, Vinyasa, Hot yoga and Surya Namaskar should be avoided. As it increases brain activity while energizing the body. Thus, it deters the sleep cycle.

Skip energising pranayama like Bhastrika, Kapalbhati, Brahmari before bedtime. And asanas that activate the sympathetic nervous system like hand stand and pinch mayurasana.

Finally, use restorative yoga asanas and breathing exercise in your Bedtime yoga practice. And if you want to sweat it out, keep a minimum of 2-hour window before your bedtime. Happy Yoga practice!

posted Feb 4 by M.s.prathiksha

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It doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that spending 8+ hours per day sitting at a desk can be bad for our health, which is why we have created for you these 10 desk yoga poses.

The strains of sitting in your office chair can lead to neck, shoulder and lower back pain through pressure on the lumbar spine, over-stretching of the mid and upper back, and shortening of the chest and hips. However, various yoga techniques can be used to help relieve these tensions and daily stresses that occur at our work stations. Here’s our top 10 desk yoga poses to help you feel more relaxed.

10 Desk Yoga Poses to try

1: Seated Crescent Moon

Begin by lifting your arms overhead, connect the palms and stretch your fingers wide. Gently lean to one side for 2-3 deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Crescent moon pose gives a deep stretch to your sides, lengthening your spine and allowing you to return to your work with better concentration.

2: Chair Pigeon

Whilst seated, place one leg over the other at a 90-degree angle, flexing the foot so as not to place pressure on the knee. Remain in an upright position, keeping an even distribution on both seat bones. When you feel a gentle to moderate stretch in the upper outer thigh, hold for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Seated pigeon pose helps us regain the balance we sometimes lose sitting in our desk chairs, whilst opening the hips and chest.

3: Sit and Stand Chair Pose

Begin in a seated position with your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle. Pressing down with your heels and using your legs and glutes only, make your way to standing. Sit back down slowly, again solely using your leg muscles without shifting the hips from side to side. This pose can help awaken the hamstring and glute muscles that become weakened over time from sitting in a desk chair.

4: Standing Seal Pose

Begin this pose in a standing position, stepping your legs 3-4 feet apart. Inhale the arms behind you, interlacing the fingers together. Squeeze the shoulder blades together and lift the gaze upwards before folding forward at the hips, bringing your arms in front of you. Keep the legs and arms straight, holding the pose for 4-8 breaths. To release the pose, squeeze the shoulder blades together as you inhale back to an upright position. Exhale to release the arms.

The standing seal pose stretches both the spine and legs, opening the shoulders. It also harmonises the connection between the heart and mind, improving mental function. This is our favourite of the 10 desk yoga poses.

5: Wrist and Finger Stretches

Begin by extending your arms overhead and drawing 5-10 circles inwards and outwards with the wrists. Follow this by quickly spreading the fingers and closing the fists, releasing excess tension. Finally, place your arms in front of you, with your palms facing upwards. Gently apply a downward pressure on each palm to stretch the wrist on each side. Switch the palms to face downward for a counter-stretch of the forearms. Hold each stretch for 5-10 breaths.

Working at a desk can build up tension in the fingers, hands and wrists, so these exercises should be done often throughout the day to increase the blood flow.

6: Desk Chaturanga

Begin in a standing position for this pose. Place your hands roughly shoulder-width apart on the edge of a sturdy desk, then walk the feet back until your chest is a diagonal line to the floor. Inhale as you lower into Chaturanga, hugging the elbows to the ribs as they reach the 90-degree angle. Exhale as you press back up to the starting position. Repeat 8-12 times to awaken your arm muscles, whilst helping the muscles around your neck relax.

7: Desk Upward Dog

Begin in the same position as with the desk Chaturanga pose. Keeping the arms straight, lean your hips towards the desk, opening the chest as you do so. Keep the legs engaged to prevent the lower back from sinking. Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths. To release, keep the core engaged and exhale as you fold at the hips, creating a 90-degree angle.

This pose helps open the chest and lengthen the spine, improving your posture.

8: Eagle Arms

Sit erect and place your arms at a 90-degree angle in front of you. Cross one arm over the other, interlocking them and placing your palms together. Lift your elbows and stretch your fingers upwards. Stay in this pose for 3-5 breaths before switching sides. You can add to the pose by crossing the legs and interlocking one foot behind the other.

Eagle pose is a good preventative for carpal tunnel syndrome. It also strengthens the triceps, back and shoulder muscles.

9: Seated Twist

Whilst seated, place your hands on the arms of the back of your chair, gently twisting your chest and abdomen to one side. Hold for 4-5 breaths, before repeating on the other side.

Twists and great for detoxifying, lengthening the spine and massaging your abdominals and obliques.

10: Restorative Pose

With the daily stresses that life offers, it’s important to restore your mind and ground yourself. Place your feet flat on the floor and cross your arms onto your desk. Lay your forehead head onto your arms and breathe deeply for up to 5 minutes. Allowing yourself to unwind means you can continue your workday with newfound energy.

We hope you can now return to work feeling energised and restored after trying these 10 desk yoga poses. If you are still feeling stressed after trying these poses, maybe it is something else.

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Taking time to stretch and centre yourself as a mother is important to try to fit into your hectic schedule. Yoga has been proven to improve both physical and mental health, which, as we all know are so important in this stressful time of life! Are you struggling to try to find time to fit your practice into your routine? Here are a few poses that can be done in hardly any time, anywhere and they offer some amazing benefits:

1. FORWARD FOLD

Inversions, such as forward folds, are thought to provide the following benefits:

  • Improved circulation
  • Increased immunity
  • Increased energy
  • Increased relaxation
  • Better balance

Forward folds also strengthen and stretch the muscles in the legs, hips, and spine. To protect the lower back, keep your knees slightly bent when doing the pose. It can feel nice to fold halfway over while holding onto a countertop, the back of the couch, or your stroller or grocery cart handles. Focus on keeping the spine straight, rather than rolling your shoulders forward into a “hunch” while bending. To do this, think about pushing your chest towards your thighs if folding fully, or towards the floor, if folding halfway.

2. TREE

Balancing postures, such as tree pose, are great for increasing focus and helping us connect to our breath. If you are feeling off-kilter, use tree pose to centre yourself and drop back into your body.

Yogi Elizabeth Wellington recommends the following approach to tree pose:

"Start with your feet hip-width apart. Take a few deep breaths, and lift your left foot. Rest the bottom of your left foot along your shin, and if you’re comfortable, bring it up to rest on your thigh. Breathe with your eyes fixed on a focal point ahead of you. Switch sides to reap the benefits of this balancing pose."

3. CAT COW

Cat-Cow can be performed on the floor, on all fours, or seated in a chair or on a stability ball. It is a simple sequence where you round your back and press the space between your shoulder blades up if you’re on all fours, or into the back of the chair if you’re seated. Exhale as you round, like a cat. Then, inhaling through the nose, raise your forehead and arch your back, like a cow. Keep your core engaged by tucking your tailbone forward a tiny bit. Flowing with your breath, repeat the sequence several times.

This is a great pose to relieve feelings of anxiety or fear. It is easily performed in a variety of settings, from your desk chair, to the bathroom stall, on your bed, or the floor of your living room. If you are practising yoga in the midst of children, this is a really fun way to engage your kids in the practice. Invite them to moo like a cow and meow like a cat as you move through the sequence!

4. STANDING FIGURE FOUR

This is an easy stretch to perform just about anywhere. I’ve been known to drop into a standing figure four stretch while waiting in checkout lines while standing and talking to a friend at the park while cooking, and just about everywhere else.

To get into this pose, sit back as though you’re dropping into a chair, with knees bent and core strength. Shift your weight into the heels. Then, lift one foot and cross it over the opposite leg, so your ankle is sitting on your thigh. You may have to come up out of your “chair” slightly or depending on your flexibility, you might be able to sit deeper into your chair once you've balanced in your figure four stance.

This posture stretches the legs, hips, calves, and piriformis muscles. Keep your core strong and engaged to avoid angering your lower back muscles. Avoid placing the ankle directly on the knee. If you’ve got a history of knee problems, it might feel better to practice this pose lying down on your back.

5. TOE SQUAT

This simple pose comes from the Yin Yoga practice and helps to open the body’s lower meridians. The six meridians that begin and end in the lower body are the Liver, Gall Bladder, Kidney, Urinary Bladder, Spleen, and Stomach. By simply kneeling, tucking your toes under, and sitting back towards your heels, you can gently release these lower meridians through a toe squat.

Those new to the toe squat may find that sitting back is too uncomfortable at first. Only go back as far as you can without experiencing discomfort, and lean forward resting your hands on a block if need be. It is handy to have something to distract you while in toe squat, because focusing intently on the sensation can intensify discomfort. It’s a great time to get down to your child’s level and engage with them!

Place a blanket under your feet, or perform this pose on a rug or soft surface to minimize pain. You can hold this pose up to two-three minutes, but feel free to take a break, roll your ankles, and drop back in. Enjoy the release of your feet and toes!

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