Do you dream of waking up feeling rested and rejuvenated? A lack of sleep can lead to many long-term health issues such as reduced immunity and a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease. A good night’s sleep allows the cells in your body to repair and rejuvenate themselves and your brain an opportunity to rest and develop new neural pathways. Improving the quality of your sleep could be as simple as a ten-minute yoga practice before bed- or even simply hitting play on your phone or laptop as you drift off to sleep listening to a guided meditation. Yin yoga, Yoga Nidra, and forward folds all have the power to help calm the nervous system and create a sense of deep calm and relaxation in the body. These practices are all powerful tools to help you get better quality sleep and establish a more rejuvenated and uplifted state of being in your waking hours. You will be more alert, have increased concentration, enjoy more energy, and feel refreshed.
Forward folds are incredibly beneficial to practice before bed. Physically, forward folds stretch the muscles of the upper posterior chain. Asanas (poses) such as Butterfly pose, Dragonfly pose, Child’s Pose or Dangling (standing forward fold), are great for stretching the muscles of the back body. When practiced as part of a yin yoga sequence, the benefits extend to the fascia as well, that is the connective tissues along the back are nourished and released reducing any built-up stress and tension. Energetically, forward folds cultivate Apana Vayu or descending energy that is calming and grounding in nature. If you choose to attend a yin yoga certification you will learn more about different yoga poses that cultivate this calm, centered state of being. When it comes to your nervous system, forward folds activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the branch of the nervous system responsible for rest and relaxation. All of these effects make forward folds a great option to practice before bed to create a relaxed state for the body and mind to drift off into a deep slumber.
When your intention is to cultivate a particular state of being, it is important to take into consideration not just the type of yoga, but also the particular asanas you are practicing. Yin yoga is great for sleep and calming the nervous system, but note that not all yin yoga is a great idea to do before bed either, as deep hip openers and backbends can be stimulating and uplifting in nature and have the opposite effect- and can actually keep you awake! It is important to take into account which Meridians, or energetic pathways, are being stimulated in each yin yoga pose.
By attending a yin yoga teacher training in Bali, you can learn more about the specific energetic impact of each yin pose. When stimulated, some Meridians will establish a sense of restful calm in the body and mind, but when other Meridians are stimulated, they will create more stimulating energy in the body and mind. Poses that stimulate the Meridians that are uplifting in nature should be avoided before bed. You will likely find if you choose to attend a yin yoga certification in Bali you will experience some of the best sleep of your life due to practicing yin yoga consistently!
Yoga Nidra is the practice of yogic sleep. It is presented in the form of a guided meditation and is practiced with the eyes closed either lying down or seated. Yoga Nidra is an incredible way to optimize rest- practicing 30-minute Yoga Nidra is known to be the equivalent rest of multiple hours of sleep. Yogic philosophy doesn’t actually regard normal sleep as restful, as you can be troubled by dreams and restlessness. The technique of Yoga Nidra allows the brain to go into a deeper more restful state than it does when we sleep normally. It has a very specific sequence and method of delivery that will encourage the practitioner into a deeply relaxed and restful state. Inner Yoga Training’s yin yoga teacher training in Bali will teach you about the healing potential of Yoga Nidra as well as how to teach it. You can practice Yoga Nidra as you get into bed for the evening as a way to supercharge that first bit of time in bed. While ideally, you stay somewhat alert when practicing Yoga Nidra, you will still receive the benefits of Yoga Nidra if you fall asleep during the practice.
We wish you restful sleep. Sweet dreams.