Yoga encourages better sleep

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Yoga is more than a workout. From daily sun salutations to hot yoga, there are numerous practices available to assist any athlete in obtaining new balanced strength and serenity. Yoga’s accessibility makes it a great way for everyone, from endurance athletes to weekend warriors, to take the time they need to wind down. To improve your sleep, you will want to perform the following poses before you go to bed. Feel free to execute them as a unit, or individually. It’s also wise to give your body a massage before practicing these poses. Stretch and massage go hand in hand, alleviating the body of stress and toxins. Breathe deeply, think fully and enjoy.

Reclined-twist

This position is helpful in de-stressing the body. It is often a pose used in the relaxation phase of a yoga session, and it can be used by anyone before going to bed. To perform, lie on the floor with your back to the ground. Lift your legs so that your feet rest their soles firmly on the ground. Raise your hands to point at the ceiling and let them fall to their prospective sides of your body. Next, keeping your knees together, let your legs fall to the side of your body. Let them fall until they are resting on the ground, your lower back should twist, and your shoulders should remain rooted to the floor. Hold this position for a count of 10, return to neutral and rotate to the opposite side. Repeat three times.

Knee hug

This is a simple pose that relaxes your lower back, preparing your body for sleep. Lie down on the floor or even on your bed and bring both knees to your chest, clasping them with your hands or forearms. Hold this position and rock gently from side to side. Release after a count of ten and perform this move again. Be sure to not let your lower back round too much when holding your knees to your chest, but keep it firmly supported with your pelvic muscles.

Bend knee lying-down twist

Much like the reclined twist, this position requires you to lie on a yoga mat or the floor. Take one leg to your chest, and using the opposite arm, pull the knee across your body until you feel the stretch. Reach your other arm out to the side, following it with your head to increase the stretch and assist in balance. If this stretch feels at all difficult, let your knee lift towards your chest once more. Be sure to breath through the stretch for at least a 10 count before switching sides.

Happy baby

This yoga pose often sends smirks throughout a class. To perform, begin in a reclined neutral position. Bring both legs to your chest so that you can grab your feet with your hands. Keep your arms extended, holding your feet above your shoulders. If you want you can rock slightly from side to side, but continue your deep breathing. Feel the stretch in your hip flexors, allowing it to ease each time you breathe out.

Reclined mountain

One of the most relaxing yoga poses nearly simulates sleep. It requires that you lie down on the floor, arms and legs extended, with your palms facing up. In this position you want to focus mostly on your breathing, noticing how each exhalation brings you closer to peace. Meditate in this position, freeing your mind of any stress or desires. It is best to perform this in bed at night, because it is not uncommon to cause people to fall asleep.

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