6 Yoga Exercises to Achieve Better Rest

16 October, 2020
The relaxation and meditation exercises in yoga activate the parasympathetic system and release serotonin, melatonin and alpha brain waves, favoring a deep and comforting rest.

Anyone who has had a long and stressful day will know that it’s not easy to relax at night. Luckily, yoga is an excellent activity that can calm your mind and can also help you get a good night’s sleep. That’s why we want to teach you the best yoga exercises to achieve better rest!

What is yoga?

 

Yoga seeks the harmonious connection between body, mind and soul and ourselves.

Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice with millions of followers worldwide. There are many studies that have demonstrated the benefits of this activity for people’s general well-being and even the United Nations recommends doing yoga as it fosters good health.

Although it first started in India thousands of years ago, today it’s practiced in diverse ways all around the world. “Yoga”, which in Sanskrit means “union,” symbolizes the connection between body, mind, and soul. This discipline seeks holistic benefit through meditation, concentration and postures.

Yoga exercises to achieve better rest

The relaxation and meditation exercises in yoga activate the parasympathetic system and release serotonin, melatonin and alpha brain waves, favoring a deep and comforting rest.

Also read: Yoga for Back Pain

1. Chandra Bhedana (Moon-piercing breath)

A woman doing yoga

The air that goes through the nostrils is linked to a different type of energy.

The left nostril is associated with our body’s cooling energy, while the right nostril is associated with our body’s heating energy.

Breathing through the left nostril helps de-stress the mind. Traditionally, people believe that breathing massages the sleep related organs as they send relaxation messages to the mind, which helps you fall asleep easier.

  • You must be seated in a comfortable position.
  • Then, make the deer seal with your right hand, press the right hole with your thumb and breathe in through the left hole.
  • Stop pressing the right nostril with your thumb, and with your ring finger press the left nostril, and breathe out through the right nostril.
  • You can repeat this breathing exercise for 1-3 minutes.

2. Padangusthasana (Big toe pose)

According to yoga beliefs, this posture stimulates the liver and kidneys which activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is responsible for releasing tension and putting the body to sleep.

  • First you must stand with your feet separated at hip level.
  • Slowly and without losing control, lean your upper body forward.
  • Grasp the big toes of each foot firmly with the index, middle and thumb of each hand.
  • With your elbows bent, pull the upper body down, lowering the head and relaxing the head and neck.
  • Finally, breathe deeply and continuously for 1-3 minutes.

3. Agnistambhasana (Fire log pose)

Woman doing yoga to achieve better rest

As we loosen the hips, the body will respond by releasing tension from other muscles and organs and preparing the body to rest. How can this be achieved?

  • Extend the left leg forward and bend it 90º at the knee.
  • Bend your right foot and place it over your left knee, so that your right leg rests over your left one.
  • If this posture causes pain in the hip joint, bring your left foot nearer to the pelvis.
  • Carry your hands forward while you exhale by increasing the stretch.
  • Hold the posture for about 1 minute and alternate legs.

4. Uttana Shishosana (Puppy pose)

To counteract the effects of long hours spent behind a desk, this passive back stretch is ideal as it’s performed to improve blood circulation, as well as relieve tension and open up the shoulders.

According to tradition, the gentle massage that is received when the forehead touches the floor also stimulates the pituitary gland, which controls melatonin and the body’s sleep cycle.

  • Start face down on hands and knees (knees separated just below the hip).
  • Keeping your hips on your knees, bring your hands forward.
  • Then keep your elbows raised (not touching the ground) while resting your chest and face on the floor.
  • Massage the forehead from left to right to relieve facial tension.
  • Hold the posture for one minute approximately, and let go by bringing the hip backward.

5. Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall pose)

Woman doing yoga

This posture is ideal to strengthen leg circulation and to drain them.

This completely passive posture lets us concentrate on the conscious relaxation of the stretch, preparing the mind for sleep. In addition, it has the added benefit of improving blood circulation in the legs and refreshing the circulatory system.

  • Place a block or reinforcement 10 centimeters (4 inches) from the wall.
  • Place the sacrum on top of the brace so that the bones of the buttocks occupy the space between the brace and the wall.
  • Bring your arms straight to your side with your palms facing the sky.
  • Maintain this posture for 5-15 minutes.

Also read: Try These 5 Yoga Poses to Work your Abs

6. Visualization

Throughout the whole day we have to be aware of our environment, this means our forehead chakra is completely active. At night, the energy decreases and the attention goes down to the neck area. If you imagine a golden sphere at the level of the throat, you will sense a harmonious feeling of peace and tranquility.

  • You must be seated in a comfortable position.
  • Put your palms together at the level of your chest.
  • Concentrate and let yourself relax.

We hope that these yoga exercises help you achieve a better rest. However, remember that there are many more positions that can help you relax and improve your rest. Ideally, you should try them all and observe how the body and mind react in order to establish personal routines that help you achieve a peaceful sleep every night.

  • López González, Vivian, & Díaz-Páez Waterland, Alejandro. (1998). Efectos del Hatha-Yoga sobre la salud: Parte I. Revista Cubana de Medicina General Integral, 14(4), 393-397.
  • Wood C. Mood change and perceptions of vitality: a comparison of the effects of relaxation, visualization and yoga. J Royal Soc Med 1993;86(5):254-8.
  • Sing RH. Evaluation of some Indian traditional methods of promotion of mental health. Acti Nerv Sup 1999;28(1):67-9.
  • Ross, A., & Thomas, S. (2010). The health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of comparison studies. The journal of alternative and complementary medicine, 16(1), 3-12.