Benefits of Yoga Before Bedtime
Yoga is the process of creating strength, awareness and harmony in your mind and body. There are over 100 different types of yoga, which include breathing exercises, postures, and meditation that work on stretching and flexing different muscle groups. Yoga is extremely beneficial to the mind and the body and it can do some wondrous things when it comes to bedtime. It can help fight insomnia, calm down your mind, and it can put yourself in a good position for a restful sleep.
History Of Yoga
Before I get into all of the wonderful benefits of yoga before bedtime, I want to tell you a little bit about the history of yoga. Where did it come from? Who created it? Stuff like that. Yoga can be traced back to over 5,000 year ago, but it’s been thought that it could be up to 10,000 years old. This practice can be divided into four periods of practice, innovation, and development.
Yoga all started by the Indus Sarasvati civilization over 5,000 years ago. It was first mentioned in the oldest sacred texts of the Rig Veda. This was a collection of texts that contained mantras, songs and rituals that were to be used by the Brahmans. Yoga was then refined slowly by the Rishis and Brahmans.
Before this period, yoga was simply a mix up of various ideas, techniques, and beliefs. The Classical period gave us the first systematic presentation of yoga. During this period, a text was written that describes the path of Taja Yoga or “classical yoga”.
Post Classical Yoga
A few centuries after classical yoga, yoga masters created practices that were designed to rejuvenate the body and extend life. They would reject teachings of the ancient Vedas and use those of the physical body to achieve enlightenment-this is when Tantra Yoga was developed. It helps cleanse the body and mind and break the knots that tie us to our physical existence.
During this time in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, masters of yoga began traveling to the West, attracting followers. This is when Hatha Yoga was promoted strongly in India. The first Hatha Yoga school was opened in Mysore in 1924 yoga has been increasing in popularity ever since.
Health Benefits Of Yoga Before Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t as easy as going out and buying a fancy hybrid mattress that can relieve muscle pain. One way that a lot more people are sleeping better is by practicing yoga before bedtime-this is called Yogic Sleep. It is very similar to meditation, but there some slight differences that you’ll notice. In general, yoga has a lot of physical benefits which include:
- Increased muscle tone and strength
- Balanced metabolism
- Improved cardio and circulatory health
- Injury protection
- Improved athletic performance
- Improved respiration
- Improved energy
- Improved vitality
- Weight reduction
- Stress reduction
- Sleep inducing
- Relaxes the mind
If you happen to be suffering from achy muscles or joint pain, yoga can help work them out and help you sleep better in turn. I can tell you that I find myself more relaxed after a bedtime yoga session. It helps loosen up tight muscles that I have after a long day. After just 30 minutes of yoga, you will have spent 30 minutes away from your electronic devices, which can disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling more awake than tired.
Yoga requires an extremely relaxing environment to practice in. So if you have a bunch of kids or animals running around, it’s probably not the best place to try and relax. You want to be in a place where you can light candles, dim the lights, breathe in some essential oils, and just drift away from all of the stress before bed. Going to bed with 1,000 things in your mind can leave you sleepless and extremely stressed out.
Insomnia is the inability to sleep or stay asleep. It is estimated that roughly 30 percent of the general population complains of sleep issues. Yoga offers a wonderful natural remedy for this issue. Studies have shown that doing yoga before bedtime has improved insomnia without the use of medications. It is said that the combination of pranayama and asana relaxes the body and mind, allowing for a more restorative and deep sleep.
Activity that’s physical helps to boosts metabolism and it burns energy. Activities such as walking and yoga have significant benefits on your metabolism. If you do your yoga exercises at night before bed, the benefits of this boost can last hours after your workout. This is ideal for the body when it is sleeping for 6-10 hours and not being active. Although, in order to receive the full benefits, it’s best to workout at least 2-3 hours before falling asleep.
Exercising can tire us out much quicker, but if you do it right before trying to fall asleep, it will only make your insomnia worse because of the cortisol in your body. This is why Yoga is more preferred right before bed, or at least 2-3 hours before. Doing this will help burn off that excess energy from the day and make you feel more tired, helping you fall asleep quicker.
The Best Bedtime Yoga Pose
One of the best bedtime yoga poses you can do to help relax is called The Child Pose. It isn’t difficult, so even a beginner can do it. First, you get into a kneeling position on your mat or wherever you’re most comfortable. Then, stretch your arms forward and keep your tailbone pushed back against the back of your heels. Next, stretch yourself until you feel comfortable and then rest your arms in a relaxing position. Your stomach should sit atop your thighs. Lastly, sit in this position for as long as you can, inhaling and exhaling deeply.
Yoga definitely has a lot of benefits when it comes to bedtime. It can help boost your metabolism, reduce stress, treat insomnia, and it can help you relieve some of those tense muscles. Not only that, but it’s also very beneficial in general. You can do it any time during the day to relieve stress. There are tons of different poses you can do that vary in intensity. I suggest starting out easy if you are a beginner and working your way up to the harder poses. Remember, just because they are easy to do, doesn’t mean they aren’t beneficial.
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).