A good night’s sleep is crucial for your health, productivity, and overall well-being. Did you know that bedtime yoga can help you get a great night’s sleep and boost your overall health? It’s true! Practicing it before bed is also an effective way to let go of the stress and worry from a long, busy day and leave you feeling refreshed and energized when you wake up. If you needing to relax, decompress and prepare the mind and body for sleep at the end of your day, keep reading to discover how beginners can start a bedtime yoga routine.
What is bedtime yoga?
Bedtime yoga is a sequence of stretches and calming poses you do in the evening to help you relax and fall asleep more easily. A mindful and slow-paced evening practice helps you wind down, relax, and sleep better with the help of gentle stretches, deep breathing, meditation, and guided relaxation. It’s also a great way to lower your heart rate and begin the transition into sleep. The practice of bedtime yoga is fairly simple and can be done by anyone, even if you have no formal experience.
Is yoga good before bed?
There are many reasons to try bedtime yoga, from stress relief to better flexibility, but one of the best reasons to practice yoga before bedtime is to improve your sleep quality. A great night’s rest is a crucial way to ensure that you’re feeling refreshed the next day, but it isn’t always easy to fall and stay asleep. Since yoga can help improve the quality of your sleep, practicing it before bedtime is a great way to ensure you have a splendid night’s rest.
Since some poses have an energizing effect, it’s a good idea to avoid these positions, which can stimulate your mind and leave you feeling awake. If you do practice active asanas, like backbends or warrior poses, place them at the beginning of your evening sequence. Focus on including primarily calming poses in your routine, like forward bending poses, side-bends and twists. Seated poses are generally less active and more soothing than standing asanas.
How does doing yoga before bed help you sleep?
Yoga before bed has many benefits: it helps you sleep better, relieves muscle tension in the body, improves overall health, and helps you feel refreshed and relaxed in the morning. Calming postures and deep breathing help relieve stress and anxiety that can contribute to insomnia and poor sleep. Yoga is a relaxation exercise like meditation—it works by calming the nervous system and clearing the mind. Having a calm and peaceful mind makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. It can also help you stay asleep longer because it stretches out sore muscles, improves circulation, and balances the body, mind and emotions. An evening yoga flow can to help you get ready for bedtime and create a ritual to prepare for sleep.
How long before bed should you do yoga?
If you are practicing evening yoga to help you sleep better, it is best to do it at least 30 minutes before going to bed. If you have trouble falling asleep, you can do it right before bed. If your goals are to reduce the stress, worry and anxiety of your workday, consider getting on your mat as soon as you get off work. Most importantly, make sure you wait about 2 hours after you eat to practice.
Which yoga is best for sleeping?
There are multiple types of yoga that promote sleep in different ways and have different benefits. You may find that any style of yoga will encourage deep rest, but the following will be the most conductive for a good night’s sleep.
- Hatha — This traditional class focuses on the body as a whole, using breathing techniques and meditative exercises to relax the body and focus the mind. Hatha yoga is a wonderful way for decompressing your muscles and calming your mind after a long day. Make sure you avoid the energizing and invigorating poses and pranayamas if you practice close to bedtime.
- Gentle — Gentle yoga is great at night as it focuses on relaxation, balance and meditation, unlike more vigorous forms such as ashtanga or vinyasa. Practicing gentle yoga in the evening is great as it focuses on relieving the tension in the body through different stretching poses.
- Yin — This is a meditative class that involves the same stretches as Hatha yoga, but is performed at a very slow pace. The poses are held for a long time, from 4-6 breaths to up to 10-15 breaths. The poses are deep stretches that relax the entire body, but do not stimulate the cardiovascular system.
- Restorative — Restorative yoga is often practiced in the evening, as it relaxes the body and clears the mind. Restorative yoga is a slow, gentle form of yoga that uses various props to support the body in the poses so no effort is involved. It is a passive practice, which is beneficial to people who are recovering from injuries or are generally worn out.
- Yoga Nidra — This is a guided meditation and conscious relaxation technique that induces a deep state of peace and calm. Yoga Nidra is best if you hold a lot of tension and stress in your body. It will be best to practice this in your bed or on the floor right before you go to sleep.
How to start doing yoga in the evening
Yoga is a wonderful way to relax after a long day, but sometimes it can be difficult to get the time to fit a full class into your schedule. Fortunately, you don’t need a full practice to reap the benefits of an evening practice. There are a few factors for beginners to consider before they start an evening yoga flow.
- Be prepared.
A short daily yoga session does as much or more than a longer one once or twice a week. A 15-minute nighttime yoga practice to end your day can help you let go of the worry, stress and fatigue. Get ready by planning your yoga session 60-30 minutes before your bedtime, so you have plenty of time for your practice without the need to rush. Keep a yoga mat and any yoga props you use under your bed or in a convenient and easily accessible location.
- Set up a yoga space.
One of the best ways to build up a routine is to create a designated space for practice. Choose a calm, quiet and dimly lit space that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic so that you can stay calm and centered. Use candles, essential oils and ambient music to further help you relax and shift into a meditative zone.
- Start with basic postures.
If you’re just starting out, choose simple beginner asanas like Cat and Cow, Seated Head to Knee, Down Dog, Reclining Bound Angle, Supine Spinal Twist, Happy Baby, and Child. If you have a hard time sleeping, try some simple asanas in your bed, and transition from Shavasana to sleep. The main point is not to challenge or exert yourself too much but to build habits that will give you more flexibility and movement over time.
- Give yourself a goal.
Keep yourself motivated by giving yourself a goal. Maybe you want to learn a certain number of asanas in a month, lose a certain amount of weight, or learn new or more advanced asanas by a certain time. Setting yourself a goal helps you stay focused on what you’re getting from your practice and helps keep you moving forward!
- Keep it simple.
When it comes to building good habits, the best way to build them up is to start small. The great thing about yoga is it doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment. You don’t need to leave your home, or even your bed to learn! Start with simple stretches and breathing exercises you can build on. Check out online evening yoga videos to keep your routine fresh. And try to be gentle with yourself. The goal is to get you moving and help you have a more mindful evening, so schedule your time and remember to focus on yourself.
Tips for Beginners
Begin by finding a comfortable and quiet room to work in and then laying down on a flat surface such as the floor. Make sure you are wearing comfortable clothes.
- Warm up the muscles with simple movements before you begin the more strenuous poses to help you avoid injury.
- Start with the basic stretches and beginner yoga poses.
- Take it slow and gentle.
- Maintain slow and deep diaphragmatic breathing throughout your routine.
Is Bedtime yoga for you?
Is bedtime yoga for everyone? You’d better believe it! While bedtime yoga works best for busy people who struggle with sleep, the poses and breathing exercises in bedtime yoga are beneficial for many different types of people.
- Kids—Bedtime yoga is a great way to calm down fidgety, energetic kids and let them unwind before bed. There are several great children’s yoga books you can use to teach your kids the poses.
- Busy Bees—Bedtime yoga is a great idea for anyone who wants to wind down before bed or does not have time for a practice earlier in the day. An evening practice can be as short as 15 minutes so it can easily fit into a busy schedule.
- Beginners—Since evening sequence uses gentle and calming poses, it is a brilliant choice for beginning students. A short bedtime yoga routine will help you become familiar with the basic poses which will help you work up to a more advanced class.