The Insight:

Too Much Summer Fun? Yoga Can Help You Sleep


By:  Ari  Bendersky  Abe's Market Contributor  July 12th, 2013

When summer hits, we all want to add more activities to our daily agendas: running, biking, boating, picnics, camping, fishing. If it involves being outside, we want to do it. And more of it. Add that to everything we already have on our minds like work and well, life and our minds and bodies have a hard time settling down. 

Sure there are natural sleep aids like melatonin or calming herbal teas that can help and sometimes you even need something a little stronger (but since we're not doctors here, we're not writing any prescriptions). But did you know that doing yoga can help relax your body, calm your mind and get a full night's sleep? Even better, in summer, you can do yoga outside! 

Here, Abe's resident yoga instructor Meghan Gerrity explains how certain poses can benefit you and help you sleep. She knows what she's talking about ... Meghan previously also discussed how yoga can help you naturally detox your body and also how the practice can help you improve your sex life. Still reading? Smart move.

How Yoga Helps You Sleep

If you truly have a tough time getting to and staying asleep, you may want to think about taking up yoga, whether at a studio or simply performing some poses at home on your own. There are a number of benefits to doing yoga in generally, but when it comes to sleep yoga helps by:

  • Calming the mind and body, preparing you for a restful sleep
  • Helping you focus on deep, balanced breathing
  • Positioning your head below your heart when doing certain poses. This increases blood flow to your brain to help you relax and calm your nervous system

5 Yoga Poses to Help You Sleep Better

Below are five fairly easy poses you can practice to assist you in getting a good night's sleep and getting the above benefits. You don't have to sign up for a 90-minute yoga class to achieve this, but if you find yourself benefitting from the poses, taking a full class will help you in other ways as well, like increasing flexibility, improving circulation and detoxifying and massaging your internal organs.

The PoseSukhasana -- Seated Meditation

Good For:

  • Grounding
  • Mental relaxation and softening the mind
  • Helping cultivate a balanced deep breathing pattern
  • Opening the hips
  • Lengthening and promoting proper spinal alignment

The PoseArdha Matsyendrasana -- Seated Half Twist/Lord of the Fishes Pose

Good For:

  • Detoxifying and cleansing the organs, which helps improve digestion
  • Opening shoulders, neck and hips
  • Stretching the spine
  • Reducing symptoms of back aches and fatigue

The PoseViparita Karani -- Legs Up the Wall

Good For: 

  • Calming anxiety
  • Relieving symptoms of insomnia and depression
  • Improving digestion
  • Relieving headaches and backaches
  • Stretching legs, back of neck and torso
  • Reversing and regulating blood flow

The Pose: Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold)

Good For:

  • Calming the mind
  • Reliving sciatica
  • Helping digestion
  • Stretching and lengthening spine and hamstrings
  • Massaging inner organs

The Pose: Supta Baddha Konasana -- Reclined Bound Angle

Good For:

  • Promoting circulation around pelvis and front of body
  • Calming anxiety and clearing the mind
  • Reducing stress
  • Reliving headaches and reducing stress
  • Grounding and soothing

 

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Ari Bendersky

Abe's Market Contributor

Ari Bendersky Ari joined Abe's Market after years of covering music, lifestyle, wine and food for the New York Times, AP, Rolling Stone, Eater, Huff Post and more. He lives naturally by biking, hiking, green juicing and avoiding high-fructose corn syrup at all costs.

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