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Effective Bedtime Yoga Practices

Bedtime Yoga Positions For Ultimate Relaxation

Bedtime yoga is an excellent way to relax and unwind after a long day. With the right postures, you can soothe your body and mind, bringing serenity and restful sleep. Here are three simple, effective bedtime yoga postures that provide body relaxation and peace of mind.

Cat/Cow Pose - Energizes the Body While Calming the Mind.

This yoga posture can be done lying in bed or on the floor. Start by kneeling on all fours, back parallel to the floor. On your inhalation raise your chin and chest towards the ceiling, inverting the spine and taking an arch shape with your lower back (Cow Pose). On exhalation tuck chin towards chest and draw belly button inward contracting your spine, simulating a Cat Stretch. Continue moving from Cow to Cat with each breath, energizing yourself while calming down at the same time.

Legs Up The Wall - Releases Tension and Promotes Blood Flow

Legs Up the Wall pose, also known as Viparita Karani, is a wonderful posture for calming your mind and bringing blood flow back to the internal organs in the body. To practice this pose, lie on your back about an inch away from a wall, and slowly bring each leg off the ground and up onto the wall. Maintain this position for 5 to 10 minutes with your arms in any comfortable position. As you hold this position, take deep breaths and focus on releasing tension from your body. This posture can help reduce stress and fatigue while allowing you to relax deeply.

Happy Baby Pose -Stretches the Lower Back and Inner Thighs.

To enter the Happy Baby Pose, begin lying on your back with legs bent and soles of feet facing the ceiling. Hold onto the outer edges of your feet where you can reach with your hands or grab a strap or towel if you cannot reach them. Draw knees toward armpits engaging core and expanding inner thighs as you extend away from tailbone. In the pose focus on feeling relaxed, cozy and safe-like a baby! Stay in this yoga posture for up to 5 breaths then slowly embrace knees back into chest and release feet to floor.

Savasana - Reconnect with Body and Create New Neural Connections

Savasana (also known as Corpse Pose) is one of the most commonly practiced postures for relaxation and often starts and completes a yoga practice. Begin by lying down on your back with your eyes softened, palms facing up, shoulders rolled under, and feet falling outwards, naturally. Mentally soften all muscles, relax your jaw and forehead, and simply let every thing else go. This basic posture can help to bring renewed energy to the body and a clear mind for a restful night of sleep. Stay here for five minutes or longer if you wish.

5 Benefits of Loving Kindness Yoga For Physical And Mental Health

5 Advantages Of Loving Kindness Yoga

Loving kindness yoga, also known as metta meditation, is a form of practice that emphasizes cultivating love and compassion towards oneself and others. This practice has been shown to have numerous benefits for both mental and physical health, making it a great addition to any wellness routine. In this post, we'll explore the benefits of loving kindness yoga and how it can improve your overall well-being.

What is Loving Kindness Yoga?

Loving Kindness Yoga, also known as metta meditation, is a form of yoga practice that involves offering love, kindness, and compassion to oneself and others. It originated in the Buddhist tradition but has been adapted into various forms of yoga practices. This type of yoga encourages individuals to focus on positive emotions such as gratitude, forgiveness, empathy, and joy towards themselves and those around them. Through this practice, practitioners cultivate a sense of inner peace and improved relationships with others.

Boost Your Mental Health

Loving Kindness Yoga is an excellent way to enhance your mental health. It helps in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression while also increasing positive emotions such as love, gratitude, and compassion. Regular practice can lead to increased self-esteem and self-worth, improved relationships with others, and an overall sense of well-being. The practice encourages individuals to let go of negative thoughts and emotions, focusing instead on the positive aspects of themselves and their world. This approach results in a shift towards a more positive outlook on life, ultimately benefiting both mental and physical health.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

As mentioned, Loving kindness yoga focuses on self-compassion, empathy, and love towards oneself and others. Practicing these qualities can have a positive impact on one’s mental health, reducing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol while promoting feelings of relaxation and calmness. Studies have also shown that practicing loving kindness yoga can help reduce symptoms of anxiety by promoting positive emotions and feelings of well-being. So if you’re looking to relieve yourself from daily stresses or manage your anxiety levels, loving kindness yoga could be a great tool for you!

Cultivate a Positive Mindset

The optimistic mindset can have a significant impact on both mental and physical health, reducing stress levels, improving sleep quality, and boosting overall well-being. The mindfulness aspect of this practice encourages practitioners to stay present in the moment, promoting a sense of calmness and inner peace. So if you’re looking to cultivate a more positive mindset, loving kindness yoga may be just what you need to bring harmony to your body, mind, and soul.

Yoga For Back Pain: 5 Movements To Reduce Discomfort

Five Yoga Postures For Back Pain

Yoga can be an effective form of back pain management, providing an array of stretches and poses that can provide both physical and mental relief from soreness and discomfort. Check out this guide to learn five yoga postures that could help reduce your back pain and improve your day-to-day quality of life. Long slow extended exhales will help you to gain the most relief from the stretches. Most importantly, consistency is key! The more frequently that you do these stretches the better your pain relief will be. Join us live for Yoga online! Check our current event schedule for classes!

Cat-Cow Pose

The Cat-Cow pose is a gentle, easy stretch that is great at helping to release tension in the spine and lower back area of the body. To begin, kneel on the ground into table top positon, in which your hands are planted directly below your shoulders and your knees are bent parallel to your hips with the shins on the mat. As you exhale, gently begin to round your spine and tuck your chin and tailbone into cat pose. Then, reversing the spinal bend as you inhale start to arch your spine, round your tailbone out/up, bringing the head/gaze upwards into a full cow pose. Repeat several times for relaxing relief.

Child's Pose

Child's Pose is a resting yoga pose that helps to lengthen the spine and stretch the lower back while calming the mind. To do it, start in an all-fours (table top) position, then widen the knees and slowly sit your hips back onto your heels. Extend your arms along the ground in front of you, alongside your body or in prayer hands above your head. Draw your forehead toward your mat and stay there, breathing deeply into any areas of discomfort. Use pillows under your bottom and/or under your head if desired for a more supported, restorative version.

Seated Forward Fold

Seated forward fold is a great pose for relieving tension in your shoulders, neck and entire back body. To perform this movement, sit with both legs extended out in front of you. Inhale as you sit up tall from the crown of the head and then begin to reach your arms up to the sky (shoulders down away from your ears), then exhale as you hinge at the hips over your legs. Keep your spine as straight as possible, chest facing forward and rest your head and neck wherever they reach. Feel free to bring in pilllows for support to increase the comfort. Also, remember that bending the knees will lessen the intensity if it becomes painful. Next, focus on mentally sofening the muscles around any areas of discomfort or tension as you move deeper into the pose. Hold the pose for a few breaths before releasing it and slowly walking your upper body back body upright.

Standing Forward fold

Standing forward fold is another pose with many potential benefits for those suffering from back pain. To get into this position, start from a standing posture and slowly hnge at hips over your legs, bending your legs and bringing your belly to meet your thighs. Allow the arms, neck and head to hang heavy and shake the head gently from side to side. To deepen the stretch, grab opposite elbows and hang freely over your legs, and rock gently from side to side. As with the seated forward fold, focus on relaxing into any tight or sore areas of your body as you soften into the pose. Gently hold it for a few breaths before returning upright very mindfully rolling up one vertibrae at a time.

Spinal Twist

Spinal twists are an effective yoga movement for back pain relief as it gently stretches the entire spine. To get into this position begin by laying flat on your back, tucking your knees in towards your body and gently rocking side to side to massage the back. Choose one side to allow your bent knees to drop over to, keeping the shoulders weighted equally on the floor or mat. Bring in a pillow under your knees for extra support or allow gravity to gently stretch your spine and hips. Stay for at least 1 minute breathing into the twisted spine, and then slowly make your way back to center, knees to chest once more. Maybe noticing one side of the spine is looser than the other? And once you are ready exhale and drop the knees to the opposite side again holding for the same amount of time (at least 1 minute). Then gently come back to center and extend the legs out straight once more. Allow the spine to settle before getting back up to standing. Roll to one side in a fetal position and gently use your upper body to help yourself upright.

How To Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra Made Easy

Yoga Nidra Meditation , or “yogic sleep”, is a meditative practice that has been used for centuries in India to promote physical and mental wellbeing. It involves relaxing the body completely while focusing on a single point of awareness (such as the breath or the body), allowing students to reach deep levels of restorative states of relaxation.

Understand the Basics of Yoga Nidra.

It’s important to understand the basics of yoga nidra before you get started. During your practice, you may be guided through a series of postures, breathwork, and/or visualization exercises that help prepare your body for meditation. This helps build awareness, creating a strong foundation from which to allow the body to restore, repair, regenerate and most importantly rest deeply.

Find a Quiet Place to Practice.

Before you start your Yoga Nidra journey, it’s important to find a quiet, dimly lit place where you can practice. This could be your bedroom, living room, or any other place that is free from distractions. Make sure the temperature is comfortable, and you have plenty of support for your body (such as a cushion, blanket, or bolster). Once you’ve found the perfect spot, take some time to get very comfortable, supported and ready to begin. Be sure to let anyone else around you not to disturb you, and perhaps consider putting a reminder note on your door to avoid being startled by any unexpeted interruption. Finally, turn all electronic devices to silent and set an alarm if you are worried about falling asleep and missing something important afterward.

Get Comfortable and Create and Intention.

Once settled and cozy, it’s time to begin considering your intention (or sankalpa in Sanskrit) for the practice. To do this, close your eyes and focus on one intention that will guide you during your practice. An intention is a positive, forward focused statement. If you were trying to make healhier eating choices and stop consuming junk food for example, one could have the intntion, "I only eat foods that are nourishing to my body" but would be advised to use something similar such as "I want to stop eating junk food". In the first example we assume that we have already made the change we are desiring to make. The second only reminds us of something we are already ashamed of. Often, Yoga Nidra instructors will also offer a specific intention for your practice. Visualize this phrase in your body until it resonates deeply with you. Take a few more deep breaths before starting the nidra practice itself. And, try to bring it back into your awareness throughout your practice.

Relaxing the Body Through Rotation of Awareness.

Continuing on from the visualization of your intention, the practce generally will begin to move your awareness throughout each body part. Mentally rotating your awareness until you have moved from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes. Take your time and allow your body to respond to the guidance without judgement or comment.

Prepare for Conscious Deep Sleep

As you move from your rotation of the body deeper into relaxation, let yourself drift away. When you come back into awareness listen for the guidance. Focus on your breath and feel the subtle energy shifts in your body calming down as you start sinking deeper into your own mind and body. Observe your thoughts coming and going completely on their own, as you rest deeply. Allow any emotions that arise to pass through without attaching yourself to them. Breath slowing down, body becomes heavier allowing for complete rest.

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