Yoga for Better Sleep

Spending a few minutes stretching before bed helps to ease the body and mind making a sound sleep come swift and easy. I recently saw this article from Fitness on yoga moves for relaxation and sleep. Enjoy!

8-Minute Workout: Yoga for Better Sleep

Try this 5-move yoga routine to relax your body and mind before sleep. The best part? Each pose can be done in bed!

By Jennifer Matarazzo; Photos by Nick Cardillicchio

Upside-Down Relaxation

Upside-Down Relaxation

Forget counting sheep. Ease your way into dreamland with this five-move yoga routine from Edward Vilga, creator of the DVD Yoga in Bed: 20 Asanas to Do in Pajamas (yogainbeddvd.com, $19.95). The moves will relax your body and mind, but the best part is that you can do them all in bed!

Minutes:0:00-2:00

  • Sit facing a wall (or your headboard) with your butt about 6 inches away from it.
  • Lie back and extend your legs up the wall.
  • If this is too intense a stretch for your hamstrings, slide your butt farther away from the wall.
  • If it’s not enough, scoot closer.
  • Let your arms rest by your sides, palms facing up, and breathe gently, feeling the stretch in the backs of your legs.

Winding Down Twist

Winding Down Twist

Minutes: 2:00-3:00

  • Sit cross-legged on the bed and exhale as you place your right hand on your left knee and left hand on the bed behind your tailbone.
  • Gently twist your torso to the left.
  • Allow your gaze to follow, looking over your left shoulder. Breathe deeply, then return to center and repeat on opposite side.

Nighttime Goddess Stretch

Nighttime Goddess Stretch

Minutes: 3:00-5:00

  • Lie on your back with knees bent.
  • Place the soles of your feet together, then let your knees fall open, forming a diamond shape with your legs.
  • Rest your arms on the bed.
  • If you feel any strain, elevate your legs by placing a pillow underneath each knee.

Child’s Pose

Child's Pose

Minutes: 5:00-7:00

  • Sit up comfortably on your heels.
  • Roll your torso forward, bringing your forehead to rest on the bed in front of you.
  • Lower your chest as close to your knees as you comfortably can, extending your arms in front of you.
  • Hold the pose and breathe.

Rock-a-Bye Roll

Rock-a-Bye Roll

Minutes: 7:00-8:00

  • Lying on your back, hug knees in to chest.
  • Cross your ankles and wrap both arms around your shins with clasped hands.
  • Inhale and rock your body up to sit; exhale as you roll back.
  • Continue for 1 minute, then roll back, extend arms and legs, and drift off to sleep.

Get Hot and Sweat

My latest obsession: Hot Yoga

Where have you been all my life?

Yoga has been a part of me on and off for the past three or four years. Due to constant schedule shifts in my life, I went from attending my gym’s yoga classes three times a week for a few months to once a week or not at all for the next few months, and so forth over the course of those three to four years. As my gym membership has recently expired and I am seeking new fitness goals and interests with more flexible class sessions (cross fit / MMA gym and yoga studio), I attended a free hot yoga open house Saturday the 28th of January at Fire Shaper.

As my first hot yoga experience, I left with mixed feelings. Being a free day, the studio was packed. Mat stacked upon mat with little to no room to stretch. At one point I felt sweat from the man behind me drop onto my foot. Disgusting. It was also a 90 minute session. Being unaccustomed to the heat and the lack of oxygen from the large crowd and being improperly hydrated, by the 70 minute mark I was ready to pass out.

The positions were relatively simple. Nothing too strenuous or complex. As someone who has practiced yoga before, I found them to be a bit dull and quickly found myself counting down the minutes to freedom as the water was pouring off of me. Slowly dripping down the small of my back and across my forehead, even into my eyes during the inverted positions. I left feeling sticky, a tiny bit looser, but mainly dehydrated and tired. Within 30 minutes I developed a splitting headache turned migraine from the dehydration and was forced to lie down for a bit.

Despite the disappointment of the open house, I ended up jumping on their sale price for newcomers of one month unlimited hot yoga for $39. How could I not at that price? My cousin also snagged the deal.

My cousin and I attended our first actual class at 6:15AM today. An ungodly hour. The class was small and consisted of the really intense yogis. With about 10 other pupils, we had all the room we could hope for. The heat was bearable and there was air to be had! This instructor was different from Saturday’s class and pushed us into flow movements and complex balance positions. With the small class size she was also able to provide some individual attention.

I left feeling elongated, open, and read to experience my day.

Super Quick and Easy Core Workout

I’ve been slacking on the gym these past few weeks. Been trying to balance it out by doing a lot of walking/running with my dog. With the new raw lifestyle I’m trying to incorporate, I still feel great and look great despite the lack in exercise. Though I intend on incorporating more into my daily life.

On Thursday evenings I usually attend a Yogalates class at my gym. The instructor is amazing! She has to be in her 50s if not 60s and is in incredible shape. All long, lean muscle.

She incorporated a core workout this past Thursday and was fast and simple with an incredible result.

Begin in in the yoga position Plank. This is a push up position.

Plank- yogajournal.com

From here touch your right knee to your right elbow without lifting your hips or twisting your body. Alternate between right knee to right elbow and left knee to left elbow for as long as you can. I do about twenty before I feel like I need to collapse. Make sure you stay in the Plank position and don’t shoot your hips up into a midway point between Plank and Downward Facing Dog. Move from this position to Child’s Pose and really stretch it out for a few moments.

Child’s Pose- aumaromas.com

Back up to Plank. Now its the same thing but crossover. So right knee to left elbow, left knee to right elbow. Again, go for as long as you can. I also do about 20 of these. Finish with a stretch in Child’s Pose.

This is an awesome workout for the entire core. It does the abdomen, both sides, as well as your back, shoulders and legs. I love it! I try and do this every morning and evening. Takes no more than 5 minutes. Try it out!