YIN YOGA FOR GOOD SLEEP
Insomnia or poor sleep is a very common sign of imbalance between our Yin & Yang energies. If you suffer from it, you are probably stuck in your Yang energy.
Understanding our Yin & Yang energies:
We all have both energies, one can not exist without the other. The Yin is the night, the moon, the stillness, the feminine, the winter, the cold, the calm, the contemplation, the being. The Yang on the other hand is the day, the sun, the movement, the masculine, the summer, the heat, the activity, the doing.
We all need both energies to go through our days, starting full of Yin energy in the morning to then get more Yang as the day goes on. But the focus on the Yin & Yang energies is different for each of us. For some, the Yin will come more easily, for others (like those of us living in busy, fast moving cities), the Yang. It is up to us to find a balance between them, and with that balance, attain better health.
Yin Yoga and sleep:
Not being able to sleep is considered an imbalance in Chinese medicine. Yin Yoga, which is really influenced by this medicine, can help us unblocking our Qi (life energy), that flows through the meridians (energy channels) and balancing our Yin & Yang energies.
Yin Yoga is a slow paced type of yoga that instead of targeting the muscles, like the Yang practices do, targets the connecting tissues (fascia, ligaments, tendons and even bones). In our Yin practice we look for no muscles activation and we hold asanas (yoga poses) for long periods of time, usually between 1 and 10 minutes but they can be held even longer. It is a fantastic practice for our evenings since it will help us slow down after an active day and prepare for a good night of sleep.
3 YIN YOGA POSES that will improve your sleep
In Chinese medicine difficulty sleeping is connected to a heart imbalance. This asana (yoga pose) works on the heart meridian, helping calm your mind. Hold the pose for 3 minutes trying to stay still and focusing on breathing evenly through your nose. As a counterpose you can hold child's pose for 1 minute right after. Move slowly, using your Yin energy. (You can ad a prop under your knees or chest if your feel you need it)
This asana works on the liver meridian, facilitating a good flow through the body and helping all organs function better. Hold for 4 minutes. As a counterpose you can bend your knees and let them fall to one side and the other a few times, in a gentle twist. (You can also rest your upper body on top of a pillow or cushion or hold yourself up on your elbows resting your head on your hands)
This asana massages the stomach and relaxes our digestive system, helping us have a calm sleep. Hold for 4 minutes. As a counterpose you can bring your knees to your chest and hold them with your arms in a hug for 1 minute. (For a deeper twist you can bend your bottom leg and bring it over the top one, like in the photo. You can also ad a pillow under your top knee for support.)
Help your sleep:
Apart from adding some Yin Yoga into your evening, it might help to limit yang elements when your sleep time is getting closer. Here are some examples:
Strong sounds or music
Strong lights (Specially blue light)
Heavy foods (Or even all foods late at night)
Caffeine / Theine