Perhaps you’re feeling stiff after a long day, or struggling to wind down from a stressful experience. Whatever the reason, if you're having trouble sleeping, you may want to try adding an evening yoga practice to your nightly routine. Here are some guidelines to get started.

Setting Up for Evening Yoga

To best incorporate this practice into your evening routine, you’ll want to put time and effort into planning it. This will make nighttime yoga a ritual you look forward to and cherish. One factor to keep in mind is when you will practice. You need to wait for one to two hours after eating before doing evening yoga so not to interfere with the digestive process.

You’ll also want to decide on the location. A spot in the house that is quiet, spacious, and clean can be meditative and comforting. Figure out what part of the house has those qualities, and make it your go-to place for evening yoga. That way, you’ll associate it with relaxation and routine. Here are some other ways you can help set the mood for sleep:

  • Turn down the lights to activate melatonin production (the hormone responsible for sleepiness).
  • Add blankets and props such as bolsters and blocks for coziness and comfort.
  • Use essential oils. Lavender is especially renowned for its calming and soothing effects. ⁠
  • Surround your area with healing crystals to clear negative energy, or use other spiritual, symbolic objects that put you in a mindset of ease and presence.

Once you’ve created your evening yoga environment, you’re ready to start practicing.

6 Yoga For Sleep Poses

Here are six yin yoga poses that prepare you for sleep. You can do the poses in the order listed, practice them in a different order, or use them in addition to other restorative poses that you’ve learned. While they are all helpful for good sleep, they vary in how they affect the body, so benefits are briefly explained.

  • Easy Pose (Sukhasana) - Opens the hips, stretches the external muscles of the knees, and vertically lengthens spine.
  • Child’s Pose (Balasana) - Stretches hips and thighs, lowers dizziness and fatigue, opens the third eye, and releases tension in the shoulders and back.
  • Thread the Needle (Parsva Balasana) - Twists the thoracic spine, stretches the upper and outer muscles of the shoulders, and relieves tension on the sides of the neck.
  • Supine Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) - Stretches the hamstrings, massages the low back, improves digestion, and increases blood flow to the pelvis.
  • Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana) - Improves digestion, improves alignment of the spine, decreases lower back pain, and strengthens the sacral joints.
  • Legs up the Wall (Viparita Karani) - Decreases pain in tired feet or legs, relieves mild backache and swollen ankles, and alleviates menstrual cramps.

Keep in mind that consistency is key when establishing a yoga for sleep routine. Whatever you decide to practice, try to make it a habit. This will condition the body in the long run to relax and prepare for sleep.

Make Yoga Part of Your Ayurvedic Daily Routine

In addition to practicing yoga, there are several other rituals that you can incorporate as part of an Ayurvedic morning routine and Ayurvedic daily routine.
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