Stress & Sleep: A Complex Cycle
Sleep — or the lack of it — and stress often go hand in hand. And, stress can be the culprit behind an array of other health issues, wreaking havoc on your mind and body, including stress-induced hair loss. Fortunately, yoga also helps to stop stress in its tracks and may even help with hair growth. A pre-bedtime yoga routine will help quiet the mind, quell anxiety and induce the calm, relaxed state needed to drift off into a good night’s rest.
According to the principles of Ayurveda, the hours between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. are governed by the Pitta dosha. The Pitta dosha helps to recalibrate and renew all major systems of the body. As the Pitta dosha allows the body to digest everything from food to information to emotions, when you skip sleep during this precious four-hour window, you miss out on this vital opportunity to heal.
A good night’s sleep is essential in how your body responds to the external world. Other benefits include:
- Decreased depression
- Reduced anxiety
- Lower heart rate and blood pressure
- Increased stress resilience
- Increased optimism
- Improved memory
- Improved metabolism
Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)
- Start by sitting on your shins. Place a bolster or pillow at the base of your tailbone.
- Separate ankles; use your hands to roll the calves outward and sit between them.
- If necessary, separate your knees as wide as your hips.
- Lie back onto your bolster; use a blanket or cushion to support your head and neck.
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
- Begin seated, placing a bolster or pillow below the base of the sacrum.
- Bend knees into a butterfly pose, placing the soles of your feet against one another.
- Lie back on an angle with the spine resting on the bolster or pillow. Support your head with a rolled-up blanket or additional cushion so that the head is above the heart.
- Allow the knees to open as wide apart as possible and relax fully into the props.
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Crystal Fenton is a freelance journalist and E-RYT-200 YACEP yoga instructor.